The one thing that can solve most of our problems is dancing.

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I was thinking of this quote by  James Brown yesterday while Todd and I worked on our current “problem”, the garage. We have needed to finish putting the boxes away since we moved in June, yesterday we finally got around to it.

We met our officiant st Starbucks in the morning for coffee and conversation. He is lovely and I glad he will be the one marrying us. I am so looking forward to the personal details he will include in our ceremony. After coffee Todd and I came home, put on the Passion Pit station on Pandora and got to work. I find my chores much more enjoyable while dancing, I finally got Todd to see things from my point of view, not for too long though, he left most of the dancing up to me. He will slow dance me all around the house at a moments notice though and that’s enough for me. We loaded all of our boxes into the attic, I cleaned off all the built-in shelving so Todd could set up his tools, and we put away all the other odds and ends so now we can park in the garage.

I must have been especially good yesterday because after our chores Todd and I went to Ikea and he bought a book shelf that will go in the office closet so I can organize all of my art supplies. I can’t wait to get in there and set everything up. It has been killing me inside that all of my art supplies have just been stacked on top themselves in the closet and I have not had ready access to any of them. We also went to Home Depot and picked up a few yard tools. It was over all a pretty productive day.

As and aside, I feel an obligation to report on my first week of class as this is the primary purpose of my blog, to record my experiences as a student. I predict that this particular experience is going to be dull. I am taking Spanish, there is nothing very inspiring about the instructor or the class. C’est la vie.

Tequila – Have a story

Quick update before I get started:

I had the conversation I was gearing up for on Monday and it went off without a hitch. We were able to have an honest conversation about what had brought our relationship to the point it was at and what we needed to work on together to be where we wanted to be. I accepted my part and so did the other person and we both felt a weight lifted off of us after. It isn’t easy to have these difficult conversations when it is a friend or a family member but if they mean anything to you it is crucial for the health of your relationship.

Moving on. I had Sex and the City reruns on in the background yesterday while I was working on some wedding related items (side note: I am a die-hard fan, if the reruns or the movies are on and I have the time I will always watch them. If I am doing something else I will let them play in the background while I work. I can quote every episode and movie I have seen them so many times but they never get old to me.) and a commercial caught my attention. It was a tequilla commercial featuring Keifer Sutherland. It was Keifer Sutherland that caught my attention more so than the commercial itself, had it been a nobody I wouldn’t have noticed it at all. So I am watching him in the various settings of the commercial talking about “having an audience” and “having a souvenir” but most of all “have a story”. It made me laugh on the inside because I am thinking, “Yea I have a few tequilla stories!” So there you have it folks. That is the inspiration behind todays post.

Here are 10 reasons why I, as well as my best girlfriends, no longer drink tequila.. Based on our shared stories of tequila debauchery.

1. Too much tequila can make you bite someone you just met downtown, a virtual stranger really, on the hand. – Mmm Yummy hepatitis.

2. Too much tequila can make you crab walk over your sleeping best friend in the middle of the night in a failed effort to locate the bathroom. – No dummy go the other way!

3. Too much tequilla can cause you to blow off the bassist from Portugal. The Man who is currently hitting on you because you are too drunk to realize who is talking to you! – FML.

4. Too much tequila can make you mistake the blinds for the bathroom. – Then is why you should never sleep alone after too much tequila, you need someone to rescue you from the window before it is too late.

5. Too much tequila can make you sloppy drunk text your ex at 2 am – Embarrassing.

6. Too much tequila makes every lame pick up line sound brilliant. – “I want to plant flowers with you in the rain”. Swoon. (and yes, that was actually one I got while single years ago and I was almost drunk enough to find it charming. Another reason why you should never drink tequila alone, you will need someone to rescue you from yourself.)

7. Too much tequila can cause you to break out in a fight with yourself in your sleep possibly injuring innocent bystanders that are sharing your sleeping space. – “Ahh what the hell, that’s my collar-bone!”

8. Too much tequila can make you pour a cup of half melted ice down your best friend’s WHITE shirt in the middle of the bar for no apparent reason.- Wet t-shirt contest anyone?

9. Too much tequila can lead to dance off between you and the weird star wars guy at the bar. – Oh don’t worry. I won.

And number 10 courtesy of one of my best friend’s who is chiming in via text..

Too much tequila can cause you to trust a bartender when he says, “here put on this snorkel mask” and then proceeds to spray you in the face with the soda hose. – True story.

Breaking Point

I am up against something big that is causing me a bit of anxiety this morning. Well, not just this morning actually. A relationship in my life has begun to feel strained and it has come to the point where I feel I have to do something about it because I no longer feel confident it will resolve itself naturally. I abhor conflict. I am not even sure abhor is a strong enough word for how I feel about it. I mean, of course most people hate conflict, I am not alone in this. Conflict is just a part of everyday life, that I can handle and I am OK with. It is definitely an anxiety trigger for me though when it gets to this point where it no longer feels that it can be handled with a quick, easy fix.

