Friday, September 12, 2014

I am Woman - Like that Purse

I grew up with the feminist movement, but I never really got it.  I never had many women friends, and I found the typical girlish behaviors annoying.  I was a real tom-boy as a child, and since  I didn't have a sister, I always felt apart from the sisterhood. 

Two events of today made me ponder the impacts of being white and female.  I was in DC this afternoon and came across a rally about Black Power and the Evil White Devil.  It was impossible to avoid hearing the insightful rhetoric being used to rile-up the crowd as I had to wade through the protestors who were blocking the sidewalk outside a metro station.  What they were saying didn't bother me, because I am a stanch supporter of free speech.  Having to pass by this staged event twice made me think about race and gender influencing how we treat each other.

Heading back home from DC on the metro with this heightened awareness, I was focused on the other women around me -- a mix of Asian, African-American and Latino females.  They were reading, tending children, listening to music and one was locking lips with a cute young man.  As I studied them, none was aware of me.  I felt we should be not only aware of each other, but feeling the power of our femininity as we sat so close to each other.  I really wanted to tell the woman in front of me that her taste in purses was outstanding.  I would have liked to share my recent reading exploits with the woman next to me who was reading a best seller.  I could have shared stories about raising kids with the mother totting a stroller and a toddler. 

There is so much we have in common. We're not all that different and as I sat there feeling oddly connected with those strangers, I really wanted them to look up and smile, acknowledging we are sisters under the flesh. 

We just are not attuned to other people (unless they are sending electronic messages to our phones and tablets.)  Those angry, energetic young black men preaching on the street today were doing what they felt was needed to get people to break out of their comfort zones.  I agree with the need for the masses to wake up.  I only wish the message was more compassionate, and that we all could co-exist in peace.  Come-on girls, let's start the dialog and start breaking down barriers that keep us apart.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I'm Baaaaack

I took a year off, but now I'm back to writing this blog.  In the time I was away from doing this, I found I missed a great deal from not taking time to reflect and understand my reactions and feelings.

So, I'm back.  And, I have some things to work through.

I have learned over the past year how blessed my life has been in that it has been drama free.  A year ago, extended family drama bled over into my world.  I normally deflect negativity, especially when it adds no value.  By virtue of being part of this family, there was no shelter from the destructiveness of irrational, compulsive, self-centered behavior of others.  Sadly, I found myself wrapped-up in the drama and it's taken some toll on my personal relationship within the family, as well as ripping away my peace-of-mind when I found myself under siege via the continuous stream of negative emails and phone calls.

Then I took a step back, prompted by taking personal action to get the facts and make my own conclusions rather than be swept further into the family discord  by dueling factions.  What I found was the situation was just as dire as before, but I could control the emotional upheaval and refuse to take part in it by focusing on what legally needed to be done to bring about resolution.  Everyone may not be satisfied in the end, but at least we will get across the finish line, alive!

I'm very unhappy with myself that I allowed nine months of my life to get sucked into this swirling mess.  And, I'm really happy I've exited this negativity game.

And, in the end, it came down to only one thing - I have the power to control my own reactions and decisions.  I always knew that, but I (sadly) was suckered into the emotional game-playing of others.  Another life lesson, once again proving you are never too old to learn new things - or in this case, relearn and reinforce what you already know.

I talked this over with my daughter who is working on her doctorate of  Clinical Psychology.  She was very insightful when I asked why some people seem to need drama in their lives.  She said, people who lack confidence are afraid to make decisions, so they are constantly asking others for input, but are so paralyzed by all the options, they need to keep reevaluating the choices while stirring emotions to keep everyone involved (therefore, being available to play this game.)  And, by involving so many parties, they have many outlets for placing blame should they make the wrong decisions.  Lastly, pinning blame on others deflects attention away from them, allowing them to join the crowd of rock throwers.

I think that's a pretty good description of what I went through.  My positive from this experience is I now am better equipped to shutdown this destructive behavior right from the start. Or at least, see it's happening and employ my exit strategy.

At least that's my hope!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

31 Days of Gratitude. Day 18

God moves in mysterious ways and today I witnessed it. Little things that make a huge impact are his hand in the human drama, invisibly pushing us in directions we would not have predicted. I'm learning to sit back and observe the underpinnings that part the waters! I'm grateful to learn to see with sight that has nothing to do with my eyes.

Things move in their own time.  You can push against the tide, but when things are as they were meant to be, that's when change happens.  Not before.  We are impatient.  We want immediate answers to our prayers.  It becomes frustrating when you keep going through the same motions without different results.

I've learned this lesson  - things happen in their own time, in their own way.  You can suggest and apply logic to a situation, often creating a sense of urgency only your own.

Then, as if there's a shifting of the weight from one side to another, things change.  Not because of the pushing and prodding, but because its now the right time.  Can one predict when it will be the right time?  Is the right time, like the perfect storm, something dependent upon alignment of the elements?  Impossible to say.  All I know is nothing is impossible.  It just takes time.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

31 Days of Gratitude. Day 17.

31 Days of Gratitude. Day 17. I'm so grateful for having remarkable people in my life. People come through with gifts of all sorts, the trick is to take time to listen well and recognize what they give. I pray that I will be open to receiving the bounty that lies before me in the people I encounter. In return, I hope I too am leaving this world a better place in whatever way I can.

