Happy (belated) Birthday, “Ex” Friend

Dear longtime friend,

Since you “divorced” me a few months back, I’ll have to admit, I sort of forgot about the whole issue.  At least on a daily basis.  You see, since we live so far apart now, and social media was really our only contact, you erased yourself from my life, and me from yours, quite effectively with that “block” button on Facebook…although I still can’t exactly figure out why you felt that was necessary, as if “de-friending” me was not enough…like you thought I would just continue to send you messages even though we clearly had nothing else to talk about.

I went about my life, and , like I said, after the shock and upset over our initial argument wore off, I sort of forgot about it all.  Except for when one of our mutual friends would mention you in conversation, or in a Facebook comment I couldn’t see because, after 20 years of friendship, you decided my existence pissed you off so much, you didn’t want to see my name…or whatever.  Then I would get kinda mad.

But eventually I’d forget about it…

Until I went through all my old greeting cards, some from as far back as middle school, and found the ones from you.  On more than one, you proclaimed how we would be friends forever and you’d always be here for me.  It made me a bit sad, but it also made me mad.  I didn’t know if I should keep the cards or get rid of them.  After all, if you could throw me out like an old card, why should I keep these mementos of our friendship?  But I decided to…just in case.  

And then I forgot about it.  After all, I am a mom, a wife.  I am (once again) a student, a writer, an artist, and a volunteer.  I’m a daughter and a friend… SO I had a lot to occupy my mind… and I forgot about it again.

Except for whenever feminism came up in conversation.  It seems a stupid thing to lose a friend over.  It’s not an elitist club.  It’s not about being obligated to feel or act a certain way, but rather having the option to decide for oneself…  And that’s what I would tell whoever I happened to be in discussion with.  But then I would forget about it again.

And every once in a while, something random would make me think of you.  How you were at my wedding.  How you are one of few of my friends from my homestate who have gotten to meet my daughter, who was not born until after we left the state.  It’s always with a mixture of sadness and anger that I think of you.  It makes me sad that you feel you no longer want to share in my life, especially my life’s greatest joy, getting to know my daughter.  She is super-cool!

It makes me sad that I used to describe you as the nicest, most open-minded person I knew, and you took those words and bit me in the ass with them.  I understand activism is important to you, but you seem more angry now then empowered.

Today* was your birthday.   I thought about asking a mutual friend to wish you a happy birthday…then I started questioning myself.  Did I really care?  Did I want you to know I was thinking of you, or was I just being passive aggressive, letting you know that despite your snub, I was still around?  I don’t even really know why I am writing this now.  You likely have “unfollowed” my blog as well and will never see this message.  And I guess that’s fine.  Maybe it’s better even, since it would probably just piss you off.

But, Happy Birthday anyway.  And Happy Holidays too, for good measure.  In a day or so, I will forget about this again for a while.  But I will be here, as ever.

Love me.

(edited cuz I thought today was yesterday*)

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Low Blow…and Not in the Good Way

I really hate to admit when someone gets under my skin…especially if it’s someone who is unimportant to me in the grand scheme of things.  But after a Facebook “conversation” that devolved rapidly into mud slinging, I got to thinking about it, and discussing it with friends, I decided to write a little bit about it.

Aside from being irritated and disappointed by the fact that it seems many people are no longer capable of having a conversation with anyone who does not agree with or validate their own point of view, I am so fucking tired of people judging me based on my life choices.

Tyler Durden said it best: “You are not your job.”

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I guess some people do identify with their jobs, especially if their line of work is a career, rather than just a “job…”   And especially if their career is one that corresponds with their hobbies or pleasures.  For instance, writers likely internalize their career as a part of their personality; cashiers likely do not.

At this time in my life I have found myself in role I hadn’t necessarily foreseen when I was growing up.  I am a stay at home mom.  That’s right.  I said it.  I have a double degree from a University college and I stay home and watch my kid.  And I think it’s awesome!  Sure, I have put off my own career for a bit (however, I am considering going back to school soon.)

What really galls me though is the ever-widening gulf between “women like me” and the opposite extreme of career women.  Aside from the backhanded “advice” I have received from a few of my friends and family about how I “have a degree but haven’t done anything with it,” there often seems to be a sort of implicit judgment that because I do not work outside the home right now, I can’t possibly find my life fulfilling, let alone be a productive member of society.  Today, I regret to say someone I once considered a friend (in high school) attacked me personally when I dared to weigh in on the subject of women in the work place.  Flat out told me to come back to the conversation when I got out in the real world.

What I want to know is…what makes her world more real than mine?

What about the fact that I have a family (and a child with whom I am lucky enough to be able to stay home, during the precious and  formative years of her life) makes me less qualified to have an opinion?

What about the fact that she is single and has a career makes her superior to me, or more informed than me?  I have worked.  I don’t live in a hole in the ground.  I even happen to be a woman.  (Imagine that.)

This world takes all sorts to go around.  Not everyone can be a high-powered business executive.  Not everyone wants to.  Furthermore, projecting your own bitterness or insecurity about your life onto someone innocent is not cool.

Basically, my message for today is two-fold:

1) Think before you type speak.  Even if you think your words are benign or you “mean well,” that does not give you license to judge someone else for their life’s choices, especially when they don’t impact you.  If you really care about and respect the person to which you are speaking, you don’t want to hurt their feelings or insult them.   Even if you don’t know them (ie: random people or mutual friends on social media,) how about remembering some basic fucking manners???

2) If you are one of those people who does believe you are somehow superior to someone else because of your life choices (or theirs,) please do them a favor and take their name out of your phone.  Take them off your Facebook “friends” list.  Don’t mail them any Christmas cards.  They don’t need you in their life, and, since you clearly have your life “together” enough to judge your friend’s, you don’t need them in yours either.  

I think these two principals could conceivably have very wide applications.  Religion, sexuality, appearance, parenting styles. Just about anything you can think of… I might even go so far as to say they’re genius. 😉

And if all else fails…

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