conversation

Thinking Things Through

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I spent the day with a dear friend and over lunch, not only did she give me a headache, I think she gave my ass one as well. I never realized how absolutely negative she was in her mode of thinking, in her mode of living and essentially in her entire way of being. Midway through our conversation, it donned slowly upon my aching brain, that my head was hurting because I was attempting being rational with an irrational being.

The conversation started slowly with my latest novel that I cannot seem to finish because the character is not wholly developed. Her argument began with what a person will do for love at the demise of a relationship. I was told that I was a hopeless romantic and that most people did not think as I did and she, in fact, could not relate. That’s when I ceased trying to rationalize my thinking, because she just told me, she could not relate.

I grew up with relatives and had relations with people who loved me. I have friendships with several of my long termĀ former loves where the relationships ended on an amicable note. I have had few, if any relationships that ended with an up yours and I am going to burn your sneakers in the bathtub. I am not a vindictive person and therefore cannot relate to people with vindictive spirits. I will admit to being a smart aleck and on several occasions have been called a smart ass, but never a negative one of either. Of course, based on these simple facts, there is no way, she could relate, nor understand.

It thereby became a harsh realization to me, that I was a hopeless believer in the good of all people, to include my pain in the ass friend. I also realized that out of all the people she was around, that I was the most faithful whom actually showed up on a regular basis to spend time with her ornery butt. Then something magical happened, I stopped talking and got quiet; she changed the subject. The moment I stopped trying to make sense of her nonsense and got quiet, she stopped with the negativity and simply said, “You are spoiled, I never got that type of love growing up, in my marriage or in any relationship.” I simply responded with, “I see your point.” I am hoping that you can see my point as you read these words. If it feels clear as mud, please allow me to explain.

The negativity she exuded was feeding off my disgustingly cheerful optimism. She could not understand my reasoning because she had no basis for what I understood. It would be the same as three blind men walking up to an elephant. If the first feels the trunk, the second feels the middle and the last feels the tail, then the three of them separately will never know it’s an elephant. In my mind, the smell will tell you it’s an elephant, but if you have never been around, seen, felt and smelled an elephant, you will have no frame of reference. My friend had no frame of reference for my views on love. Her negativity stemmed from a lack of love and it pissed her off that I had so much and she, so little and that on another lunch, I attempted to force my rose colored views across her aching eyes.

The conversation now turns against me and I become the designated ass, because she was in fact attempting a rational conversation with an irrational being. So often we attempt to force our views upon others who have no frame of reference for which we speak, and we become frustrated that they do not see our points of view. I am going to spend my 2012 eliminating the negatives from my words, because if I may quote Paula White, “you can’t celebrate my glory, if you don’t know my story.” I did not take into account my friend’s story and I bombarded her with my overly simplistic optimism, while expecting her to celebrate my thought process.

If you find yourself complaining about the same problem, moaning about the same situation, and groaning over the never changing scenarios that haunts your existence, then please takes this with you. The problem just may be you. We must give others a chance to celebrate your story, if you just hush up over the glory.

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Girl Talk 101

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As we age, our needs change as well as our taste. The things we require to be happy often begin to simplify as we hit some of those golden numbers in age. Our tastes in movies, food, books and even the need for basic conversation also changes. As women, we can sometimes see the subtle changes that occur and often limit ourselves to women of our age bracket and even join some exclusive clubs that celebrate our maturity. Girl talk also evolves and changes with our adulthood.

In our teenage years, girl talk revolves around hair, make up and cute boys. At this phase we love to talk about all the sex we want to have with fictional characters we see in movies and singing groups. Our favorite songs become our mantras for life. For me, I wanted to be in Control like Janet Jackson and wanted to have a Rebel Yell like Billy Idol. Donned in my double belt, a punk rock haircut and more attitude than necessary, I chatted constantly about changing the world with my words. Conversations with my girlfriends were about kissing boys, heavy petting and making it to second base.

In our college years, girl talk revolved around hair, sororities, sleep and cute men. If you are able to combine sleep with cute men with great hair, you are ahead of the game. In these years, girl talk has a huge circumference around the number of batters on base and none you are willing to allow to round to home. You discover credit cards, nice restaurants and men with good jobs who make more money than your high school sweetheart. Your conversation becomes about your goals, Sylvia Plath and Gwendolyn Brooks. You are well read and can hold a conversation with a man that has an IQ and you have learned, after conferring with your girlfriends that you are in fact, deep.

After college we begin our careers and girl talk encircles our jobs, climbing the corporate ladder and cute bosses. Late nights are spent crying into cups of coffee because you have made some really bad choices with your cute boss while you have tried to climb his corporate ladder. You are learning political etiquette, learned to shut your mouth and realized there are somethings your girlfriends do not need to know. Company retreats are not the place to get snookered and tell people how you really feel, but most of all, always wear good underwear if you are planning to strip down and jump in the pool. These stupid things your girlfriends remind you, were not too smart.

We marry, we breed, we find other women who are breeding, clipping coupons and girl talk becomes about the cheapest diapers at the best price. The 30’s are an ideal time to get back in touch with the woman we swore we wanted to be. We have reconnected with women from high school, stayed in touch with our college room mates and have gone back for a class reunion that we should have just plain avoided. We are talking dietary changes, family friendly meals all while swapping recipes and listening to each other gripe and moan about those things that are truly important, diapers. Girls night out becomes an opportunity to burn off some excess energy. We take jazzercise, yoga and attempt to do Zumba. We are consoled by our girlfriends when we find that first grey hair that is not on our head.

Girl talk is exciting as we organize snacks for football, soccer, join social groups, get a minivan or SUV and start to talk about how we maybe, kind of, should have married that other guy. Our guy is getting fat, scratching himself and still telling those same jokes from 10 years ago. Girl talk becomes about ways to get the insurance money if he met an unfortunate accident, but we don’t really want that to happen, because we love that old lug. Our parents are aging and we go from the child, to the care giver, as we deal with death, loss and sudden weight gain. Our hands are held as we go for a mammogram to explain the new lump and realize we just need to cut back on caffeine. We hold each other and cry as we come to terms with not having more children, we get another dog and start realizing that our children aren’t the geniuses we initially thought.

We are almost there, the fabulous forties. Our kids are headed off to college, who cares about the corporate ladder, we meet for tea, scrapbooking and take trips without the kids. One thing has changed and we are emphatic, we have moved away from listening to each other’s problems. Our conversations centers on splitting the ticket, sharing half of an order of anything and planning our next bus trips. It is now understood that no one wants to hear about your damned husband, your kids, or your financial situation. Our parents have become less of a joy and more of a “trying time” in our lives, and girl talk is just spent laughing.

In the end, no matter what the occasion, girl talk is meant to uplift. The moment that girl talk centers around one person, or the same problem, then it is time to move on to some other girl to talk to because the one you have is broken. Ladies, love each other and be supportive. Supportive does not mean you are an enabler, but an extra set of ears when your girls need to just talk. If you are the person who loves to monopolize the conversation about the same problem you aren’t trying to fix, please take note, your friends are sick of hearing it. Eventually, they will become tired of you, and you will find yourself alone with those same problems you refuse to address. Sadly now, you have no girls to talk to; love you, mean it.