Monday, July 28, 2014

Fighting like an Adult

Every once in a while, I forget how to fight like an adult.  My feelings get hurt and automatically, the gauntlet gets thrown.  Whoever I'm arguing with doesn't stand a chance.  They just have to stand there in their wrongness and be wrong, because I'm right and even if I'm wrong, I'm still right.  Insane?  You betcha.  Trust me, my lack of rationality bothers me more than it bothers you.  How?  Because I can't shut it off.

When I'm upset, I get verbal diarrhea.  I feel the deep burning desire to over explain the situation so no doubt can be left about my intentions, feelings or perspective.  I want to make sure I'm heard and understood.  It is often too late that I slow down and listen to the other person.  By then my assumptions have been made, opinion formed and stance declared.  Often, too late, I realize I was wrong or out of line.

I love to be right.  Who doesn't?  I'm a fairly intelligent person who annoyingly loves to assert her knowledge on others.  Unfortunately, life is a constant string of events where one is either right or wrong.  One cannot always be right, just as one cannot always be wrong.  However, one can be a stubborn pain the ass 100% of the time.  That would be me.

Only recently have I started to swallow my pride and say the treasured words, "I'm sorry. I was wrong."  Whether the other party accepts (or acknowledges) my apology or not is another topic but in apologizing, I have won the battle against my ego.  That, my friends, is huge.

While my style of fighting has evolved quite a bit in the past ten years or so, I still have a ways to go.  I no longer yell or slam doors.  I'm cutting back on the sarcasm (a true struggle) and I try really, really hard not to name call.  Sometimes I slip up and that's okay.  But I need to focus on being more sensitive to the situation at hand.  At the risk of sounding cliche, I don't need to show up to every fight I'm invited to, even if I am right.  I also need to provide every situation the fair chance to not be a fight to begin with by avoiding assumptions.

I should have learned this by now and unfortunately, a recent event has reminded me that I haven't.  I'm still growing up into the adult I want to be and that doesn't include hurting my friends and family.  One step at a time, I'll get there.  I promise.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Musical Memories :: "More Than a Feeling" by Boston

Almost every summer of my teen years, I vacationed in Southern California with my extended family.  My aunt and uncle graciously hosted me for roughly two months straight and treated me as one of their own.  Quite a gesture if you consider they had three young, rambunctious kids of their own.  Regardless, they took me in and I was one of the family.

Summer was an endless schedule of Little League baseball games and we spent a good chunk of our time traveling between baseball fields and pizza parlors.  As you can imagine, we got in a quite a bit of quality time crammed in the car, a minimum of four kids and two adults... and a radio.

We were particularly fond of "More Than a Feeling" by Boston.  Partially because it's a timeless classic rock song.  Partially because my aunt's name is Marianne.  Honestly, you don't really need a good reason to love this song.  It's okay - just let it happen.

Five of the six usual passengers really enjoyed singing along - very loudly.  My uncle would bang out the drum solos on the steering wheel.  My cousin would rock out on the air guitar.  However, one, who shall remain nameless, would shake their head at us in embarrassment, whining, "Guys!  Stoooop!", occasionally ducking down out of sight of the windows at a red light or as we pulled into a parking lot.  I mean, really, our voices weren't thaaat bad.  I don't think.  Well, maybe they were.  Who knows.

This song came on in the car during my commute today and I was immediately transported to a time over ten years ago.  As I belted it out, I missed my family band.  I even missed the whining from the backseat trying to get me to shut up.  Whenever this song comes on, I can immediately feel the summer heat, the anticipation of seeing friends or looking forward to an important game, and I have a sense of home.  Summertime really isn't complete without it.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

Book Review :: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

The second book in Greogry's Tudor series The Other Boleyn Girl did not disappoint. Following the antics of the infamous Anne Boleyn in Henry VIII's court through the eyes of her younger sister Mary, the reader is dropped into a world of ambition, scheming and, ultimately, disaster.  Mary, unlike her sister and brother George, is a Boleyn of conscience and desirous of a life away from court.  She fails to fulfill her family's plans numerous times and in the end, is the only one to come out unscathed.

This novel is a stretch from scholarly fact, but that's what makes it so addictive. Gregory takes the research of the renowned Tudor historian Retha Warnicke and twists the facts into a scandalous tale.  Again, Gregory's writing maintains a quick cadence and conversational tone, making this large novel an easy read. I'm looking forward to what she has in store for the rest of Henry's love affairs.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Chop Chop

Yesterday, I took the plunge.  Armed with my inspiration photo from Pinterest, I sat down in my hair dressers chair and said, "It's time for a change."  After considering the photo, she turned to me to ask, "How long have you thought about this?"

"A few weeks.  I'm ready for it."

"Okay, let's do it."

Halfway through, I was evaluating the look and stopped her.  "Let's go shorter."  

An hour later, the floor was covered with my lovely locks and I had the shortest haircut I've ever had.  Part of me was sad.  No more ponytails or messy buns for me.  But another part of me felt liberated and man, did my head feel lighter!  Even more important, I'm in love with the cut.  My stylist did a great job and I couldn't be happier!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Book Review :: The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory

Seeing my obsession with the Showtime series The Tudors, my friend bought me a collection of Philippa Gregory novels for Christmas a few years ago.  Forcing myself to put historical inaccuracies and embellishments aside, I finally picked up the first in Gregory's Tudor series The Constant Princess.

This novel focuses on the life of Catherine, the Princess of Spain, who would eventually become Katherine, Queen of England - Henry VIII's first wife.  I was immediately grateful to find that the novel treats Katherine so gently.  On The Tudors, she is overlooked.  Her storyline is under developed and she is portrayed as a religious devotee to a fault.  

Katherine's resolve and dedication is almost palpable.  While the story is based on heavy historical speculation, it is entertaining and engaging.  I found myself getting irritated or feeling heartbroken on her behalf.  

Perhaps most rewarding from reading this peace was how pleased I was with Gregory's writing.  She made historical fiction fun and quick - delivering essential details swiftly and full of color.  I immediately picked up The Other Boleyn Girl once I completed this book.  Can't wait to see how she carries the readers into Henry VIII's infamous relationship with Anne Boleyn.

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