All the Way to the Top, Baby!

rock climbing

If the team doesn’t make it to the top, who do we blame? The guy who gave up at the beginning? Not usually. The human link in the chain that just didn’t try? Boys will be boys. Play on player. You certainly can’t fault the one who lasted the longest, claws dug in deep into the dirt of the mountainside. If one person would’ve saved the team, she would have, but that’s just the problem. It takes more than one. It takes everyone to make a marriage. It takes everyone to build a family. It takes more than one to win a game and more than one to strike up a tune. So if you’re going to play with the big girls, if you want to wear the big pants, play your heart out and play for keeps. Because girls that make it to the top of the mountain, break a few nails, but they are strong.

Here is a short follow up to: The Passion of Hate and Love

Gears, cogs, pistons, they each have their job. If one malfunctions, you don’t blame the other for the whole machine’s malfunction. When a marriage crumbles, it’s never one person’s fault. I’ve carried around a feeling of failure for years that I realize is wrong. I’m pretty pissed about it now. I know I didn’t fail. I was the unfortunate owner of the hot potato and my ex was the absent person and the only other player in the game to toss the potato to. I hope you feel the helplessness in that. I felt his absence for years. I felt I was the muted voice yelling at the top of my lungs to a deaf man who seemed not to care or didn’t want to carry any responsibility. And I did the hardest thing I could possibly do. I left. There was no more pretty in my pretty please. I couldn’t try harder. I couldn’t try anymore. I was empty inside. I loved that man with all that I had, and it was gone. Somehow, we didn’t match. All of my young years, I had been told, marry a Christian. Marry the man God sends to you. Marry a man your parents approve of. Check. Check. Check. And I was madly in love. What could go wrong? We did the right things. We waited to get married. We had the church wedding. God was surely smiling on us. Delirium. Delusion. Once Upon A Time, Oh wait, wrong bedtime story. I woke up. And I am alive and well.

Massive-Success-Frank-Sinatra-Best-Revenge-Picture-Quotes

The tiny cost of failure

…is dwarfed by the huge cost of not trying.

This is news, a state of affairs due to the significant value of connection, to the power of ideas that spread and to the low cost of production.

Delighting a few with an idea worth spreading is more valuable than ever before. – Seth Goddin

To truly fail, is to not get up. And if you fall, get up again. Laugh again. Or cry. Turn on some Phil Collins or some other good music and enjoy the day. I’m taking song suggestions by the way. I’d like to have yours. Comment at the top of the blog. I have Phil’s song stuck in my head, “I can feel it coming in the air tonight…” and now so do you.

 

The Thing You Didn’t Say

supergirl

I have a proneness towards being involved. I’ll just state that up front, so you’ll know exactly where I stand when you read the second paragraph. It comes from being raised in a small town, in a small community church. Everyone helps. Everyone brings a covered dish for the meal and everyone helps clean the kitchen. With that knowledge in mind, I can ask a few questions.

When you’re sitting quietly beside someone and they’re talking about a topic you’re familiar with, when do you feel comfortable jumping in? When the topic is spoken to you directly? When you’re well informed? When you know the person who is talking? Never? Always? What you know and what is appropriate to talk about has always been difficult to me. I was raised to find the answers. If I have questions, I search in the library, in books,  ask teachers, read magazines, ask experts, or wherever I thought I could get knowledge. And since I grew up in a small church, I was put in leadership at a young age, so this put me in a mindset of being a know it all. Not with young children so much, but with my peers. I didn’t want that, so I was always bounding between giving an answer or staying quiet. This is the thing many women never talk about, having to stay quiet for fear of being ridiculed. By my own natural inclination, I want to help. I want to expose the truth. I want to tell all the information that might be helpful. Usually leaving people stunned and overwhelmed. Overexposed.

It’s difficult to carry on a conversation about topics that are mentally stimulating with people in everyday life. My brother and I have discussed this before. It takes an effort to find your own kind. And this is probably for everybody. There are sports bars for people who like sports, but most of society is a mixture weirdness and snobbery, myself included. What if you like beer and the opera?

Men are trying balance their Alpha maleness with their supportive softer side. Have you heard about The Red Pill controversy? Anti-feminism? It’s tough. It’s even tougher because women aren’t completely sure what they want. We have groups who are altogether sex goddesses. They believe women are pure estrogen and need to do nothing more than to wag their, whatever, to get their way. Fine. And maybe that’s all true. But some of us have a brain and are curious. I like to explore and think. We have geeks supporting brain juice. Pop culture promoting a sex-pumped Barbie image. Then there are the Vegans.

