Anxiety

To my Friends and Loved Ones:

I borrowed this from a fellow blogger. Perhaps this will help you to understand me better.

 

Written by Guest Contributor: Myka S. (USA)Founder of: Thoughts of an Anxious Mind There are so many times we want to tell you why our heart is pounding, why our thoughts are racing, why we’re biting our nails and twisting our hair…but we can’t. We try and try to conjure up the perfect words to explain our […]

via 5 Things People with Anxiety Wish You Knew — MakeItUltra™

Unreasonable Fear

I grew up fearing African Americans and before you judge me as a racist, read my story.

When I was in Junior High School, schools became integrated. The African American students would stand in large groups blocking the sidewalk daring whites to try to get though them. I avoided the sidewalk. There was a small girl named Sharon who started making fun of me and I did my best to ignore her. I was not that outcast who gets bullied, I was fortunate to have many friends both male and female.

One day as I was walking to my friend’s house after school, a large group of African American students formed a circle around me. I was petrified because it was obvious that something was about to happen. Sharon moved to the center of the circle and started taunting me. She kept saying, “Push me!” over and over. I just stood still knowing that what usually happened in these situation was that if I made a move, the whole group would jump in and attack me. Another reason I wouldn’t make a move besides trying to avoid having my ass kicked was that I was appalled at girls or women fighting though I have to admit that I was a closet bully toward my sister. Luckily, one of the girls who was walking with us lived in the house in front of which I was confronted. Her mother came out and chased the group away. To be honest, I was petrified. I believe this happened because I was the only one small enough for Sharon to pick on.

Moving forward, where my friends and classmates might kid around with African American bully students, I wasn’t friendly or unfriendly toward them which was probably a downfall. In high school, a very large African American girl named Mary grabbed my windbreaker and ripped it off me which was not an easy feat. I said nothing. A small African American girl would tell me things like how she dreamed that my boyfriend’s car would get stuck on a railroad track and he would be killed. One night my best friend’s twin brother was beat with a baseball bat in the boy’s locker room after a baseball game by a group of African American students. I was friendly with some African American students but was still easily intimidated.

I had good experiences when I went into community college with fellow African American students so I started to get past my fear. Unfortunately, when I worked for a police department two African American co-workers claimed racial discrimination because I was transferred to the day watch and her friend was transferred to my previous watch in a move to separate the two friends in hopes of increasing productivity. Since I filled in a lot for people in key positions, it was considered a highly beneficial move by administration. I became stonewalled by the other clerical staff and when I asked someone why, they told me they could not go against these two girls and implied that they were afraid.

Because it was so painful to be ostracized, I requested to remain on my previous watch. The Sgt. was not happy because he told me that I was allowing myself to be bullied. The personnel manager and supervisory staff called a meeting of the clerical staff and a letter was read that one of the girls had written citing favoritism because I was white. They were upset because our administrative Sgt. used my work examples as the quality of work everyone should be putting out. In fairness, I had education and experience that was not the norm for the position. I took the job because it was something I always wanted to do. I never had to defend myself in this meeting because first of all the personnel manager offered to do some testing if they really wanted to know who was the best typist etc. Then one of my supervisors pointed out that I had been transferred from department to department continually and had never complained. There was no discrimination and it became clear in that meeting. After that meeting, things got back on a friendly basis because I didn’t hold a grudge. Shortly thereafter, one of the girls who caused the problem was fired for selling criminal records.

I worked a temp to perm job for a very difficult African American woman. She supervised six white Insurance Agents who had their own agency offices. She referred to them as “my white boys.” When I could no longer put up with her crude and rudeness, I quit though she begged me to stay. She made me uncomfortable by complimenting my looks in a creepy manner. An African American woman who had previously worked for her called me one day and wanted me to help her on her reverse discrimination suit. I declined. The agency had placed temp after temp in this woman’s office because no one would stay but I didn’t want the drama. I could have reported her for her racist remarks but I just wanted out.

These are prime examples of bullying yet I never recognized it as such until now. I saw it as being the target of anger for a past I had no part in. It is possible that these bullies were influenced by anger passed down from generation to generation and I did feel the fear that their forebears felt at being bullied by white slave lords. However, what purpose did any of it serve? It just repeated the same dance in reverse and did not solve anything for either side.

What I am learning today is that I cannot blame an entire race for the actions of some just as I am tired of being blamed for something I was not responsible for. We all just need to stop and do some deep reflection. We are allowing ourselves to be influenced by the hate groups and the support of their actions by the media putting it in our faces over and over again.

