Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Now that that's over…

We are FINALLY at the end of an especially grueling election cycle.  For the most part, I kept my politics to myself or expressed them with the like-minded people I know.  I like to say that I'm a liberal conservative or a conservative liberal, you may take your pick.  Thus, it was with some embarrassment that I had to declare a party affiliation when I registered to vote on election day.  Yes, on election day; Wyoming allows this.   Much I was not going to vote all, great pacifist that I am, I went and cast my vote for the first time in nearly 20 years, making this only the third presidential election I have voted in during my 50 odd years in this life. 

What was so striking about this election cycle was the great chasm it created it amongst the American people, the way it divided us and made us the least of what we are as a society.  People I felt to be otherwise intelligent, thinking people became rabidly attached to their "side" of the equation, and given to a rather constant barrage of what I can only describe as a type of verbal diarrhea, and they simply would not shut up about politics.  Being a pacifist at heart, but deeply an old-style American and equally deeply a Catholic, this was very difficult to tolerate from both sides. 

Most concerning was the total lack of the ability to compromise, the intolerance, the bigotry, the ignorance, the complete inflexibility to even consider that there is another point of view other than their own.  This is NOT what America is all about!  This is true of Congress, of course, but they are drawing on the desires and behavior of their constituents, therefore, the deadlock in Congress is quite home grown with you and me, and carried forward to the national level.

Our greatest strength, the root of our prosperity, our greatness as Americans, as a country, is our ability to be flexible, to adapt, to grow and change and develop into the greatest country in the world.  How, when and why did we lose this?  Moving back to our roots, to what made this country great, is the key to our future. 

I don't mean, however, trying to turn back the clock to the 1950s in America.  That decade holds some sort of strange appeal for so many Americans and particularly politicians.  Was it really a simpler time?  Were we really better off?  In that era, black men like our president were still being lynched for so much as looking at a white woman.  Women could expect no more out of life than to marry, have a family, keep house, cook, clean and look after their children and husbands with no personal identity and no opportunity for self-actualization.  Women were as constricted by girdles as by society.  Men could not exercise their creativity or connect with their children in ways that are loving and nurturing.  They were often tied to jobs that drained the life out of them because it was what was expected of them.  They wore neckties like nooses around their lives.  How very sad. 

We can't carry America back to prosperity by turning back the clock, but we can look instead to turning the clock ahead some number of years, to a time when partisan politics is a dirty phase and deficit spending is a thing of the past.  We have to start with the person who looks back at us in the mirror and look at that person very hard and squarely on.  What have you done for your country lately?  Fought with an acquaintance about politics?  How is that working for you?  Did it create any jobs, stop abortion, balance the budget?  No, I thought not. 

This country has been going to "hell in a hand basket" for over 200 years, so if your candidate(s) weren't elected, I'm sorry for you.  This country has survived into its third century by the greatness of its people, not the greatness of its politicians.  I challenge you not to spend the next four years plotting your revenge and spend it instead on becoming a better person.  As Tip O'Neill said "All politics is local" and by local, I mean YOU.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How are you still single?

Having been asked this question many times over the last couple of years, and after being “pestered” a number of times to the point where I had to be blunt and hurt someone’s feelings, I think it is time I answered this question.

I should preface this by sharing here what I share with all men who think they want to chase me.  I work two jobs; one with a set schedule, one that is all the time and anytime.  I work long and I work hard because I like money, by which I mean a fat savings account is the best sleeping medication I have ever found.  I have a number of children, all grown, but they are an active part of my life and now they are starting to reproduce. I anticipate being an involved grandparent.  I am busy.  Not only do I have plenty of employment and a growing family, I am also an artist and a writer.  Additionally, I have a cycling addiction.  As if this were not enough, I’m down for three autoimmune disorders and there are some limitations on certain activities.  My life is not only full, it is overflowing.  I have increasingly better health these days, and an exponential growth in my happiness and contentment with my life.  I am self-sufficient and I want for nothing. 

These are things I have had said to me.  They all affront me.  At last, I’m going to answer them frankly and honestly.