This is just to show how far away we are not from solving the role of women or even of men,

Kim Kardashian doesn’t realize she’s the butt of an old racial joke

On the flip side – those of you saying that Kim Kardashian needs to put on some clothes simply because she is a mother also need to sip a big champagne glass of “Girl, Bye!” Because this antiquated idea that mothers are not allowed to celebrate their sexuality is ridiculous and naive. How exactly do you think women become mothers? Immaculate conception? I’ve never been a fan of policing other women’s bodies, and I’m not about to start now. Ya’ll can have that. – The Grio

Somewhere in all of these types, we forgot to just be who we are. We have brains. We have bodies. Some of us like to drive and some like to coast. Pick your flavor and enjoy. It all works together my friend and you can’t ignore any of it or you have dysfunctions. I think the over sized derriere is a symptom of the dysfunction trying to find balance, but it’s just my guess. And truthfully, even if I had a backside curved like Kim’s, it would probably still be sitting on the couch on Saturday night.

I can’t miss mentioning this, Rosetta Scientist, Matt Taylor, wore sexist shirt - Business Insider,

All of humanity made history today by landing a spacecraft on a comet.

Unfortunately, many of the women following that development — and a few men, too — were made to feel pretty unwelcome in the space exploration sphere when one of the people leading the mission decided to show up to talk about it wearing a shirt covered in dozens of half-naked women.

There’s never a lack of stuff to talk about. I think the wisdom is knowing when to speak and when to not speak. What to wear and when to not wear it. And maybe even how much to show and at what times? I don’t always know. I try to err on the side of not speaking to compensate for my overzealous mouth.

Being Chosen, Blessing or a Curse?

Painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme of a veiled Circa...

Painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme of a veiled Circassian (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you like it when you get special attention from your boss? Do you want to be the favored son or daughter? Or is it better to fly under the radar? The sad fact of being special or chosen is that it’s difficult to be known for anything other than your trademark. You’re special. You’re chosen.

I was watching the show Reign, on Netflix this past week and although it’s not true to history, I was enjoying it. It showed King Henry’s two sons, Francis and the bastard, Sebastian. Francis had privilege and status and the future betrothal to Mary,  but the bastard was freedom to take chances and explore. Which made me think of other “chosen” types in history. One big one I think of is the people know to be the most beautiful in history.

The Georgian women, from the North Caucasus mountain region in European Russia, are known for their great beauty. So much so, that families were known for selling their own children for the same price as a horse. They sold as their children as sex slaves, as circus beauties, as sultan harems, or whatever else.

An advertisement from 1782 titled “Bloom of Circassia” makes clear that it was by then well established “that the Circassians are the most beautiful Women in the World”, but goes on to reveal that they “derive not all their Charms from Nature”. They used a concoction supposedly extracted from a vegetable native to Circassia. Knowledge of this “Liquid Bloom” had been brought back by a “well-regarded gentleman” who had traveled and lived in the region. It “instantly gives a Rosy Hue to the Cheeks”, a “lively and animated Bloom of Rural Beauty” that would not disappear in perspiration or handkerchiefs. – Wikipedia Circassian beauties

And then there is this blog, which I’ll only show you the first paragraph, but I’m a geek, so I find these things fascinating. I hope you don’t mind.

A Freakish Whiteness: The Circassian Lady and the Caucasian Fantasy

by Gre­gory Fried
Published March 15, 2013

When I first stum­bled across the photograph repro­duced below, over 15 years ago at an antique show, it struck me as ludi­crous, inex­plic­a­ble, and yet also some­how haunt­ing. Per­haps it was the jux­ta­po­si­tion of the young woman’s abstracted gaze with the absurdly wild mass of hair flam­ing around her head. I found a name, inscribed by pen­cil more than 130 years ago on the back of the pho­to­graph, “Zublia Aggolia,” and a title, “Cir­cass­ian Lady.” Even today, I still know noth­ing about Zublia her­self apart from her name, and even that is not what it seems. Despite that, her por­trait has taken me down a path of dis­cov­ery whose con­nec­tions I would have never guessed.

http://mirrorofrace.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/zubliamedium4.jpg

Mirror of race

I don’t want want to be chosen. I don’t want to be special. This is good as it is. Ordinary. Regular. Gotta get up on Monday morning and go to work and all of that kinda of stuff. Right. I’ll let someone else enjoy the limelight. That’s why I will win survive the zombie apocalypse.

And if you are really interested in the subject, I’ve included a YouTube video of a black professor speaking about why white people are called Caucasian.

Live Today

English: Black Patent Leather Fetish Shoes 197...

