Sunday, November 14, 2010

Limping In A Winter Wonderland

patella-fig1I dread this time of year. For many reasons. It is as if Father Time is hell bent on getting to, and then through the fourth quarter while the rest of us are merely innocent bystanders as we slide into the home plate known as New Year’s Day.

It seems like we all get so distracted by getting through the holidays, we completely lose sight of what is important. Even with months of warning, the fourth quarter “sneaks up on me” every year. How many years do I have to live before I will plan better? How many years will I find myself saying “I can’t believe it is almost Halloween”, “Thanksgiving”, and finally “Christmas”.

Nearly a decade ago, I vowed I would not enter Wal-Mart between Halloween and the New Year. I doubt I need to explain the rationale behind this vow but that won't stop me.  It all started one year I was almost assaulted at the Wal-Mart in Roeland Park Kansas during the season of “giving”. That woman was giving all right. She was giving me the what-for when I had the last of an item that she wanted. In addition, the carts are too big and the aisles are too small. To put it simply, there is not enough room for “both” of us there. At this point, people in my life have gotten used to stocking stuffers from the gas station by now.

To add to my bah-hum-bug attitude, I despise cold weather. This is a little more than my constant inner debate with myself about why I moved from the fabulous sunshine state. This is the dread I feel anticipating the first cold snap. The dread I feel from my left ankle all the way to my left hip.

When I was first diagnosed with RA in 2005 I laughed. Don’t get me wrong, I think the world of my orthopedic surgeon and my rheumatologist. I just thought they had the wrong girl, or the wrong chart. Over the years however, I have slowly conceded, much like Wal-Mart in Roeland Park.

I need to make something clear. My pain is nothing compared to some; but it can be everything to me. My first flare up has been the worst to date. I can recall begging Brad to take me to the hospital and have them do something. Anything. At my lowest point, I swore amputation was not out of the question. Looking back, I realize I was being dramatic. In my defense though, my knee was a big grapefruit. A big, black grapefruit.

The worst part about my version of RA is the waiting period; those eight blissful months between “potential” flareups. On the flip side though, their timing and characteristics are pretty predictable, so I can prepare myself.

While I wait in wonder this season, I will focus on stuffing stockings with goodies for the boys and not stuffing a brace with what is left of my left knee.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Twitter makes me love those I haven't met. Facebook makes me hate those I know in real life.

chickennarcissisticIf you are anything like me, you have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I fought it as long as I could and finally joined back in 2008. As Facebook evolved, I began to use it more and more for work while managing various business pages. What annoys me about Facebook is the constant self-promotion by those that obviously need affirmation that they are attractive, smart, or funny. I also get a little irked when married people communicate with each other on their respective "walls". Can you not walk down the hall or into the kitchen and tell your partner what you need to say? Is it really necessary to piss so much on your territory that I can smell it on my computer?

I read an article recently about the amount of narcissism on Facebook. The article says "Narcissistic tendencies in many people fuels a need to have a large group of 'friends' link to their pages and many of these people accept cyber-friends that they don’t even know" . I know you have a few of what I like to call “friend whores” on your list of “friends”. They will friend everyone they meet; no one is exempt from their reach. From grocery store lines to the shower at the gym, they will “friend” you.

Which brings up something else to consider. Do you think Facebook has devalued the term “friend”? Sure, I know all of the people on my Facebook page. Some I have known nearly all my life and some are new acquaintances. Some only keep up with my through Facebook and others I see on a regular basis and have a deeper understanding of the person I am today.

Another article I read notes for the average narcissist, Facebook "offers a gateway for hundreds of shallow relationships and emotionally detached communication."; More importantly for this study, social networking in general allows the user a great deal of control over how he or she is presented to and perceived by peers and other users.

Maybe this is why I do not like Facebook. Maybe it is because I am comfortable in my own skin and want others to feel the same way. It takes a lot of time and effort to create and maintain the perception people are presenting on Facebook.  I don't think I could maintain that facade very long without losing it on some level.  I would probably have to lock myself up in my house due to fear that I might run in to someone in real life that would call me out.  Frankly I prefer real people that admit they are not perfect because I certainly am not.  The only perfect person I know of died on a cross.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.

throwingstonesSome of my fellow “Christians” are disappointing me. Again. This time the subject is divorced women. Why is it, when I go to church the married women treat me as if I am not invited to the party? Have any of you divorced women experienced this? You know what I am talking about. Just because I am divorced does not mean I want your husband. I literally had a woman tell me they were not comfortable hanging out anymore because I am a threat to them now. Do their husbands tell divorced dads the same thing? Do their husbands say to their divorced friends, “dude, we can’t hang out anymore because I am afraid you are going to snatch my wife from me”. Adding to my frustration is when the person throwing the stones has been DIVORCED too!

Now, for some reason when a single dad enters church, or any other place for that matter, he is treated as if he is a saint. “Oh, poor guy. He is a single dad doing his best to raise his kids the best he can”. I guess they forgot I am a single mom doing my best to raise my boys.

Is it because I was the one that “filed” for the divorce (I suppose in this case they forget that marriage includes two people that contribute to the success or demise of the relationship)? Is it because they take Mathew too literally, when it says:

“It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce. But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

I suppose if they are taking the passage literally, they would agree that men too, would be committing adultery if they remarry. Maybe it is because they are just hypocritical busy bodies that would rather throw stones at me while they live in their glass houses?

I’m gonna go with the latter and let me tell you why. After a brief hiatus from church due to traveling and the death of my mother, I returned with my boys one Sunday morning in the Spring. Upon entering the children’s room, a woman approached me and whispered she had heard about what happened and wondered how I was doing. I thanked her for her concern and added losing my mother was hands down the most difficult thing I had ever been through. With eyes as big as silver dollars guess what she said. Wait for it.

“I’m so sorry, I had no idea your mom died”. I smiled at her and said "Oh, you must be talking about my divorce".

Other than seeing this woman at church, I did not socialize with this woman. I did not confide in her about my personal life. Apparently, I did not have to. The other busy bodies at church can spread my news for me. Well if you are going to talk about me, tell the whole story. While your airing my dirty laundry you might consider washing yours too.