One of these remarkable people was "Mrs. K" who made a huge impact on me in my formative years.  "Mrs. K" as we called her was a humble and caring woman who taught me to believe in myself and to trust my instincts.  She gave me room to grow and when needed, spent time patiently guiding me until the lesson was learned.  Mostly, she led by example, never judging and always loving the real person.  Today was Mrs. K's funeral and it was a celebration of a life not only well lived, but fully spent in service to the community, and to her family and friends.  Every person who was touched by her was left better for the experience.

Thank you, Mrs. K!  I am definitely one upon whom you left your mark in your steady, quiet and loving manner.  A few years ago I was asked in a very important job interview, "What was your most important leadership training?"  Immediately, I saw Mrs. K!  I was filled with joy as we celebrated her life today in her beautiful church surrounded by the many people who loved her.  It's been a long time since I personally spent time with this dear woman, but the seeds she sowed and took root in me live on.  It was my privilege to have known her and to be among those honoring her today.  Mrs. K you will never be forgotten because of the thousands of people whose hearts and minds you enriched.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

On-Demand

Okay, I admit I am slow to catch-on at times and this is one of them.

I have discovered On-Demand!

It is truly a great thing.  Only one problem... I have not gotten off the couch in the weeks since finding it!  I am now watching all the Dexter episodes, three or four an evening!  I've stopped exercising, blogging, and talking with my family (although my husband is sitting next to me on the couch watching On-Demand with me - so we grunt at each other and discuss things happening to the characters on the screen.)  It's weird.  When you watch so many episodes in a roll, these people start to invade your real life.  I swear, I hear the Dexter theme song in my head all day long.  This is not good!

Before I found On-Demand on the television, it was a theme in my profession - Information Technology.  On-Demand means technology bringing information to you - anytime, anywhere - to make things easier for the Knowledge Worker, to make them more productive, to make companies more efficient and effective.

So, after all these years of preaching the value-add of On-Demand in the workplace, my in-home On-Demand fiber network connectivity has made me a slacker!  All I want to do is watch Dexter 24x7, which I can easily do until I fall out in a comatose state in my living room.

In the end, I have come to the conclusion that On-Demand anything has to be used with a good dose of common sense.  Like everything else - too much of a good thing can become a bad thing.

As for Dexter, we are nearly caught-up and can start watching season 8 with the rest of y'all in real time - one week at a time, until the finale and the show finally ends.

Then, it's back to On-Demand to see what else we've been missing!  :)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Another One Leaves the Nest

My daughter has been accepted into graduate school - in Chicago!

My husband, daughter and I visited the Windy City two weeks ago and it was windy!

Seriously, it was windy and cold and beautiful!

Recently, there has been a great deal of reported news about Chicago being the murder capital of the U.S.  I say, "So what!"  The District of Columbia and Baltimore have both had this honor bestowed upon them and I lived through these periods without incident.  None-the-less, our visit has made us more comfortable about our youngest going so far away from home for the next 5 years, and maybe she won't be coming back to live close to us once she graduates and starts her professional life.

If that's the case, then I think Chicago would be a delightful place to put down roots.  We once had neighborhood friends who moved to Chicago and reported they were having a fantastic life there.  My impression was one could have a really good time there!

As for the baby leaving the nest, well she did it before when she took off for under-graduate studies and we learned to live without her being around.  We also survived her post-graduation return too!  I see this as giving me a reason to go back to Chicago!  (I do wish it was a bit closer so we could drive instead of fly, but with the prices of parking in the city, perhaps not!)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

You Never Know

Yesterday, I learned that someone who once worked for me died of cancer after a short 4 weeks from when she was diagnosed.  Today, news of another passing came on Facebook. 

My former employee will be remembered as a vivant and bubbly woman who took great pride in putting together an outward presentation that just sparkled, literally she sparkled.  Liz was almost bigger than life -- you could not miss her!  Truthfully, at times it was difficult to tolerate her over-the-top enthusiasm in large doses.  Sadly, a botched breast reduction catapulted Liz into a severe depression, one she never survived.  Her depression disabled her so severely she could not leave her house.  I suppose she simply did not have the will to live and succumbed to the ultimate illness, the Big C.

Cancer was also the cause of death in the second case.  I never met Barb, the wife of a friend of my cousin.  Sick for the past year, but surviving beyond the 2-3 month prognosis with an approaching January 17th birthday, my cousin organized on Facebook a campaign to have hundreds of birthday cards from around the world arrive to brighten Barb's last birthday.  The campaign was a huge success and Barb was overwhelmed to receive all these well wishes.  Barb sent via Facebook a beautiful thank you note saying how happiness is the best medicine.

Both of these stories have touched me because they are sad, because they happened to once vital women who dealt with their situations in a completely opposite manner.  It's easy to sit here and say I would make the best of my situation no matter what... but, really, you don't know.  I hope to never find out!