the karma farmer

Reaping what I sow, which is apparently sarcasm and bacon

30 Isn’t Over The Hill….You Haven’t Even Started the Climb Yet. April 12, 2014

Filed under: Family,Just Life — Karma Farmer @ 5:19 PM
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I have a daughter that will be turning 30 this year.  The lamenting has already started:

“I thought I’d be an adult by now.”

“I just want my life to be more together.”

“I’m not where I wanted to be at this age.”

“How can I be almost 30 and I still haven’t ____________?”  (insert any number of statements, from graduating college to bought a house to opened my own business)

My daughter looks at me as a voice of reason, a mature, accomplished professional, and a kick ass parent.  (Why she still ignores my advice is anyone’s guess.  Stubborn as a mule, she is.)   Anyway, I am all of those things, thankyouverymuch, but I’m sure in reality not to the degree that I’ve achieved in her head.  I think it’s about time, though, that I introduced her to the 30 Year Old Me.

makegoodchoices.

The 30 Year Old Me wasn’t yet comfortable in my own skin.  I had no confidence in my opinions, my style, or my standards.  I changed like the wind.

The 30 Year Old Me was volatile and hot headed.  I hadn’t learned to manage anger, and my behavior when I was angry was abhorrent.  Yes, even towards my children.

The 30 Year Old Me was incapable of having a strong relationship.  Since I was insecure with me, I was insecure in my relationships.  That means I spent more time trying to craft arguments and conversations to get the reaction I wanted than I ever spent truly working on building a relationship.

The 30 Year Old Me lacked discipline.  I’d get tired of trying to make everything work the way it was supposed to on paper, and would end up intentionally sending the electric bill payment to the phone company and vice versa so I could buy some time and blow money at Chuck E. Cheese.

The 30 Year Old Me couldn’t see the forest for the trees.  As much as I preach to my kids now about how time flies, I lacked the patience and insight to slow down and enjoy how precious the days were.  I worked like a dog, and while others would look upon that admirably, in truth it was a defense mechanism.  I felt like my whole life was out of my hands, but I could certainly control things in my job.

The 30 Year Old Me was a closet drama queen.  I say “closet” because there was no one to be dramatic in front of, but every obstacle that I came across was devastating and the end of the world.

The 30 Year Old Me had no plan past the next 72 hours.  I let life happen to me rather than take control of it.  I lived paycheck to paycheck, hoped some better job would fall in my lap, and prayed the transmission didn’t go out in my car.

The 30 Year Old Me had no confidence in my parenting.  I would issue a directive, and get the lashback that parents get, and I’d cry myself to sleep for days on end because I was sure I was the worst Mom EVER.

The 30 Year Old Me didn’t know how to say “no”.  I volunteered for everything.  I gave away my time, my money, my attention, and my effort to anyone who asked for it because I thought that made me a “good” person, and I desperately craved approval from others.

The 30 Year Old Me drank way too much, way too often, and justified it with the “single Mom” mantra.  Add the anger issue in there, and I’m lucky I didn’t end up in prison.

The 30 Year Old Me was seriously irresponsible.  I didn’t change my oil when I should have.  I didn’t return library books on time.  I didn’t return phone calls.  I piled up debt.  My laundry room was a disaster, and my lawn was even worse.

I wish that someone had told the 30 Year Old Me that it was going to be ok.  That I was ok.  That it was alright to be scared and confused and insecure. I wish there had been someone that I could have been completely honest with that would have given me guidance.  Actually, I had plenty of those people around, potentially, but I was too concerned about them being disappointed in me to show them the reality of the confusion I was living in.  I was always fine, the kids were always great, the job was always perfect, the budget was always right in line.

 

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I wish that someone had occasionally  told the 30 Year Old Me that they were going to kick my ass.  That I was important enough to risk me being pissed off by standing up to me and not letting me be stupid.

I wish that someone had told the 30 Year Old Me how to get from Point A to Points B, C, and D.  That who I knew, what I knew, how I spoke, and where I was going would be shaped by whom I surrounded myself with.   To expand my circle.

What happened to change the 30 Year Old Me into the woman I am now?  It wasn’t accidental, and it wasn’t instantaneous.  It was a series of watershed moments in relatively quick succession.  Those moments are for other blogs at other times, but everyone is capable of making the changes to become the person you want to be.

