Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Take from me these myths

Myth #1) When you get sick for almost two weeks, missing a full week of work (with no sick pay, ouch) , you are being punished.

I am the worst sick person in the world, and it's not because I whine. It's because I'm guilty. I am guilty for whatever sins I have committed to make me sick in the first place; I am guilty because I am not getting better right away; I am guilty of not being a productive person while being sick; and I feel guilty because I am no longer a Useful Person while lying exhausted and beaten in bed. If I have one obsession, it's with Being Useful. Every day, when I wake up, I ask God for two things: to make me more useful, and to help me love my neighbor better. Being sick makes me feel like a failure of a human being. And this drives the people who are trying to take care of me absolutely nuts as I try to do chores, errands, and work while being sick.

Myth #2) When you put yourself out there for others, it comes back to bite you in the ass.

Right before I got sick last week I had something happen in my life where a big mistake was made - and the harder I tried to fix it, the worse it became. Ever have that happen to you? You feel like you can't win for trying, so why bother caring? This mistake came from me doing someone else a pretty big favor that ended by blowing up in my face - and I walked around for a good week with the bitter taste of no good deed goes unpunished in my jaw and my fists. I was so tempted to take my love away from the rest of the world in some weird act of revenge, and sit there smugly and watch as the world collapsed in on itself the second I wasn't around to fix everything and keep loving it into existence every morning. Which brings me to myth #3:

Myth #3) You are the center of the universe.

Your love will not fix everything; your failures will not break everything. Everyday the world spins madly on and we screw up and apologize and then screw up again and as much as we think that we have a deep effect on what happens to those who around us - we don't. Our friends and family function and cope and survive and breathe and love with or without us making things better or worse for them, and some days this knowledge is a crime and sometimes it's a gift. When I say there is only a limited amount of what you can do you can take that as freedom or you can take it as a jail sentence. But either way it's true - because it's both.

Myth #4) You shouldn't be grateful.

There are two camps that the ungrateful fall into; luckily, being the overachiever that I am, I swing from one to the other in order to partake in them both (high five!). The first group thinks I have no right to be grateful; gratitude is a mockery at the unhappiness and misfortune of others. When the rest of the world is miserable, who are we to be happy? Doesn't our happiness take away from others? And, laden with shame, we lay down our happiness and wallow in the ingratitude of guilt.

The second group feels that with gratitude comes settling. If we're grateful for the crappy job we have, we will never be inspired to find a better job, one that actually helps us fulfill our purpose and use our talents to their highest ability. If we're grateful for our romantic partner no matter how small their tokens of love, we will never declare that perhaps we could do better and move onto a relationship that is mutually fulfilling and blessed. To be constantly unsatisfied with what we do have is to be ambitious; to be grateful for the small crumbs that have been thrown our way is to settle into the mediocrity that will become our lives.

Except gratitude is the path where things grow. Health is gratitude expressed (the gratitude that I have knowing that no matter how I'm feeling or how much I'm accomplishing, my love is always useful), love is gratitude expressed (the gratitude that I have knowing that when I do something kind for someone else, no matter how it turns out, I made that effort and gesture with the best of intentions), true wealth is gratitude expressed (the gratitude that I have knowing that being grateful only opens doors and opportunities and doesn't close any of them). Everything we live and breathe is gratitude being expressed.

Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I'm feeling much better and I'll be back next week.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

the one where I explain everything: Part 1

Okay, that's not technically true. I can't explain EVERYTHING. That would take a super long time, and I have yet to find a satisfactory explanation for aardvarks or the book of Leviticus, so I can't really be expected to explain those to you when I don't quite understand them myself.

I am the essence of the middle of a thought, and I try to make my posts reflect that. Maybe it's because I'm a Gemini, perhaps it's because I have the attention span of a breath mint. I'm not quite sure. Oooooh, something shiny, be right back.

But I do know that every so often I leave you guys with a "and that's another post for another time" cliff-hanger and I have yet to ever follow up with any of the explanations that I promised. So I'm trying to change that with these next couple posts, but it's okay if you get bored. You can skip them if you want. I won't tell. They're filler posts while I'm sorting out my life.

So long ago, in my very first "here's what I'm about" post, I mentioned that I once accidentally called Pamela Anderson stupid to her face. Now, that isn't technically true. Technically, I accidentally insinuated that Pamela Anderson was stupid to her face.

Big difference, people.

I was at one of those big Hollywood charity events, where the celebrities show up just to get a bag of freebies and photographed for InStyle Magazine, and it was getting late. We were all outside a huge house hidden far back in the canyons, waiting for our cars to be returned to us by valet parking. Well, I was waiting for my car. I turned to my left and noticed that standing right next to me was Pamela Anderson, who was clearly waiting for her limo.

She turned to me, probably in expectation that I was going to say something, and I felt a certain pressure to do exactly that, even though I'm not usually the kind of person who says something just because there's silence. I quite enjoy silence, actually. Particularly when it's not my voice screwing up the silence.

"It's nice to meet you," I say, and trooper that she is, Pamela automatically sticks out her hand to shake mine. Think, brain, think. Say something that she probably doesn't hear very often so you can be different and then she won't think you're a sycophantic imbecile.

"I really liked the articles you wrote for Jane Magazine," I offer up, and she brightens, and it's true, she used to write very honest and intelligent articles for what used to be the coolest magazine on the planet. "I really like how intelligent you came across, and I figure, no one ever says that to you..."

She stops shaking my hand and we just stare at each other, probably because she's trying to figure out whether or not I just called her stupid. To her face.

"'Kay, gotta go, nice to meet you," I mumble, and am forced to haul my freezing ass out of the very long valet line simply so that I don't have to keep standing next to someone whom I just called out as not coming across as very intelligent. Stupid, stupid, my brain kept chanting to me, as I walked back inside the house and waited a good 45 minutes before risking going outside again.

On the plus side, at least I didn't tell one of the biggest spokespersons for PETA that the M.A.C. makeup she advertises for not only isn't vegan, but also uses animal hair for their brushes.

That makes up for it, right? I'm still a good person...
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