09 September 2006

I can't wait for winter...

Today has been a bit on the exasperating side and from all quadrants, I might add. Perhaps it's just cumulative, but for some reason, it feels a little more pronounced today.

I am generally known as Ms. Perky. I twist on the smile, generally hit my marks, and am expected to overlook slights, unfulfilled promises, and conform to the schedules and desires, wants and perceived needs of people in my concentric inner circle. This evening, I'm considering shaking up my inner circle - and only because I'm sure that I need to reconsider the pecking order of a few people in my life. It doesn't happen very often - but this evening, I have decided that it's perfectly OK to be annoyed. And so I am. Definitely annoyed.

My gosh that admission felt deliciously empowering!

In all fairness, I do have a couple of deadlines dangling in my immediate future and I do tend to feel a little extra stress when one of those things are breathing down my neck - so a small part of my annoyance may well be attributed to that, but not all of it.

In the past almost three years, I have discovered something and I am probably as surprised as those around me appear to be: I'm much more honest when I feel someone is taking advantage of me, and I've even found myself sounding rather forthright when I decide that I don't like the behavior of a friend or relative (or stranger). I kind of like it that I feel more at ease in speaking my mind and have stopped letting things slide in order to keep the peace, because that can't be healthy. Maybe it's a sign that I'm growing to respect myself more, by disallowing someone else to disrespect me with their words and actions. It can't be all that good for a person to continually stuff it, when that is exactly the two words you really want to say to the person you find yourself annoyed with. Who hasn't felt the inclination now and again to simply say, "STUFF IT!!"?

On the way home tonight with my friend Vanessa (who, FYI, I am not annoyed with), we had a nice chat about things and she most definitely is someone who's opinion I respect and who I just plain admire - mostly because with Vanessa, you know where you stand. She's an amazing woman. There is no fuzzy gray area with this strong-willed force of life! She calls things like she sees them and, in many ways, she reminds me a great deal of my mother. Tact may not always be her strong suit, but when all is said and done, she's usually right on the money in her opinions and beliefs. Her batting average is off the charts - and the same can easily be said of most of the opinions belonging to my Mother. Both of these women are valuable, blessed fixtures in my life, and I am grateful for their example, and the direction they unwittingly offer.

My father is also someone who is just about as close to an ideal role model as one can be. Though he is a bit more tactful and soft in his delivery, than my Mother or Vanessa, in his "kinder, gentler" way, he accomplishes the same result - of being someone worthy of anyone's respect and definitely worth emulating. This is someone I find it literally painful to disappoint. I just don't like going there.

To be honest, I need look no further than either of my parents to find a pair of the best people on this earth, in every single category imaginable, to color and influence my life. If I do need to go further, I've always got Vanessa. OK, so my Dad and Vanessa have some "mild" OCD issues with things like mowing (length of a blade of grass) and putting everything back to its original place, almost before you're even finished using it, but no one's perfect right? My Mom isn't nearly as OCD and she's softened quite a bit through the years, to the point where I don't even think she hates cats or, perhaps, she's just learned to peacefully co-exist with them. Felines notwithstanding, you could use any or all three of the aforementioned individuals as a compass for general behavior, and if you listened to them, you could be fairly certain of what you should and/or shouldn't do. Like I said, their collective batting averages are off the charts. I am really quite fortunate to have such benchmarks in my life.

Today, I wanted to scream out of sheer frustration at any number of things and, I may be wrong but I think I have a fairly high tolerance for irritation and, generally, I am well-practiced in the fine art of compartmentalization: In other words, it takes a lot to even register a spike on my "Miffed Meter". I watched a new employee at work spend the day with a cell phone seemingly physically attached to her ear, and when (nearly) everyone else was busy getting things stowed away for a couple of days off, she sat there oblivious to the activity around her, and never once appeared slightly interested in lending a hand - I dunno - maybe she was afraid she'd break a nail or something. I know I have a high energy level, but watching this individual was literally like watching a video in slow-motion. I got the distinct impression that she operates on two indistinguishable speeds: "Snails Pace" and "Molasses".

Add to this, that there was an overabundance of highly dramatic, overbearing individuals in my vicinity and so much drama! I know, we are on the waning side of a full moon and, with no disrespect to my best dog Cassie intended, I could only wonder to myself..."Who let the dogs out?". I don't mean that in anything resembling a flattering way. It was a little too flaming hot for my taste and please, feel free to read into that what you will. Have at it. Be my guest.

[Before I go any further - here's a handy FYI: For the "arm-chair detectives" among you - though I am not naming any specific names, none of the following has anything to do with "romantic-interests". A romantic interest would hardly qualify for inclusion into my circle of trust.]