What I want to tell my 30 year old daughter is that I’m trying to be the person in her life that I wish I’d had when I was the 30 Year Old Me.  I want her to know that even when I’m in her face, when I’m being confrontational, I still love her and appreciate her and admire her.  I want to let her know that she’s doing better at this point in her life than I was at her age.  I want to tell her that she can control what happens in her life, and not just play every hand that’s dealt to her.   I want to tell her that I know there’s a lot of scary confusion underneath that perfectly colored, perfectly curled, Princess head of hers.

I better hope she reads this, because Hallmark hasn’t made that card yet.

 

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You, Sir, are a Jerk April 11, 2014

Filed under: Just Life — Karma Farmer @ 1:45 PM

Have you ever been sitting on your porch, watching baby birds in the nest, all tweety and whatnot, and thinking “Awwwww”….and then a squirrel runs down the branch and wreaks havoc in the nest and one of the babies falls out of the tree?  You kind of stare for a minute, wondering if you really just saw that.  It’s heartbreaking.  It also seemed to be totaly unnecessary, as the squirrel had no real use for the baby birds.

On Saturday morning, I wasn’t on my porch watching baby birds.  I was in an airport in Houston.  I should have been home already, but my flight the day before had been canceled, and the next available flight was the next morning.  I was ready to get back to the Ozarks and my family.  I arrived at an airport full of bustling travelers ready to get going on their weekend getaways. Since I had checked in online and downloaded my mobile boarding pass onto my phone,  I headed straight for Security.  If the line wasn’t too long, I could probably grab some java at Dunkin Donuts before boarding.

airport security.

We moved like slow cattle through the maze to have our IDs and boarding passes verified.  As my license was handed back to me, I was directed to one of the screening lines.  In front of me was a man who seemed to be in his late 60′s, holding tightly to the hand of another man who appeared to be at least 90.  I watched long enough to decide in my head that they were Father and Son.  I don’t know if they really were or not.  The Father was hunched a bit, holding a four pronged cane in one hand while grasping the Son’s hand with the other.  He wore thick glasses, a hearing aid, and though the weather was mild, a heavy coat and scarf over his polyester pants and white athletic shoes.  The Son was manipulating 2 pieces of rolling luggage and a carry-on gym bag with his one free hand as he waited to get to the steel table and bins to begin their TSA check.  The Son spoke happily and somewhat loudly to the Father, explaining that they had plenty of time, and that it was going to be a good day for flying.    As they neared the tables, a TSA employee asked if they needed a wheelchair, to which the Father shook his head with a firm “No, no, no”.  The Son smiled and declined.

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I watched this tender scene, wondering if they both knew how lucky they were.  A man the Son’s age, who still had a Father in his life, and a Father who had a son that would take a journey with him.  I hoped they were heading to a happy event….a wedding or birthday or graduation or family reunion….and not to say final goodbyes to a loved one, or to a specialist for medical treatment.

The TSA officer was explaining to the Son that his Father could leave his shoes on, when, like the squirrel running down the branch towards the bird nest….

“Jeeeeeez-us CHRIST, can Grampa move ANY slower?!?”

A big sigh from behind me.  Mumbling.  Then, almost to himself, but not quietly, “Shit, we’re all gonna die of old age before Moses gets outta here.”

I abruptly turned around to face the voice.  We locked eyes, and he gave me a derisive snort.  A snort?!?  He looked down at his iPhone and started fiddling.  I didn’t move.  I didn’t look away.  I was instantly and inexplicably pissed off beyond reason. To make a long story short, by the time I’d gathered my ballet flats from the end of the conveyer belt, my inner voice of Reason had given up trying to talk me down and I was confronting the Verbal Assaulter.

“I don’t know in what universe you live in that deems it acceptable to bully and degrade an elderly man, but it’s not OK.  Are you so self absorbed that you think someone doing the SAME THING YOU’RE DOING, but not as quickly as you want it done, is an intolerable inconvenience to you?”

He blinked.  “I’m sorry.  I’m just in a bad mood this morning.”

Apparently his mood was not as bad as mine, because the apology didn’t soothe me at all.  “Well thanks for spreading that around.  And you don’t owe ME an apology, but you certainly owe one to that gentleman over there.”  I pointed to the Father and Son team, who were just finishing up the Father’s pat down.