In situations such as this I get caught between my distaste and discomfort with confrontation and my need to handle the issue directly through confrontation essentially. It’s a bit of a paradox for me. I am beyond uncomfortable with confrontation but am unable to beat around the bush if I know there is an issue that has to be handled. So I deal with things head on. I feel like it is the only way. I cannot ignore a problem, I am too worried that if I don’t catch it early it will fester and get worse.

I have been putting this one off though. I was hoping things would level off on their own and there would be no need for a talk. It’s clear to me now though that this talk is overdue and there is never going to be a good time to have it so it just has to happen.

I feel anxious because I am afraid addressing the issues directly may only make the current situation worse. I am afraid the other party involved will be in denial of the issue in which case what do I do? If I am saying we need to talk about this issue and they are saying there is no issue.. I don’t know. I am also afraid my honesty about how I feel will be hurtful which is not what I want. I own my part of the problem and am prepared to hear what this person’s feelings are towards my part, I just hope they are as open with me. I don’t know how to even begin to address the issue, when should I bring it up? When would we have the opportunity to talk uninterrupted?

I have been in this position before and have never regretted choosing to talk about an issue with someone. No matter how uncomfortable it may feel at the time, and believe me I have been in some uncomfortable situations, I once met a boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend to have one of these talks, it does not get more uncomfortable than that. You always end up feeling better on the other side though because you were honest and you tried to fix it. If things were to get worse after this conversation at least I will know I tried.

If this conversation does not help then my next course of action is to take a break from my relationship with this person and hope that things will get better after some time apart.

Being in the Closet

A subject I rarely talk about has come up organically throughout this week so many times that I have decided I can no longer ignore it. It started on Tuesday, I was on the phone with my brother making plans for the weekend. We were making plans for Saturday night, we are double dating, and he was asking if I was planning to go to Grandpa’s mass at church. Let me explain what “Grandpa’s mass” is..

In the Catholic faith, which a good porting of my family are members of, there is a point in the mass when they say specific prayers regarding people or situations going on in the world. The reader will say something to the effect of “For all those who were killed in the 9/11 bombings, we pray to the Lord” and the response from everyone in the congregation is “Lord hear our prayer”. Well if you have lost a family member you can pay whoever it is at the church to include their name in that portion of the mass. That is why my grandmother refers to it as “Grandpa’s mass”, someone has paid for his name to be included.

I love my family and miss my grandfather dearly but I do not attend these masses when they come up. I feel it is exploitive to ask a person to pay to have their family member mentioned. I just think there could be another way. I would feel differently if the entire mass was devoted to his memory and it was all about him and his life, but that would almost be like a second funeral so that doesn’t make a lot of sense I suppose. Either way, if Todd and I can help it we save going to church for funerals and weddings only.

So my answer to my brother was no. No church for us, we will see you all after for dinner and painting.

The topic came up again that same day when I was scanning my “reader” on WordPress. Most of the blogs I follow are either Social Workers who share their stories and feelings about the field or fellow INFPs. There is one that I enjoy that is unrelated to either topic though, Godless in Dixie. I think he is great. I like his writing style, he is clever and informed. I definitely share some opinions with him. I noticed he had a post about proof versus lack of proof and the church’s argument on the subject. It was interesting for sure.

Then when scheduling an appointment to meet with an officiant someone other than the person I was expecting to hear back from called. He is with the same company but he is a reverend. The person I thought I was reaching out to is not religiously affiliated at all. I enjoyed my conversation with the reverend, he is sweet and has a calming nature which I always gravitate towards in people. I ended up hoping that things work it out and we can use him but then had to inform him of us not being religious. He went to a christian college and studied religion, this is his background. I was afraid of offending him, you never know how people are going to take it when you inform them of your lack of religion. He was fine. He is all about making our ceremony personal and about us and our story, no religion required. I was relieved.

The final straw that led to this post came yesterday when I received a visit from some religious salesmen at my front door. Yes, that is how I describe them because isn’t that what they are doing? Going door to door trying to sell you on God? They were nice guys and just because I have no interest in what they are selling is no reason for me to be rude. I listened to their pitch about the bible verses that prove there is a God and why atheists are wrong. I then accepted their pamphlet on the dangers of pornography addiction and bid them farewell.