I was reading in a recent More Magazine about how I can add this vest over an ordinary casual/evening dress and make into a work-appropriate dress. Ideas sprouted, budded, and bloomed in my head. How clever, almost, because I had a similar vest and a somewhat similar dress and there was absolutely no freakin’ way that the dress hanging on my door, waiting to be worn, was going out the doorway, on my body. At least not on Monday morning. The light was too bright and the office is the wrong place.

It’s funny how you can sell an idea in a magazine and it seems glossy, perfect, beautiful. It’s like selling an idea in a fancy restaurant. Or convincing someone of marriage. The ring is  beautiful. The diamond sparkles. The jeweler takes it out of the show case and the lights hit the cut stone at fracture the light. The girlfriend gasps and the crowd smiles. Yes, she’ll marry you. Who could say no to that? Until 2 years later? Or 1 year? It’s not that either of you have changed. She’s not a monster and neither are you. Both of you are just as beautiful as before.

If you want the dress, if you want the ring, put it in the right light is all I’m saying. I love a good romance and I can fall for them myself and I have. I’ve said too many times, With this car, I’ll keep it spotless. This time, I will vacuum it every weekend. It won’t go a year without waxing it. Right? We make promises. We dream. And we know it will be exactly like we picture. But it won’t.

Dis-contentment is the space between reality and fantasy. We are standing in our jeans and T-shirt with mud on our boots and hanging on our closet door, gathering the dust of neglect is the little black dress we swore we’d wear. There underneath are the shiny black patent leather heels. They are so pretty. You want to wear them, but when? It’s Monday morning and you’re off to work as a veterinary, helping another horse or cow give birth.

Where are you now? What you are doing, right at this very minute, is important. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Do it as if you were walking the red carpet. As if you were the president making a critical speech to the nation. Live today.

 

I’m Not Good

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For goodness’ sake is an old phrase we’ve probably all heard. Being good, what does it mean? And by being good, am I denying myself in order to placate someone else? This is all my opinion, but being good seems like a false idea, devised to keep people in their place. Good people are controllable. Do you see powerful males being good? Or hungry female lions?

“For goodness’ sake”—an Elizabethan wouldn’t use the apostrophe as we’re required to—has its literal force here: “for the sake of goodness and decency.”

Here’s a line from a recent Doctor Who episode – Flatline

Clara:  I was the Doctor and I was good.

Doctor:  You were an exceptional Doctor, Clara …

Clara:  Thank you.

Doctor:  … goodness had nothing to do with it.

I once believe that if I was good, quiet and submissive, if I did what I was told to do, then I would be rewarded. It sounds like a kindergarten fairy tale. But that’s why the lie worked so well. It worked so well that we have CEO’s spouting it out in statements that women should trust the system…

On stage with Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College, Nadella was asked what advice he had for women in the tech industry who aren’t comfortable asking for a raise. Nadella replied in part: “It’s not really about asking for the raise but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along. And that, I think, might be one of the additional superpowers that quite frankly women who don’t ask for a raise have, because that’s good karma. It’ll come back because somebody’s going to know that’s the kind of person that I want to trust, that’s the kind of person that I want to really want to give more responsibility to. And in the long term efficiency, things catch up.” – NBC News emphasis mine

Here’s Suzie Orman’s response,

Good Karma is not “what you get when you’re silent. Good Karma is what you get when you do what’s right in this world,”@SuzeOrmanShow. @CNN — OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) 

Let’s try being who we are. Let’s try honest living, by that I mean, honestly communicating to each other with honest statements. I like. I don’t like. I want. I don’t want. I need. I fear. I give. I take. Negotiating, asking, and working towards a goal trumps being good and hoping someone will notice. Always.

Grandma and the Big Oak Tree

superstition

My grandmother was a very superstitious lady, black cats, ladders, salt over the shoulder, and all of that. I remember once, walking across the yard with her and my mother. We lived in a small town and had walked to the hair salon to get Grandma’s hair fixed. On the way back into the yard I parted ways and ran ahead. I had been warned previously by my mom and knew that Grandma had very superstitious ways, but I was an irreverent child to these superstitions at that time. I ran to the right of the big oak tree while Mom and Grandma were walking around the left. The two women stopped. Mom looked at me and told me to get back around with them. Grandma was very serious about this walking stuff. After much stalling, I started walking forward towards them. And I was chided more. I skulked back around the tree. I made it obvious that I thought they were stupid and rejoined my mom and my grandma who greeted me with a big approving smile. Lesson learned. Do not provoke Grandma.