To my surprise, the jerk walked over to them and began to speak.  Having gotten my rant off my chest, I walked off to Dunkin Donuts.  Neither the Father & Son duo nor the Jerk were on my flight.  I still don’t know if that was a relief or a disappointment.

I sat down at the gate with my coffee and one of those attractively advertised Egg White Veggie Flatbreads.  Just FYI, don’t fall for the hype on the flatbread.  Total disappointment.  I digress…

I’m not even sure which word describes this attitude most accurately.  Bullying?  Disrespectful?  Inconsiderate?  Rude? When did this type of behavior become so prevalent?  Why do so many people act as if they are the most important presence in the universe, and if something doesn’t suit them, it’s unacceptable?  What happened to understanding, consideration, grace, common decency?

The Verbal Assaulter is probably not  a bad guy, in the general sense.  He’s probably not even a jerk on a regular basis.  He just feels entitled, is devoid of empathy, and has a lack of maturity.  That’s all.  So maybe that does make him a jerk.  Jerks aren’t exactly an endangered species, but are they now “normal”?

No one else seemed to pay much attention to him.  Just observed.  Is it no one’s business?  IS he entitled to spout off about an elderly man delaying him?  Was I the one that was out of line?  Truth be told, my actions were out of my norm on Saturday morning.  As I was having my coffee, I was trying to figure out why I spouted off.  Any other time,  I may have glared, I may have even offered a return derisive snort (and I am a champion at derisive snorts, let me tell you), but I wouldn’t have confronted a 6’2″ grumpy man in an airport 600 miles away from home.  I’m supposed to be working on my karma, after all.  Being kind, being calm, turning the other cheek and such.

Maybe I’m failing in my efforts, but I’m tired of entitled people. I’m fed up with someone parking across 3 spaces because their car is so much more valuable than anyone else’s and they don’t want to risk a door ding.  I’ve lost patience with a delayed passenger yelling at a gate agent because it’s snowing in Detroit.  I’ve no more tolerance for mean people, and I’m not going to look the other way any longer.

Stay tuned.  I may need bail money.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Circle…..or, Why I Want to Slap the Shit Out of Ophelia March 30, 2014

Filed under: Just Life — Karma Farmer @ 1:55 PM
Tags: , , ,

I’m not sure that I can write cohesively and coherently while I’m swimming in a cesspool of negative emotions, but I’m going to try.  I think the bright white honesty of this topic might be lost if I wait until I calm down, and raw honesty is probably more important than the flow.  Or not.  We shall see.

I’m not going to identify the persons in this post, and it should be because I want to respect their privacy.  In truth, privacy is the last thing in the world I care about right now, but there’s some red flashing light in the back of my head spelling out “DISCRETION“, and I’ve learned to trust the red flashing light in the back of my head.

There is a woman near and dear to me whom I shall call Ophelia, because it means “helper” in Greek.  Ophelia has established a permanent sidekick whom I shall call Chaos.  Over the years, Chaos has actually taken on the form of various people and situations.  As one version of Chaos leaves  just long enough for me to think that maybe Ophelia is ready to move on without some sort of Chaos, *poof*, Chaos returns!  I hate that bastard.

For the last few years, there has been one consistent person filling the Chaos role in Ophelia’s life.  He is an abusive, addicted, dishonest, criminal, low class, bad person.  This is not my opinion, this is fact.  Even Ophelia acknowledges all of these attributes as valid.  I don’t know anyone who would disagree with this assessment of Chaos.  I hate this particular Chaos most of all.  Yeah, yeah, I’m not supposed to “hate”.  So sue me.

I didn’t get crazy the first time Ophelia tried to intervene and help Chaos change things around, find a new direction, make some better choices.  Chaos was her friend, and she wanted to help.  She’s a big helper (codependent) by nature, probably because she was raised by a codependent parent.  Anyway, the “help” didn’t quite take, but somehow Chaos became the romantic interest anyway.  That’s when I got confused.  Chaos brought nothing to the table except, well, chaos.  He’s not funny, handsome, smart, hardworking, rich, popular, or kind.  Seriously.  On a scale of 1 to 10, he’s a 2.  Ophelia is way out of his league.  Like, light years.

juststopglass

Just Stop

I should mention that Ophelia has another concern:  Theo.  Theo means “watcher” in Greek.  Theo and Ophelia are a team, and Theo watches all.  Sees all.  Theo is near and dear to my heart, too.