What if we just turned off our televisions in protest of being fed negativity hour after hour, day after day? What if  we stop looking at social media for a few days and depend on our own reflections? Its not like we haven’t seen enough to know what is out there. We are all being manipulated! Lets just stand up for ourselves and say, “Enough” at least for now and let things calm down.

PEACE AND LOVE

 

 

Hate is Too Simple an Answer

I believe that there is no simple answer to the Pulse shootings and don’t believe that hatred has a place in coming to terms with the shooter’s actions. Anger? Yes! But I do not see hate as really responsible for his decision to do what he did. I think that ISIS or IS or whoever has glorified such actions and people who are mentally ill, vulnerable, need to “be somebody”, to belong or have a need for excitement become willing victims and that is what they are,  “victims”. Perhaps they have a deep seated anger that finds its release in acting out this cause. Sure, it could be mind control but a person would have to have a need to seek out or listen to such rhetoric.

I have been reminded that Islamic terrorists were raised from birth to have this hatred and belief that we are the enemy and an evil nation. My feeling is that these are not Muslim people, they just picked a cause, any cause would do. They are children playing “war”. They are weak, not strong. Ask yourself why they suicide and who is left standing. Why is it that their leader is not willing to suicide but is able to convince their followers to take their own lives?

Somewhere, somehow a spark was placed in this shooter’s soul and fed until it ignited into a firestorm. His father can deny any responsibility and his wife can deny support of his cause but I cannot accept that this man just woke up one day and decided to become what he became. However, whatever took a hold on his soul, he is still responsible for his actions. He still had a choice.

Did he have gay leanings? It is possible that he was trying to destroy anything representing that part of himself but I just don’t believe it was the impetus. He was so determined to call attention to his actions that is seems more that egomania and/or mental illness was at play. It would seem that he was a rebel looking for a cause since he has no apparent ties to ISIS or IS.

In no way am I minimizing the result of his actions! I just choose to look deeper than hate in search for an answer as to how we stop this madness.

DESPERATION (Part Two of Two)

13778409-graduate-girl-cartoonMy husband and I did not push our daughters toward marriage. We wanted them to have a good education, careers and to travel, not to base their worth on having a man in their lives. For the sake of their privacy, I won’t tell you how that worked out but certainly not according to our plans. As the saying goes, “If you want God to laugh, tell him your plans.

 

I believe that when you are not “looking” for a man or woman to settle down with, you are more yourself, more relaxed and it is more likely to happen. In that scenario, you meet someone and you are not trying to make something happen so chances are greater that it will work out if it is meant to.

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The best way to have a long-lasting relationship is to look at it as a friendship and let it develop naturally. Jumping into bed when you first meet someone, while fun and possibly physically satisfying, often remains at that level and that’s great if that is all you are looking for. Whereas, if you get to know each other first and put the emphasis on that and having fun, there is a better chance for a long-term relationship.

images.duckduckgo.comThink about it this way: You fast track your relationship and have the dream wedding and romantic honeymoon. Yet, when you get into the reality of finances, housekeeping, family gatherings, jobs, likes and dislikes, etc. you start to see that:

 

 

28878075-couple-sharing-romantic-sunset-dinner-on-the-beach

  • 20638912-young-couple-arguing-in-the-kitchenHe/She seems to hate the mother that you love unconditionally.
  • He/She drinks much more than you were lead to believe.
  • He/She doesn’t actually like to eat in nice restaurants.
  • He/She puts his mother/father before you always.
  • He/She wants to control what programs you watch on television and more.
  • He/She is racist.

ETC.

A_Black_and_White_Cartoon_Two_Children_Walking_To_School_Royalty_Free_Clipart_Picture_100713-145833-444053We all know that people are usually on their best behavior when a relationship is new. Often we don’t see the nitty-gritty beneath the persona we are allowed to see in the beginning. However, there are usually signs that we ignore and we ignore negative signs because we want so badly for it to work. We say he/she is so good looking, so wealthy, so much fun and we want a long-term relationship or marriage.