Somewhere in the middle of the silliness, there was a nagging doubt. What if these things mattered. That little doubt has stuck with me most of my life. I was around 10 or so at that time. Church and all the spirit woo-woo added to the accumulation of cause and effect evidence. So until this day I still get that nagging feeling, maybe I shouldn’t have said that, or may I should have said or done something else. And, I wonder, is any of this true? What if I could toss all of this stuff in the trash? Life would seem so much freer.

It made me believe that everything that exists was caused by another thing. Cause and effect. Or also called the Rooster Syndrome:

The rooster crows and the sun rises: cause and effect, or red flag?

If I tripped and fell it’s because I wasn’t paying attention. So I could prevent the fall by paying closer attention and clearing my path. You can see this if you look at my life. I was always a very attentive person. And yet somehow I’ve had similar incidences as those that haven’t been as careful. I’ve been attentive and fallen. I’ve been attentive and broken my arm. It’s all just superstition in some form or another. Live and let it all happen as it will, because some things can’t be prevented.

To quote Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory:

Sheldon (on phone): Oh, hi mom. … The Arctic expedition was a remarkable success, I’m all but certain there’s a Nobel Prize in my future. Actually, I shouldn’t say that. I’m entirely certain. No, mother, I could not feel your church group praying for my safety. The fact that I’m home safe is not proof that it worked, that logic is Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc. No, I’m not sassing you in Eskimo talk. - “The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation”, The Big Bang Theory

Do your work as best you can and be kind.

 

 

Trouble Makers

wordart forget the dog beware of the kids

Trouble kids. What is your definition of trouble makers?

When I was 16, we had a new pastor come to our church. When I first met him I was sitting on the counter, legs swinging, in the church’s kitchen. We had a decent size youth group in our small church for the size of our town. We were active, loud, and enthusiastic. Normal. The one thing I later learned was that I looked like trouble, or so my pastor thought. This always perplexed me since I thought I was a good girl.

Going back in time, in junior high about 7th grade or so, I got into a scuffle on the bus ride from school. I was in the coveted back seat and a bigger boy wanted my seat. I didn’t budge. We scuffled and we both got suspended from the bus. I don’t remember much except being aggravated because I wanted to win and feeling scared of going to the principal’s office. The one thing I didn’t remember my mom had to tell me later. My dad confronted the bus driver. This shocked me because in my family is pretty quiet. We each handle ourselves and take care of our own issues, but apparently my dad was miffed. The boy was big, around 200 pounds; I was a little 80 pound girl. That wasn’t right, and Dad’s all about right.

You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.

So, is it better to raise quiet, subservient children? Not in my world. In some situations being passive is helpful, but handling life as an adult you need some spunk. If you want a quiet, compliant, factory worker then fine, raise a child to never question authority, but I can’t stand that. We need to feel free to speak up, to call attention to injustice, and to think of solutions for our problems.

More recently in my life I’ve had a few minor verbal scuffles. And by a few I mean 6 months worth of hell. When asked to help on a project at work, I dove in feet first. I asked questions,

  • Why are we doing this?
  • What do we want to see as an end result?
  • How hard do we need to push the software company or do we adapt?
  • Are we missing any steps along the way in this process?

I ran across some gaps in our process so I spoke up. I spoke up about how things were done and what I saw that needed to be done. If one of the missing elements I noticed wasn’t done immediately, then we’d have a noticeable loss of income in 2 months. Someone would be irate. The task was done, but I ruffled a few feathers along the way. There are still some ruffled feathers even over a year later. Would I do it again? Hell yes. It may not have been my specific job, but it affected my job. I knew the software and I knew the tasks that had to be done to get the money in the door.

What concerns me is how we define a trouble maker. I see accomplishing a task as getting things done, even if you have to bump a few noses along the way. Trouble making, to me, is causing a problem because you want to stir up attention. I avoid attention, but I like to do a job well. Work done well is what counts.

Or as in the song “Stand Out”

And if your gonna make a mess make it loud

And if your gonna take a stand stand out

I highly recommend you listen to this episode of This American Life – Is This Working. Act 3 specifically talks about a school with an interesting method of discipline. When the method reached the real world things got interesting. Actually this episode made me want to punch an idiot. The shortened version – Act 3 Is This Working

Introvert Malfunctioning

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Do the thing that scares you, that’s the advice I’ve read over and over. And I, the introvert, have believed the mantra. I believed the mantra because as an introvert I function backwards in society. I push myself  to take more action than I am comfortable with.

I remember when my mom, who is an extrovert, constantly reminded me to say thank you and please, like most parents do. It was difficult at that time to get the words to come out of my mouth. I’d watch my older brother and think, he always says thank you; why is it so difficult for me? So in my mind, Difficult = Correct.