I could recount example after example, scenario after scenario, of the destructiveness of this relationship with Chaos, until your coffee was cold and my fingers were bleeding, .  I won’t, because the flashing red “DISCRETION” is still invading the back of my head.  Instead, I’ll give you The Cycle.

1.  Enter Chaos.  2.  Commence Crisis (property destruction, physical violence, vile verbal confrontations, theft, infidelity, threats, etc.)  3.  Theo watches.  4. Chaos departs, at least from public view.  5.  Ophelia’s circle surrounds her, and starts picking up pieces (both figuratively and literally).  6.  Ophelia begins hinting at how Chaos needs her help.

And………repeat.

That is Ophelia’s cycle.  My reactive cycle to Ophelia’s goes like this:

1.  Bite my tongue until it bleeds.  2.  Anger and fear overwhelm me.  Communication during the Crisis is typically fragmented and hysterical.  3.  Shield Theo as quickly and thoroughly as possible.  Sometimes it’s not possible.  4.  Relief and gratitude, with anger and fear still lingering in the background.  5.  Whatever it takes.  Talks, encouragement, friendship, advice.  6.  A quick spiral into a pathetically pointless conversation.

Ophelia loves Chaos.  I get that.  You love whom you love.  What I don’t get is letting love dictate poor decisions.  Chaos needs to be in rehab or jail, period.  Ophelia has the ability to put Chaos in jail, but won’t.  Rehab is a decision that Chaos has to make, but right now it’s just a word that Chaos throws around to manipulate Ophelia and give her delusions of a Happily Ever After something to cling to.

And Theo watches.  Theo hates Chaos when Ophelia does, and welcomes Chaos when Ophelia does.  Theo has already learned to display the opinions and feelings that will cause the least resistance:  one version to Ophelia and Chaos, another set to others.  I don’t know what Theo’s true feelings are, and I don’t think Theo knows either.  The knot in my stomach is indescribable when my brain thinks too much and I envision Theo repeating this cycle.

So here I am, in the middle of a storm, choosing to get soaked rather than open the umbrella known as Codependency.  I’ve been in this storm with Ophelia more times than I want to admit to.  Over the years, Ophelia’s choices with Chaos (and please note that I’ve progressed to putting the responsibility on Ophelia for her choices, rather than on Chaos for just being Chaos) have resulted in Ophelia and I not speaking for months on end; hours and hours of ugly, skin blotching, snot running hysterical crying; and sad endings to (or cancellations of) celebrations that happened to intersect with points 1., 2., or 6. in Ophelia’s cycle.  The thing about making memories is that sometimes you wish you hadn’t.

codependentumprella

Ophelia refuses to give up on Chaos.  I refuse to give up on Ophelia.  Every time the Crisis arrives, she thinks, “Chaos has really learned his lesson this time.” and I think, “Ophelia has finally hit the end of her rope this time.  Chaos will be gone for good this time.”    I find myself on the phone with her, totally exasperated, saying “Why do you do this to yourself?  You KNOW how it’s going to end up!”  Then someone points out that *I* am doing the same thing:  getting worked up over the situation when I know how it’s going to end up.  Oh, the irony.

So today I sit here crying, realizing that there are no magic words I can speak to change Ophelia’s mindset.  My heart is breaking, again, knowing that it’s not over.  I try to talk myself into acceptance.  I pray.  It’s probably not good that I get all attitude-y with God when I talk to Him about this, reminding Him that I don’t ask for much, and never for myself, so it would be really appreciated if He would just HANDLE this somehow, and exactly as I would like it handled, thankYouverymuch.

I suspect that Ophelia’s somewhere crying as well, realizing that there are no magic words she can speak to change Chaos’ behavior.

What I really want to do is cut Ophelia’s head open, and somehow insert the thoughts that I want her to have.  “I don’t wish Chaos anything but the best, but I need to remove him from my life.”  “I’m worth so much more than this.”  “I need to show Theo that mistreatment is never OK.”

We can build rockets that travel to outer space and regrow human organs from a pig’s ear, but no one has invented a vaccination or a pill or maybe some electroshock therapy that will make Ophelia do what I want her to do.  Dammit.

And that is why I want to slap the shit out of Ophelia.