Todd and I do not consider ourselves full on atheists. We do not believe in God but cannot say with certainty that there is zero possibility of something, what we do not know but just something. We definitely do not believe in organized religion, however. This is not to say we don’t believe in anything. Myself, I am highly superstitious and there is no rational in that at all, believe me I am aware. But I am superstitious anyway. I also kind of believe in ghosts. None of this makes any sense, I realize. But for me beliefs are an ala carte thing, you pick and choose what you want to believe in. I am not atheist/agnostic because I think I am too smart for religion or I think science can explain everything (although I do think science can explain a lot). For me it is as simple as God and religion work really well for some people and just don’t happen to fit for me. I think no differently of believers, I can completely see the merit in having faith and how it helps people. It just doesn’t help me, that’s all.

It is a hard thing to come out and say though. It is something that Todd and I kind of consider ourselves in the closet about. We do not deny our lack of faith if brought up but we do not choose to address it either. In my family there are some people who would take issue and for me it just isn’t worth upsetting my grandmother, you know? If she asked me directly I would not deny my feelings but I would feel bad that what works for me may hurt her heart, which isn’t what I want. My immediate family knows, my friends know.

It just feels like there is such a hard-line between believers and non-believers in our society. The believers want to save the non-believers and the non-believers think the believers are fools for believing. I just don’t feel that way. I think religion and faith, like so many other things in life, is a very personal choice. I don’t think it is something to judge someone by. There are good people who care about being good people and it has nothing to do with religion or lack of.. it is because it is the right thing to do and that’s it. To me there is no wrong or right choice on this subject, there is just choice.

In spite of everything I still believe people are really good at heart.

autistic hate letter

 

If you have not heard about this hate letter sent to the grandmother of an autistic child here is the link to the story.

Ontario family shocked after receiving letter from neighbour telling them to ‘euthanize’ autistic son

 

My sister-in-law showed me this story yesterday when my family came over for our weekly dinner. It is taking a while for me to sort out my feelings about it. After reading the actual letter my most fundamental reaction was shock and anger and that is not just because my nephew is autistic, I think most people would feel one of those two emotions after reading something steeped in that much hate.

I had a lot of questions, not necessarily for my sister-in-law just in general. After talking it out the initial conclusion I drew is that this woman lacks empathy. That in itself surprises me really. One of my first questions was “how, as a mother, is she able to harbor that much resentment towards a child? a disabled child at that?” I was working under the presumption that most mothers would be able to put themselves in the shoes of that child’s mother and consider how they would feel if it was their child in that position. Well without empathy you are unable to do that. The woman also seems to have a strong sense of entitlement. At the bottom of all of it though what we are really looking at it is ignorance. She is no different from any other bigot out there, she is just targeting an autistic child versus the gay community, those of different races or religions etc.

It is sad to follow yesterdays post about longing for a sense of community and brotherhood with a post that holds an example of such a stark contrast to that ideal. I was just saying how there are so many of us that have good in our hearts and want to take care of each other, this woman is out to prove me wrong. But fear not, this idealist is not easily dispirited. I would never dream of sharing such hateful news without providing a silver lining of hope. Ironically, it is the following news link that made me cry, not the previous.

Here is our silver lining.. “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery and death.” – Anne Frank

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/moments-that-restored-our-faith-in-humanity-this-y

 

 

“When I was your age”..

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While at dinner with our friends Saturday night we wandered on to the subject of hitchhikers and how different society looks at them now compared to during the depression/dust bowl era. I remember my Papa telling me stories about the drifters, entire families sometimes, that would stay with his family as they traveled west towards work during the depression. Even though his family was poor and frogs and squirrel were the norm on their dinner menu they would always take people in for the night, feed them and then allow them to sleep in the barn. People they had never met, from parts of the country they had never been to. Complete strangers. The chances of this occurring in our current society, zero.

I wonder what changed in people? My friend’s husband and I agreed that many of us still have that goodness in us that we want to take of each other but we are afraid. Our society has deteriorated to the point of being afraid to offer an elderly woman a ride if she appears stranded. I am no different believe me. I have offered help to people I don’t know but to ever go as far as offer a ride to a stranger when it is just me.. I don’t know. My friend was telling us all about this time when she was coming out of a doctor’s office and a spanish family who spoke little english approached her and asked if she would mind giving them a ride across the street to the hospital where they needed to take their grandmother who was with them. She agreed and as she only had her husband’s truck that day she had to load most of them in the bed. She said that when she got there the women in the family were so grateful and kissing her face over and over. It makes it worth I think. It was such a simple thing that made such a difference, how can you not think that is worth it?

When we were in Illinois staying with our friend who lives just outside the city I noticed she leaves the front door wide open at night when the weather is cool. She has a screen door so there is no concern about bugs or animals getting in but I was still surprised. She trusts the safety of her neighborhood enough to be able to sleep at night knowing the front door is not only unlocked but ajar.