15817148-heart-and-brain-that-dance-concept-of-physical-wellbeingWhen you see the signs, pay attention, because more than likely it’s not a one-time thing. If he/she gets drunk and insults your friends or family, don’t dismiss it as his/her just being drunk. People don’t do things drunk that they would not think of doing sober, alcohol is just an excuse. Don’t get into the mind-set of believing that he/she dotes on his/her mother or father so it stands to reason that he/she will dote on you because often it is just the opposite, she/he is number one in his/her life and always will be. And if he/she says that they don’t want a steady, serious or long term relationship or never want to marry, LISTEN. Many a man and woman have thought they could change a person’s mind on this subject and found out the hard way that the person meant what they said and the result was a broken heart.

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I ignored all the signs that were actually fire alarms with my ex-husband. I enjoyedparts of him that were different from men I had been in relationships with. He was intelligent, interesting, could be charming and we had a lot of interests in common. I was in a long-term relationship with him before we married and every symptom of a sick relationship was there and I saw them but I thought I was “different. I basically rolled the dice and lost myself.

Everything I did not want in a man was right out in the open for all to see and I wouldn’t 5754686-unhappy-couple-breaking-woman-trying-to-hold-back-man-leawing-with-suitcase-and-clothes-in-handquit. Why? I was hooked on having a relationship and too lazy to get out. I used the good days to get through the bad as in “This too shall pass.” I hung on until I couldn’t any longer. I detached from reality to get through the abuse and latched onto the apologies and words of love and empty promises. I was as much at fault as he was because I knew better and the exit door was not locked.

5b70f2f6b53ba55c8422cdac5a3951f2.thIt was a game of cat and mouse and I told myself that I was the true love of his life, the only woman (other than mommy dearest) that had ever truly had this heart and that I was good for him. I needed so badly to be loved and accepted that I took it where I found it, bad or good. The bottom line is that I didn’t want it to be known that I couldn’t make it work, didn’t want to be a failure and didn’t want anyone to know that someone would want to treat me badly. It was a facade and to this day I still have a need to let it be known that he still calls my mother in an attempt to hook and reel me back even though I have been married for 18 years. I also still need to let it be known that he truly loved me, yada, yada, yada. But who really cares?

Danny, my husband, and I dated for three years before we married and in that three years, we went through three years of couple and premarital counseling. I’m sure we both thought we knew everything about each other that could possibly matter. We knew a lot but there were things we ignored, things that have become issues to be worked out. Yet, we were in a place where we knew enough about each other that we believed that any obstacles could be worked out. We have worked through a lot in 18 years as all couples do. Though we have struggled at times, I believe that we would not have been able to get to where we are had we not known that the positive attributes made each of us worth hanging on to. These days when there are just the two of us, humor seems to be our best tool to resolving conflicts.

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A good relationship takes time to build and will only work if all the right parts are there.

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DESPERATION (Part One of Two)

9610217-young-caucasian-woman-in-a-kitchen-weeps-while-on-the-phoneOne night there was a round of “girl talk” regarding male-female relationships. This conversation took place about 2:00 am after a party and all or most of the participants were pretty well inebriated. I have never forgotten what the hostess of the party shared. She was divorced but she and her ex were still on speaking terms if not “friends”. She said she asked him where she went wrong and he told her “women are so desperate”. He told her that women stop at nothing to get or hold on to a man. Rather than being offended by this statement, I could see the validity of his observation, in fact, I saw it in some men as well.

I was in my late twenties and had never been married, a condition that was unacceptable to my family. I had been pushed and prodded toward relationships and even marriage with men who were totally wrong and some even unhealthy for me. When I questioned why they were so desperate for me to get married, they told me that they knew I wanted to get married. One family member even told me that my life was “sad” because I was actually enjoying my single life. As difficult as it is to admit, I became desperate to show my family that I could get and keep a man.

9319250-two-young-business-people-talking-and-discussingAt times, I would attempt to push relationships to be more serious than I even wanted them to be. I knew that while I enjoyed spending time with various men, there wasn’t any one who was a “good fit”. Honestly, deep down I liked not being responsible to any one person for reasons that go deep into my childhood.

19508353-violencia-en-el-hogar-palabra-nube-concepto-con-los-t-rminos-como-v-ctima-asalto-juez-da-o-social-edI ended up in a 7- year relationship and 3 – year marriage with someone who was very abusive, physically, verbally and emotionally. Even though he was very unlikable, my family, with the exception of my father, seemed happy that I had finally found someone with whom to  settle down. Let me put in a disclaimer here by saying that my family did not know about the physical abuse.