And then there are a few people close to me, that can rock along and seem to be following a fairly reasonable path, who have a few odd "components" in their lives that I simply do not understand for the life of me and probably never will. I'm not a prude, at least I don't think I am, but I do find it all a bit perplexing because it doesn't seem to fit with the philosophy these select individuals profess to believe in terms of maturity and a distaste for those exhibiting really lame behavior. And I do mean, really lame - over the top on many levels, none of which are remotely flattering or attractive.

As I have come to discover over the years, in the end, it is the choices one makes and the people one chooses to run with that speak far louder than diatribes describing what they "pretend" to think and feel. I am embarrassed for them because of their choices, and I'll remain that way until they have the good sense to become embarrassed for themselves and jettison the trash. Garbage is too polite a word. Trash works much better here. Trust me on this.

Like a lot of people, I think I'm probably too trusting. When someone close to me tells me something, I tend to believe him/her, regardless of circumstances that might fly in the face of what I know to be a fact. I still stubbornly hold onto a belief in a person even if a great deal of evidence points to the contrary. In reality, I need to learn to trust the facts, even if it means that someone close to me doesn't merit my respect. I've always bought into flimsy excuses, doctored documentation and bold, outright, "in your face" lies - because nothing is worse than doubting someone you care about, people you think the absolute world of, and want only to feel the most respect for in every circumstance possible. I guess sometimes we want so much to see only good things that we allow it to skew our vision just a bit. I think that's probably just part of being human and I'm sure we all do it, regardless of what reality may tell us otherwise. I think it's part of human nature to want to look for the good, right?

But the reality is, (and I don't exclude myself from this) that people do make mistakes, they do lie, and even the folks you care for and love aren't always deserving of your complete trust. Hey, it's just the way it is. You remind yourself not to be so completely gullible, and you move on, and hopefully wiser as you move along. If you continue to be bothered by it, no longer can it be qualified as the problem of the person who duped you - it becomes your problem (the duped).

Basically, I'm really tired of being the "duped". I'm tired of all talk and no follow through. Of promises made and forgotten. Of a few relationships that are all take, take, take and no give. The disparity is wrong. I may have been heard to say "welcome", but I choose not to be anyone's door mat, no matter who they are or what place they may hold in my life. I'm not OK with being "taken" - for granted, or otherwise.

I just need to shake myself off and wake up to an industrial blend of STRONGER coffee (Thanks Chelsea!). I can do that. I have a commercial coffee-maker. Though it may take a lot to raise my ire, it does happen and though I don't enjoy feeling this way, I'm not quite the spineless shmuck I used to be. I've experienced a few situations that remind me that I did, in fact, come equipped with a fully operational backbone. Perhaps I need to use it a little more often. I need to look into that. It may smack of sounding a little too "Stuart Smalley", but it's true that I do have control over how much I allow myself to be (mis)used. I think perhaps I should set a few healthy limits, and then I should make certain they are respected. I can do that. I really am capable!

I've even made the executive decision of walking away from this desk later this evening and having dinner downtown and cutting myself a break from irritations, annoyances and deadlines. I hadn't really planned on it but why not? I may even get completely crazy and turn my cell phone off while I'm at it. I'm starting to hear that thing in my sleep so much so that I have decided I either need to change ringtones or cell phone numbers, available only on a "need to know" basis. OK, so I probably won't go THAT far, at least I thought of it. Progress...not perfection. :-)

So I guess the final result of this oh-so-mysterious post, is that I have become disenchanted and even disappointed in a few people lately. I'm sure at some point I will find my way around it, and I'll be back to my perky self - but for now, I am going to allow myself the rare luxury of guilt-free disappointment and mild-to-moderate levels annoyance.

The really GOOD news is, I've been asked to write about what constitutes a "blog" and my own blog is going to be the featured guest. (I guess that means that I'll be "interviewing" me. Gee, I wonder if I need to make an appointment with myself?). I need to get this "disappointment" entry out of the way and replaced by something far more uplifting, enlightening and positive, so that by the time the article on "what exactly is a blog?" is published, visitors who read the magazine will have something nice to discover after my blog address is published. Since most people know that I don't write fiction (much), hopefully all of my misplaced faith will be restored and life will be skipping along on a happier note. This particular magazine won't hit the stands for about four weeks, so that should be enough time to find something warm and fuzzy to blog about. I don't stay terribly annoyed for too long. My irritation tends to have a very short shelf life. Here's hoping...

Actually, it should be a cinch. I had lunch the other day at one of my favorite Chinese restaurants (the one with the dirty fortune cookies) but I chose a cookie out of the "politically correct G-rated" basket and, since I am certain you must be on the edge of your seat in anticipation for the fortune, it stated, and I quote: "When winter comes heaven will rain success on you." It is only for this reason, that I no longer dread the fall or the winter. I have no idea what form this "success" will take, but I know that after December 21, 2006, the future is going to be so bright, I might have to buy myself a new pair of Armani shades. I am certain I will have scant time or attention to be bothered by a few mild annoyances in my life.

I never thought I would say this, but I can't wait for winter. :-)