Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Letter...

     So… this week has been a bit of a jumbled up mess for me. I don’t tend to be an overly emotional person, but there was an incident, a few actually, that made me want to go all redneck kinda postal on someone. Never a good thing.
“It’s all in the sauce.” – Fried Green Tomatoes
     I wanted to write a letter, a letter that I’ve written more than a few times before. Some were sent but most were only seen by my eyes. It’s a letter that I wish someone had written to me. Yes, I needed this very same letter once upon a time. It was a brief time in my life, but it is one that might have moved things along a bit better, a bit quicker had I received it. Here is the letter…

     My dear, dear friend; I’d like to thank you for you being you. You’re one of the most gracious ladies, a term I don’t use lightly, that I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. You light up a room when you walk in. Your smile, laughter and sense of humor are truly gifts which you selfishly give away time and time again. You’re one of the most intelligent and eloquent people I’ve met in sometime. You’re the type of person people, like myself, are drawn to like a magnet.
     Ladies, like yourself, should be treated with respect and honor, like family heirlooms or fine crystal. When I see and witness anything other than that, I become very upset. This week, I have seen you mistreated, on several occasions and it hurts me. It hurts me because it hurts you and those around you as well, myself being one of them.
     I understand the wish for everyone to just get along. I see the struggle of trying to maintain a calm and enjoyable environment, but there are times… at some point we all need to stop, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Examine the circumstance and dissect it and ask what the hell is going on.
     This is where I’m going to take the bull by the horns. As it was told to me by someone both of us love dearly “—that’s why you’re kitchen and I’m management.” This is so very true. So, I’m going to just put it bluntly… your partner is a bully.
     Bear with me for a bit longer, if you please…
     I’m going with what I’ve personally seen, observed, witnessed and then heard. This person has slowly and methodically alienated you from friends and family. This is always the first step that often leads to domestic abuse and many times results in violence. I’ve seen it numerous times before in both straight and gay relationships. I’ve also been on the receiving end of this, so I know how it feels. How does it feel? It feels like you’re constantly trying to juggle situations so that everyone is happy. It’s a hard balancing act, which never seems to stop. It’s exhausting. Always pacifying the aggressor, making excuses, trying to hide the obvious misbehavior and bad manners. The feeling of wanting to crawl under the table and hide at times. Yes, I’ve been there. I do know. It feels like a broken record that will never end.
     This type of person will bring you you’re coffee in bed, spontaneously bring you flowers and small gifts. Things that will keep you enamored, captivated and basically string you along. All the kinds of things you want in a partner. Things that make you think that they care, and in a way, in their own way, they probably do, but then they are also the abusive bully.
     I have now witnessed the snide remarks this person makes when you’re not around. How disrespectful they are to those who, like you, are just trying to get along and do the best that they can while being as supportive as they can. I’ve now seen the wedge they are using to further drive away those who love and care for you. It is happening, make no mistake about it. It is happening.
     Every one of us makes choices. Some good, some not so good and then some that are just plain bad. Heaven help me, because I’ve made a lot of bad ones and paid for it in the end. It’s like that old theory—“for every action there is a positive or negative reaction”. Yeah… I’ve had my butt kicked several times with this one. The point here is it is your choice. However, there are times when we need someone to tell us the truth, as much as we might not like it or agree with it.
     I may be putting it too simplistically, but you are fast approaching a crossroads where you are going to have to make a choice. Staying with this person means that people are going to continue to pull away, distance themselves from you. It doesn’t mean that they love or care for you any less, it is just simply that they are tired of being on the receiving end of this bully. As I mentioned, people can and do make choices. No one wants to put up with that type of crap and eventually… they won’t.
     If you have people, friends and family, who consistently tell you there is something wrong, at some point you need to pay attention. As hard as it may be, we all need a reality check. You may want this person to be the perfect one for you, the everlasting, undying love that we all want and crave, but… sometimes it just isn’t.
     Who can you trust? Personally, I can count on one hand and have fingers left over of those I feel I can truly trust. Listen to those who are closest to you and will always have your back. In your heart of hearts, you will know what the best decision will be for you.
     You know when people say it is a new chapter in your life when you make a major change? Yeah, I think of it as opening a whole new book. The world is your oyster. The possibilities are endless. Yada, yada, yada. The clich├ęs are endless. Well guess what? It’s true! There is a great big world out there. There are some wonderful people and great adventures to be had.
     I had a very good and close friend who is now gone. I miss her terribly. She married such a person and stayed with him for eighteen years. When she divorced him, she told people “I’ve just lost two-hundred and forty pounds!” They would look gobsmacked at her. “Really?” they would ask. “Yep, I finally kicked that bastard to the curb,” she’d say, smiling.
     Afterwards, she led a full life. She traveled. She reconnected with friends, who had stopped coming around. Spent more time with her children and grandchildren, whom she’d become somewhat distanced from. She had a grand time. I was able to spend some very good quality time with her in her later years. She was happy and content with her life. We should all be so lucky, right?
     So, my dear lady, I wish you all the best of luck and I want you to know, that I will always be your friend. I will always be there for you. I only wish you the best and brightest of futures.
     Your devoted friend,
     Max
     If you know of someone who might be in need of this letter, please feel free to forward, copy and paste or whatever you need to do. No one deserves to live in fear. 


Sunday, February 5, 2017

A Proud Curmudgeon!