My point is that I experienced the desperation first hand. Oh how sad, you say, yes it is sad 2heartsbut I was not alone in this push toward marriage. It is something that has been passed down from generation to generation, the pressure to settle down, be a good provider, marry, and to have children. I believe that if some women were not shamed or driven into settling down, they might have made better choices.

I understand that times have changed and hopefully there is less pressure toward 12418478-coraz-n-roto-con-el-rbol-blanco-y-dos-p-jarosmarriage but I am still seeing the desperation. Women and/or girls are still getting pregnant to force men/boys into relationships and/or marriage though admittedly neither are a requirement to having a child in this day and time (no judgment here). Parents still don’t understand why their sons and/or daughters are not married, why they prefer another woman to a man or man to a woman, why their career is more important than marriage, and/or why their relationships don’t last. I see women pushing relationships that just don’t work as evidenced by the high divorce rate.

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Continued in Part Two

 

 

 

Step-mother-ing Part Two

2hearts     When we got engaged, Danny and I felt strongly that the wedding should be formal, in a church, and have the kids included in the ceremony. We wanted them to understand that this marriage and joining of family was a serious commitment for all of us. It was a beautiful wedding on Valentine’s Day in red and white and the reception was in a historical community center with a DJ and fajita buffet. Danny wore socks that his ex had given him and boxers that I bought him, complete with hearts, and I wore red shoes. I have never been jealous of his ex with regard to their relationship so though I shook my head at his lack of concern, the socks represented his observance of Valentine’s Day. Our son, the best man, gave a toast saying that he was glad I was in his dad’s life because it made him in a better mood. He was 17 at the time.

13778409-graduate-girl-cartoon     I set an example by getting an Associates Degree, having a home free of alcohol, attending church and maintaining a good work ethic. If that was all they needed, it would have been easy, but I couldn’t control the world outside our home or what had come before my appearance on the scene. To add to the challenges, I had no clue as to how to be a good mother or even a mother. I thought that my commitment to their well being would be enough. Our son went through some serious problems but has his own family now and is a devoted husband and father with a good work ethic. Our youngest daughter graduated from college with3363355-graduation-diploma-shallow-depth-of-field a high GPA and is a good wife and mother of 2 twin toddlers of 2 years old, a 4 month old baby and a teenage step-daughter. She handles it well because she is organized and keeps everyone on a schedule. Our oldest daughter is going through a difficult time but is working to repair the damage done to her life by choices she has made. Problems the other two children went through were obvious but not with this child. She was quiet and shy and the other two were getting most of the 6501912-portrait-of-sad-lonely-girl-with-umbrella-outdoorsattention with their acting out and getting into trouble. As an adult, she is struggling to come to terms with feelings she has repressed all these years. Though I have always tried to be there for her, it was not enough and that makes me sad. Could I have done better? In some ways yes, however, I wasn’t the problem. As a result, damage has been done by her actions and she doesn’t seem to understand that you can’t just say “I’m sorry” and make it all go away. When trust has been lost, hard work has to be done to gain it back. She is on the right track and has a lot of support.

      I have always reminded myself that the children were in Danny’s life before me but I still struggle with my need to be #1 in his life. I have never asked him to betray his children for my sake but his sense of fairness seems skewed to me.  What piper2_17245_smhappened to the words “forsaking all others” spoken in our marriage vows? Of course, I don’t ask him to forsake his children or anyone else, my point is that as an adult and his wife, I should be his partner not treated as one of his children. That being said, he is an awesome husband, father and grandfather. His grandchildren follow him around like he’s the pied piper and each child feels special in his eyes. The problem, as I see it, is the children tattling to their dad about any disagreement they have with me. I have told them he is not my “daddy” so they need to talk things out with me when we don’t agree. When they have come to him, Danny has felt the need to mediate which sets up a resentment, at least on my part. I have always left the door of communication open which works in theory but not always in reality. I do understand that he is afraid of losing their love and I am afraid of losing his. My solution to the problem is to step back from my involvement with the kids, letting Danny and their mother take the reins without my interference. This solution has been great for me because I have more peace in my life.

22673131-child-with-gift-box-near-white-christmas-tree-isolated     One of the nice things about the grandchildren is that there is no step, I am just their NeNe. They are beautiful kids with outgoing personalities and each one is unique. I’m not exactly the fun grandma, I’m the gifting grandma. I love to shop for gifts that that will suit each child hoping to convey that I have paid attention to their individuality. I want to believe that my gift is in gifting. Sometimes I fail but often I am right on the mark. I will not let myself believe that I bought their parents or am buying them because its a personal delight for me. Its sorta like problem-solving and I love problem-solving (as you can tell if you have read my posts).