Somewhere in my 40′s my brain wiring malfunctioned. And it’s one of the best things that ever happened to me. I’ve delicately reassembled my interfacing, attaching wires in my head to where I think they should be connected. And guess what, I’m still an introvert. I’m an introvert who has learned to respond as an extrovert to society, but with all the fear and discomfort of being an introvert.

Being an introvert is not a malfunction. I must reconsider all of my earlier beliefs and this is one of them, do the thing that scares you. I get it. I know what they’re saying. It’s a quick way of pinpointing what you really want. But sometimes it’s okay to not do that thing. It’s okay to step back and decide, is it necessary to do this? Because sometimes, Correct = Not difficult.

Taking the plunge

Maybe that’s the problem.

Perhaps it’s better to commit to wading instead.

Ship, sure. Not the giant life-changing, risk-it-all-venture, but the small.

When you do a small thing, when you finish it, polish it, put it into the world, you’ve made something. You’ve committed and you’ve finished.

And then you can do it again, but louder. And larger.

It’s easy to be afraid of taking a plunge, because, after all, plunging is dangerous. And the fear is a safe way to do nothing at all.

Wading, on the other hand, gets under the radar. It gives you a chance to begin. – Seth Godin

Expectations vs Reality

Life

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe,” said the farmer.

Expectations are just that, expectations. They aren’t promises or guarantees. We assume we know how life will go. I have heard that women tend towards forecasting in relationships more so than men. We meet a man, and in our mind we’ve got our house picked out along with the names of the two adorable children we will have. When the relationship crashes, we wonder what went wrong. Maybe nothing went wrong. It could be that it wasn’t as perfect as we’d thought. It’s difficult to process the difference between our imaginary relationship or imaginary job versus the one that really exists. We need to be careful to pay attention to what really is happening around us, then we approach life face to face.  Where were you looking when the roof caved in? Did you notice the first drops of rain? Or the buckets on the floor to catch the dripping roof leak? Maybe you were were visualizing life in another town.

So what are we to do? I love to redecorate my house in my mind and our imagination has its purpose. How would we ever make any progress, whether scientific or mathematically? Visualization gives us our map of how it could be. We need to remember where we are right now.

Avoiding magical thinking

But while your intent is pure and your goal is to create magic, the most common mistake is to believe that the marketplace will agree with your good intent and support you. More specifically, that media intermediaries will clearly, loudly and accurately tell your story, that this story will be heard by an eager and interested public and that the public will take action (three strikes).

Or, more tempting, that ten people will tell ten people to the eighth power, leading to truly exponential growth (some day). Because right now, you’ve told ten people and they have told no one…

Only count on things that have happened before, a funnel you can buy and time you can afford to invest. Anything more than that is a nice bonus. - Seth’s blog

 

Pebbles in My Shoe

pebble

Some people seem like pebbles in my shoe. I’m walking along and all is fine. Dang it all, but there is something in my shoe. I pull off the shoe and brush out the offending pebble. With the shoe back on I start walking. Until another pebble gets in my shoe. Some days it seems as though life is just a series of offensive pebbles.

There are telemarketers and pushy sales clerks wanting your money. Late fees and long lines. Broken shopping carts and flat tires. If only you could just make them all disappear. These are the minor issues. What about the coworker who talks too loudly or the boss who misunderstands your jokes.

The fly in my ointment, the devil in the details, and the speck on my black pants.

Have you ever noticed that the more you list out the problems and label them as a nuisance, the more they tend to multiply like rabbits in free range? Snow that piles 3 feet high keeps you from driving to work or a sudden rain shower that spoils the ballgame , these can’t be planned for or altered.

From childhood we dream of our life with all the good times planned out in our head, but the path that we walk is our reality. The dream in our head is only a projected course. It’s all possibilities and potential realities.

“Man makes plans, and God laughs.”Yiddish proverb

There are people and events in your life that seem like obstacles. Somewhere between the time we’ve visualized where we wanted to go and when we actually get there, our path dead ends. How do we handle the pebbles? Get over them and keep walking? Or build a pebble wall of I can’t?

Instead of seeing obstacles as a pebble in your shoe, try seeing them as sand in the oyster. These inconveniences are the things that life is made of. The people who annoy you the most are not your enemy. They don’t have to be anything to you. Release the emotional grip you have on those in your life. There is no need to demand they act the way you wish. The anger that keeps you bound to your so-called enemy will only drain you of the energy you need to do more productive tasks. Look at that anger. Can you feel the energy it takes? Let it go and when you feel it again just look at it and let it go again.

Things that happen to us are simply the thing that happens. The pebble didn’t ask to be in your shoe. It didn’t place itself there to jump as you walked along the road.