  1. I know you’re busy, but you can make time for people who are important to you.

Of course I can and I do.  The subtext here reads, spend time with me; I should be important to you.  Explain to me why you are important to me because I hardly know you and I’m just not feeling it.  

  1. You need to get out more.  You stay home too much.

It is true, I do stay home a lot, but I work at home.  This is the office and the landing spot. My schedule is not conducive to going on dates and I can’t manage late nights these days because I like my sleep.

  1. Don’t you like spending time out of doors?  It would help you so much.

Of course I like spending time outside.  I can’t be out in sun.  Yes, thanks for suggesting sunscreen, why didn’t I think of that?  Sunlight breaks me out in blisters, I run a fever and I’m sick.  Sunscreen doesn’t make the slightest bit of an impact on this.   So, I cycle in the evenings or the early mornings so I’m not in as much sunlight.  

  1. You just need the right kind of exercise.  You should take up running.

Cycling IS the right kind of exercise.  My joints are permanently damaged and I need low impact, but high resistance.  Thanks for being so concerned about my health, but I think I got this.

  1. Oh baby, I’ve been looking for a girl like you!

I find this one irritating.  I’m no one’s “baby” and I haven’t been a “girl” in 30 years.  I’m an adult woman.  I’m more than reasonably complicated and I’m all woman, I assure you.

  1. Why do you work so much, I mean you never have the time to talk to me!

Has it occurred to you that I might feel my time is better spent elsewhere?  Personally, this comes across as needy and attention seeking.  I’m not your mom, your best friend or your therapist, though you might actually need the therapist. 

  1. You need a relationship.

It took me nearly 50 years to learn to identify my own needs.  I’ve known you all of five minutes and I don’t understand how you presume to know what I need, but I’m pretty sure you are not it.

  1. Don’t you want to get married again?

In a word?  No.  I have been there, done that and with a man who was not content to merely beat his wife and children, he had to violate the last human taboo against his daughters. 

  1. No wonder you hate men, are you sure he did that?  I mean, that’s a lot to accuse a man of doing.

I don’t hate men.  I gave birth to two of them for heaven’s sake, and I trust both of them with my life.  As for being sure, I’m 100% positive, absolutely certain and I live with the repercussions every day.  When my children suffer, I suffer with them and for them.  Questioning the voracity of my honesty infuriates me.  Good. Bye.

  1. You must get very lonely.

This is a projection.  No, I don’t get lonely.  The quiet single life works extremely well for me.  It is the reprieve from the large family I gave birth to.  I go and visit them, and they often come here, to share in the quiet, civilized and relaxed atmosphere I provide them.  Because I live alone and enjoy my own time, I’m that much happier to spend time with them and I enjoy them more.  I’m also my own best friend and there is nothing like spending quality time with a best friend.

  1. You need someone to take care of you.

I’m not sure what about me gives you that impression.  I’m quite adept at taking care of myself, thanks.  I have been on my own now for 16 years, raising kids and not.  I don’t have a mortgage, I don’t pay rent.  I don’t have credit cards or car payments.  I’m gainfully employed and have full benefits.  I don’t think I need to be taken care of in any way.

  1. You need love in your life.

We all need love in our lives, but what makes you think I’m lacking?  I have a large family of outstanding young adults whom I still call my children, a couple of grandchildren in the works and a great number of the best girlfriends in the world.  I have the love and constant attention of a fabulous dog.  Best of all, I love me.  I love how my mind works, I love my creativity and ingenuity and I love that I know what makes me feel good about anything and everything in my life.  I love the little things and the big things I accomplish.  I love my sense of the obvious because it makes others laugh.  I love that I know how to be present, real, honest, accepting, nonjudgmental, kind, thoughtful and a host of other things.  I love me.  I will always have more love than I know what to do with! 

I have come to feel about my life the way that old T-shirt read…A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.  I have no idea why anyone should think that an educated, accomplished and intelligent 50-something woman can’t be happy on her own.  This 50-something woman is doing just fine.