     Danny and I finally have our house to ourselves and are enjoying it immensely. We are working to prepare ourselves for moving to the mountains where we will only have each other, communication being the key. This has been Danny’s dream for at least half of his life and has become mine. Our families are not happy about it but we need and deserve this. We are happy in our relationship and looking forward to our adventure.

UPDATE

I have been reassured, since this original post, that my sister’s family and my mother are happy for me but jealous that I will be living in ski country. lol

Yep, that's he and me in our rover driving through the San Juan Mountains.
Yep, that’s he and me in our rover driving through the San Juan Mountains.

Step-mother-ing – Part One

 

Wicked Stepmother Stigma

    When I took the position as Stepmother, I realized with the position comes stigma. When the word “stepmother” is uttered many people envision “the wicked stepmother”. It doesn’t help that there are always stories in the news about a stepfather or a stepmother or boyfriend or girlfriend of the parent abusing kids, physically and/or sexually. I was told over and over again by my counselor and anyone else who felt it necessary, that I would always be only their stepmother, never their mother. I was offended by these warnings because I never had any intention of trying to take their mother’s place. What I wanted was for us to be a family and for the children to have my love and support. I wanted to help them have the best life possible with Danny and I, giving them a stable, comfortable home base.   

Explanations could be dicey.

    I do, however, refer to our three children as “my” or “our” children because I never wanted them to feel any different. Also, I did not want them to feel they had to make explanations about their parents which could be dicey for them. Even before Danny and I were married, we became a family. Since Danny had custody, I  believe it was because they needed me to fill the void left by their mother’s inability to be in their lives daily. This was evidenced by their behavior once we all decided that it was o.k. for me to sleep in their dad’s room. That move forward did away with the usual arguments over which of the two girls I would sleep with when we spent the weekends together.  A calmness came over the household like this was what they were more accustomed to. It was like having a mother figure rather than Dad’s girlfriend.

 

Day by Day, Month by Month, Year by Year
Day by Day, Month by Month, Year by Year

   While being a stepmother has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done, it has also been the most difficult. If you are considering taking it on, be aware that it is a serious commitment. Just loving each other is not enough because I promise you that love will be challenged on a regular basis. When you are a bio-mother, you grow with your children day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year but as a step-mother, you are already in the year by year. Your husband has already developed a relationship with his children as has their mother, and you are just getting started.

 

 IMG_0153    When Danny and I met, we were both coming out of marriages with chemically dependent spouses. Bad timing, you bet, but we got into couple counseling right away because we knew about baggage. When the children and their therapist decided it was time for me to meet them, we had dinner at a restaurant. I was nervous but brought pictures of my cats hoping it would be a good conversation starter and it was. The dinner went well and when we returned to their house, they introduced me to their cat.

 

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     I was asked to join them in family counseling which included their mother. Family counseling went well because we were all on our best behavior but out in the real world, not so much. I did my best though there were problems with their mother. Out of respect for the children and their mother, I will not go into detail. Yet, we were able to come to an understanding about my role in her children’s lives and we still have our moments, but only in the background. As a stepmother, I highly recommend setting aside one’s feelings about the person and respecting her position as the children’s mother. I call the kids’ mother my ex-wife  in-law because there will always be family ties between us. Danny cautioned me early on that, as the children’s mother, she would be in our lives for the rest of our lives. I learned acceptance from her family who encouraged me to be comfortable in their presence, acknowledging my place in Danny and their grand-children’s lives. We often have family events together so that the kids don’t have to do double duty. It depends from event to event, year to year, on how well we are all getting along. We are a blended family made up of high strung individuals and all it takes is one person to say the wrong thing and the shit storm starts. Don’t get me wrong, there is never a free-for-all, again, it is all in the background but drama is always the motivator.

12358046-vector-illustration-of-justice-scales     The hardest thing for me to handle has always been having joined a family already in session. It hasn’t been easy for Danny having to balance his loyalty and attention between his children and his wife and even now after 20 years, it remains a struggle. We didn’t have that alone time that newlyweds need to adjust to living with one another. One would think that having had so much counseling and having dated for three years, we would have had it all down but though we spent most weekends together as a family, I never moved in until we were married.

 

12418478-coraz-n-roto-con-el-rbol-blanco-y-dos-p-jarosContinued in Step-mother-ing Part Two