It reminded me of when I was a girl. The house I grew up in was down a dirt road and we were surrounded by fields and woods, no other life close by. We never locked the door. Now my parents have the door locked during the middle of the day. They still live in a remote area, quite rural, and they know their neighbors but something changed, I don’t know what.

Todd and I are the same way, the door is always locked, even if we are home. We are not in a rural area though. We live 5 minutes from downtown proper and although it is a nice area where we know our neighbors we are still too close to not-so-nice areas to trust it. One of the things we love about College Park though is the community. There is a sense of community here where you feel like everyone is your neighbor. It is the kind of place that encourages you to get out and interact with your neighbors, it has a very 1950’s feel to it. We have block parties and community garage sales and a celebration with the changing of every season. There is always a reason to get out and meet people and be social. Todd and I love that. We love that restaurants and shopping are within walking distance to our house and there are parks on many neighborhood corners. It is exactly the kind of place we would want to raise a family.

I don’t think we will ever see a time again when picking up a hitchhiker would feel safe or the majority of us would be comfortable leaving our front door unlocked while we sleep. The only way I see that happening is if things went completely to shit. That seems to be the only time we rally as a people anymore. It would take something major for things to change that drastically though.

The balance between P and J

Todd and I have regular talks about our relationship and the current state of things. It is like our way of cleaning house, it’s an upkeep of our relationship. I mean what happens when you don’t keep up with your cleaning? Eventually it catches up with you and things get out of hand, you have a real mess on your hands. This is one of the reasons our relationship works and we rarely argue.

One of the talks we have every so often revolves around his “J” and my “P” and keeping the balance between the two.

Some background,

I am pretty vocal about being an INFP according to the MBTI. What this means,

  • Introversion (I): How do you relate to the world and focus your energy?
  • Intuition (N): How do you perceive information?
  • Feeling (F): How do you make decisions?
  • Perceiving (P): How to you orient yourself to the outside world?

Some of the main characteristics of the INFP personality include:

  • Loyal and devoted
  • Sensitive to feelings
  • Warm, caring and interested in other people
  • Strong written communication skills
  • Prefers to work alone
  • Values close relationships
  • Focuses on the “big picture” rather than the details

Although I have always fallen close to the middle between introversion and extraversion I do identify as an introvert. I get my energy from quiet alone time and although I enjoy social activity and interacting with the public, it can drain me. I also identify as an HSP which plays a role in my energy levels and how it is easy for me to sometimes feel overwhelmed.

Todd is an ISTJ. I knew this even before he decided to take the test one day. What this says about him,

  • Introversion (I): How you direct your energy and relate to the world around you. ISTJs prefer spending time along or with small groups of close friends.
  • Sensing (S): How you take in information from the environment. ISTJs prefer to focus on the details rather than thinking about abstract information.
  • Thinking (T): How you make decisions. ISTJs make decisions based on logic and objective data rather than personal feelings.
  • Judging (J): How you orient yourself to the outside world. ISTJs are planners; they like to carefully plan things out well in advance.

Some of the main characteristics of the ISTJ personality include:

  • Focused on details and facts
  • Realistic
  • Interested in the present more than the future
  • Observant, but slightly subjective
  • Interested in the internal world
  • Logical and practical
  • Orderly and organized

Although our energy levels come from the same place the way we view the world, decision making and aspects of conducting daily life differ for the two of us. It has been helpful that we are both not only self-aware but that we also understand the other person’s point of view well so these differences have never been an issue. We balance each other well and have even helped the other to lean more towards the middle in certain aspects of our lives rather than being polarized.

Case in point, is his “J” and my “P” as I mentioned earlier. I am a pretty solid P which translates to being a bit haphazard, poor attention to detail (being a bit oblivious/clumsy), and an over all some what care free attitude about things. Todd on the other hand is organized, structured, quite meticulous and has an acute awareness of his surroundings.

I have been known to leave a bottle of nail polish (sealed of course) out on a table top for days after painting my nails. I don’t even notice it. It is as if the bottle has become one with the table, it no longer exists to me. It might be a week before I notice again and remember to put it away. This is the type of thing that would make Todd tick because in contrast he is highly aware of the fact that the bottle has been sitting there for days untouched and it does not belong there. We have made huge strides in this area since we first started dating, moving in together helped a lot. I have become more organized, which I needed and now appreciate so much, and Todd has learned to let go a bit. It has definitely benefited both of us to be with someones from the opposite personality type.

On the other hand, for couples who are not in tune with their differences and able to talk about them objectively and constructively being from two different personality types like this may not work at all. It’s really about knowing who you are, being true to that but allowing yourself growth opportunities. I like being an INFP, I would not change any part of it but I am also grateful that I am able to find balance and am able to appreciate others different qualities for what they are as well.