Both Sides of the Story

“Be sure, before we close our eyes, don’t walk away from here. We must hear both sides of the story.” – Phil Collins

I met a woman the other day who had a bubbly personality, a zest for life, and a mouth that talked nonstop about anything and everything under the sun. It was refreshing to encounter someone like that because it seems like most people I run into are, how shall I say it, restrained. It was good to see someone out there enjoying life and being loud and proud about it. We had a sparkling conversation (when I was able to get a word in edgewise), and I thought she would make an excellent friend. It seemed like our personalities meshed very well.

Then I found out she had just lost her mother two days before we met, and the joyous personality I had seen was shown to be her attempt to ignore her true feelings about it all. After the truth came out I saw everything she had told me in a completely different light, with the knowledge that hers was a sad soul in need of a friend. Notice how I thought we would make good friends before the revelation, and that didn’t change one iota after knowing what I did about her subterfuge. I could completely understand it, and it endeared her to me even more, that she wanted to appear strong. But it’s okay to be weak with friends. We’re there for each other. Continue reading “Both Sides of the Story”

Question Everything

That’s the biggest singular piece of advice I’ve ever gotten from a living soul, and anytime I feel adrift in this crazy sea of life I go back to it like a lifeline, tethering me to a better version of reality where I’m not its star and others I come in contact with aren’t my subjects. Everyone does things for a reason, and even though I don’t have to always be privy to their reasoning, I should always think about why I do the things I do. See, I’m not in charge of them, but I can think about me.

Question everything. Continue reading “Question Everything”

The Fugly Duckling

Who is that guy?

I grew up thinking I was ugly, or “fugly,” as the teenagers called it in the early ’90s. Don’t worry, I won’t explain the combination of words it takes to come up with the word fugly, but suffice it to say it wasn’t a very nice word to call others. From an early age I remember looking in the mirror and not liking what I saw, though. Sure, I knew I was smart, and I knew my family loved me (at least most of the time), and I knew someone would always be there for me, but I realized even then that I wasn’t what you would call classically handsome. It took me ages, however, to comprehend that none of that mattered anyway.

Take a look at the number one culprit of eating disorders everywhere, the mass media. The magazine shows a woman with a ridiculously slim waist, practically nonexistent breasts, and “an ass that just won’t quit.” On the television you can see a woman with a normal-sized waist, enormous breasts, and “an ass that won’t quit.” This second type is known as the “hourglass” figure. It seems like the only prerequisite for being famous is to have a posterior that refuses to stop. Continue reading “The Fugly Duckling”

Standing Up: How to Deal

The great Richard Pryor

I wanted to be a stand-up comedian. Honestly. I thought all my problems would be solved if I could just laugh about them in front of an adoring audience that would then forgive me for all the horrible things I’ve done and clean the slate. Absolution with a touch of ribald humor, always a winner. Of course, my problem is that I’m horrible with a punchline. Ask anyone (except my children, they think I can do no wrong, and they love my “pig” punchlines). There’s something about timing, phrasing, pausing, you know, every single thing that makes or breaks a punchline. Simply put, my jokes just aren’t funny. I’m much better at random sarcasm.

So, how to deal with my problems, to get them out without being able to laugh at myself in front of an audience of my peers? Well, that’s what friends are for, right? My problem has always been in finding friends, though, and then once I’ve found them, maintaining them. Maybe it is my tendency to be randomly sarcastic that has something to do with not maintaining them, or perhaps it’s how often I laugh at myself. Maybe I just need therapy. If I talk to someone who has to listen because I’m paying her, would that solve all my problems? Continue reading “Standing Up: How to Deal”

My Obituary

I wrote my own obituary once as an assignment for school and it was an exercise in futility. It was supposed to show me what I really wanted to do with my life and what really mattered to me. The problem, as you’ve probably already guessed, was that it was a construct, and I knew … Continue reading My Obituary

The Wake-Up Call

“This is your wake-up call. You’re gonna miss it all.” – Phil Collins Often in life, people have what is considered a wake-up call, something that shifts their line of thinking, even though that line of thinking had been going on for a very long time. Sometimes that wake-up call is because someone has achieved … Continue reading The Wake-Up Call