     So… I’ve been in quite the quandary these past few weeks. Busy beyond all belief and then just… ugh… I feel like Madeline Kahn… I’m so tired….
     Yeah, I am… 
     Yep, I will admit it. I have no qualms about admitting it. I’ll carry a flag. I’ll show you an I.D., if I had one. I’m a proud recluse; a curmudgeon of the highest order. People will often scoff at my proclamation. They don’t believe me. Trust, me when I say, I’m really not kidding. Nope, I will readily hand you your ass if I feel that is what you need. Trust me. I ran a professional kitchen. I can make Gordon Ramsey look like an amateur when it comes to dressing down people. BTW, he really is a total ass. Can’t stand the man.

     I’m not quite sure who came up with this whole notion that I’m some sort of fuzzy teddy bear. First off, I’m not really fuzzy. I’d always wished I was, but alas, it was not meant to be. Oh, and I’m rather short. Too short for a real bear obviously. Did you know that I’m also Southern? Oh hell… do I have to explain that as well? Well I’m not gonna. Go read ‘Gone With the Wind’, if you feel the need to know.

     It’s not that I hate people. Alright, I don’t hate most people, that better? I just find them irritating. They tend to piss me off. This has been a growing within me for the better part of three decades. The more relaxed our society becomes, the more likely people are going to forget basic manners. Whatever the fuck happened to ‘please’ and ‘thank you’? That doesn’t even take into account simple common courtesy!
     Don’t even get me started on what people will say online, behind their blinking little screens, their anonymity protected, or so they think. I know I’ve said it before, but I’m gonna say it again, right here… right now. If you don’t have something nice to say, shut the fuck up. I don’t want to hear it and the chances are, no one else will either. You got something nasty to say, go tell it to your BFF or in a mirror. Chances are, you’ll get a much better response.
     If I want to bitch about something, I have a completely rational, highly intelligent conversation with myself. No sense in dragging someone else’s poor tired ass into it now is there? I don’t even need to look into a mirror to do that. I can sit and weed my little garden and just fuss up a storm all by myself and have a wonderful time doing it, thank you very much.
     Stay away…
     I’ve really stayed away from social media lately. I already have high blood pressure; I don’t need someone else trying to force a stroke on my ass. Just when I thought… hmmm… I’ll go check things out, BAM! I get hit in the face with something that just pisses me off to the highest point of pistivity! And it didn’t even have anything to do with politics.

     Okay, I get that people need to talk about things. Their feelings… their… whatever. Go get a therapist. Tell a clergy or someone who will listen, nod their head, give you a blessing, let you rant and then shut the hell up. There are just some things the rest of us really don’t need or want to know.
     Bragging will push me right over the edge. If you do something nice for someone, that’s wonderful. However, the best part of that is keeping it to yourself, knowing that you’ve done a really good thing. You don’t need to brag about it, patting yourself on the back for a job well done defeats the purpose if you ask me. You know you did it. Feel good about it and move along. Go do it again for someone else. There exceptions to this rule. Personally, if I’ve gotten help or involved someone else, I will talk about it. If it is just me, I will keep quiet about it.

     ‘White Banners’, a book by Lloyd C. Douglas. No, don’t go rent the movie. It has a similar theme, but Hollywood totally botched that one. Good enough movie, but totally missed the mark in delivering the message of the book. Go. Read it. Feel good about yourself. It’s a great read and one book that I think should be required reading. You won’t regret it. Most every library has it.
     I told you…
     See… now do you believe me? I’m a crusty old fart who really doesn’t give a flying rat’s ass about other people’s opinion of me. Okay… there are a few who I look to… um… scratch that. They’re already dead, so they don’t count. Do they? I may need a Bloody Mary and garden time to think about that one. Do their opinions matter if they’re dead?
     Putting it simply…
     How I live my life, or try to:
     1. Treat others as I want to be treated.
     2. Don’t lie.
     3. Don’t steal.
     4. Respect; me first then you.
     5. Mind my own business.
     6. Be kind and try to be helpful.
     7. Offer a helping hand, not a hand out.
     8. Don’t judge.
     9. Manners matter.
     10. Keep my mouth shut and nod.
     If I keep to these rules, I usually do okay. Whenever I have strayed… that’s when I always get in trouble. I always seem to be getting in trouble, but mostly because people don’t want to hear me jump their shit. If you don’t want to know, then you best not ask me, but I’ll pretty much tell you. ‘My it’s weather we’re having!’
     I’m somewhere between 55 and death, so I don’t have a whole lot to lose, now do I. “Ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lies.” Just be damn sure you want the truth. I’m a good listener, and I usually know when that is all that is required of me. I’ll listen to just about anything as long as we know the ground rules. It’s when you ask for my input or opinion that I’m gonna give it to you, no sugar coating. You’ll get the truth.
     Done…
     Now… stand up straight, square your shoulders and march. Go… do something productive. Make something. Be creative. Make someone else’s day. Mind your manners and things will turn out okay. Stay focused on what makes YOU a better person and don’t worry about those other folk. (For some unknown or rational reason ‘Onward Christian Soldier’ just popped into my head. I’m so ready for a cocktail now.)
     Have a grrreat week, y’all.
     Max
     p.s. Take most of this with a grain of salt, preferably from the rim of a cocktail glass. Most of it was tongue in check for those who just don’t get my sick sense of humour. But I really am a curmudgeon!
     Oh... and happy Super Bowl!