Felt compelled to share this informative article as a mom and also a mental health therapist. As a therapist, it’s easy to see other people’s issues. As a mom, things become cloudy. I can understand how any parent can become confused or unsure what to do. Nothing is black and white with kids and teens. Everything becomes gray: Is it a phase? Is it hormones?
As a parent, you don’t want to over-react or under-react. It’s tough to know the answer. Sometimes reading something in black and white can be helpful, like this article below.
I have been feeling very uninspired lately. I have not felt like writing or speaking my truth because it seems like there is no point. Feeling disheartened, discouraged, disappointed, and unpatriotic is a terrible mindset to be stuck in.
Thankfully this changed on Thursday, August 11th, 2022, when I accompanied my sister to her friend’s book signing.
It was a privilege and honor meeting a true HERO, Major Tom Schueman. . And Added bonus, he is from the Southside of Chicago!
Major Tom Schueman, A Marist High School, Loyola and Georgetown graduate raised by a single “hippie, cop mom” has authored his first book with Zak, an Interpreter from Afghanistan.
This one- hour interview, had me choked up-then-laughing numerous times about Tom’s experience growing up and what he went through serving our country.
Laughing when Major Tom describes his Grandma having a crush on Tom Cruise and A Few Good Men was on all the time at his house growing up.
Major Tom describes the values his mother instilled in him, the childhood friends he made, and how both combined helped build the foundation of the amazing man he has become today.
Tom’s core values of resilience, adversity, integrity, persistence, and always being faithful led Major Tom, to not giving up in any aspect of his life.
These core values provided him with the stamina to persevere in his deployment in Afghanistan, watching his military brothers become wounded or even killed and in helping his friend Zak and his family escape from the Taliban to the United States.
Zak wanted to improve the quality of life in Afghanistan and chose to take a life-threatening job as an interpreter to the United States military.
Zak’s expertise and cultural knowledge saved lives of countless lives of US soldiers.
Zak is not a trained UNITED STATES soldier, yet he faced the same challenges as US troops and over time, he became one of them and served our country without even being a United States Citizen.
Tom so eloquently describes how some individuals can have American values and “BE American” even if they are not born here.
This story of adversity, loyalty, friendship and always being faithful provides readers with the empowering journey of how Major Tom assisted in getting Zak and his family to the United States after after two previously failed attempts.
If you have been feeling uninspired, discouraged, disheartened, disappointed and unpatriotic, read this book. 🇺🇸 ❤️ 💙 🤍
Have you ever been through something extremely painful or traumatic and thought “I can’t handle this” or “there is no way I am going to make it?”
Perhaps you are dragging yourself through the day, barely keeping your head afloat, and spend the entire day dreaming about the moment your head hits the pillow. Praying sleep will be an escape from the nightmare you are living through.
You somehow get past this pain a little bit each day. Before you know it, you notice that you got through one minute without thinking about it. Eventually, you went one hour or one day without crying. As you keep pushing through the pain, the days turn into weeks, the weeks turn into months, the months turn into years.
You may even find yourself able to mention this event or loss without getting choked up. Hopefully, you are mindful enough to recognize this feat and reflect on it. It could be “I said their name today without tearing up” or “Someone asked me about it and I was able to respond.” 🤯
Eventually, you realize that you somehow survived a traumatic event and just blew your own damn mind.
Peace shows up around the time you have embraced the person you are now. Acceptance of this means that you are now a changed person forever, you cannot change back.
Change, Loss, Pain, and trauma of any kind is difficult.
Obviously some individuals have been through more than others.
As human beings, we have to provide empathy and compassion not only to each other, but to ourselves. This pressure to “get back to normal” after a loss or a traumatic event-only prolongs the process.
We also have to remember that we are not here to judge or compare each other’s pain. Example: “who endured a worse situation.” Or “who deserves special treatment”. Trauma and Loss are not grounds for a competition.
However, there are a precious few who deserve an automatic level of honor, respect, empathy, compassion and an immediate win in the unspoken competition of “who is entitled to special treatment.”
These precious few are not celebrities or professional sports players.
This is a group of individuals who have had to go through MANY of those painful, traumatic events over and over and that most likely took a lifetime to process. Everyday, these “regular” people probably said “I can’t do this. I can’t handle this. How am I going to get through this?”
They did it anyway, for us.
These courageous men & women provided us with an example of the sheer resilience that human beings possess. These resilient members of our society have sacrificed years of their life for our freedom and to serve our country…
Yesterday, my patriotic side got fired up after I listened to my favorite podcast, Smartless, with guest Tom Hanks.
(This podcast is a comical escape hosted by Sean Hayes, Jason Bateman and Will Arnett. What I enjoy the most about this podcast, is the real, open-ended conversations and the quick-wit of the hosts/guests is captivating. Basically, they all rip on each other whenever they have the opportunity.)
Anyways, Tom Hanks was asked about his role in Saving Private Ryan and what was the source of his passion and fascination with being a “war guy”. Tom disclosed that during his “formative years every caregiver & adult would make reference to the war as this dividing line” that everyone collectively went through. “Another aspect is that a big chunk of their lives, they had no idea where they were going to be in the next week, month, six months. This was a time loaded with all sorts of problems that we are still dealing with.”
“I’m a schoolteacher. I teach English composition… in this little town called Adley, Pennsylvania. The last eleven years, I’ve been at Thomas Alva Edison High School. I was a coach of the baseball team in the springtime. Back home, I tell people what I do for a living and they think well, now that figures. But over here, it’s a big, a big mystery. So, I guess I’ve changed some. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve changed so much my wife is even going to recognize me, whenever it is that I get back to her. And how I’ll ever be able to tell her about days like today. Ah, Ryan. I don’t know anything about Ryan. I don’t care. The man means nothing to me. It’s just a name. But if… You know if going to Rumelle and finding him so that he can go home. If that earns me the right to get back to my wife, then that’s my mission.
Captain Miller, Tom Hanks: Saving Private Ryan
Will Arnett then points out to Tom Hanks that “What I love about this movie and is that your character is a school teacher, he is just a regular guy NOT a guy born to be a military officer. He had to go to the war, because that is what he had to do. This movie provides reverence for the bravery of these people who did extraordinary things. Captain Miller wasan example of one of these regular guys called to do extraordinary things.”
I wrote this In honor of Veteran’s Day, 11/11/21, and “a regular guy that did extraordinary things.” He is the only person that I am privileged to know personally that served in a war. Except he served in a different war and a different time. A time when people were not proud of their veterans. When he arrived home after serving our country, he was treated cathartically. He was humiliated and shamed; he was told to take his uniform off.
Thankfully, on October 27, 2021, he received vindication and a moment of the honor he deserves, through a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring WWII, Korean War & Vietnam War veterans by flying them, all expense-paid, to DC for a day of honor, thanks and dedication.
On this momental Veteran’s day, 11/11/21 and in honor of all the “regular guys called to do extraordinary things” please donate to this brilliant organization to do our part in honoring those who served our country.
Picture it: It’s a chilly, dreary Tuesday morning, probably November 2nd, you are in the car, flipping through radio stations. The cusp of the holidays are approaching. You are not feeling anything in particular, perhaps even a little numb or dead inside. Probably chasing a hangover of some kind; from sugar, booze or your drug of choice. You are going through the motions of whatever tasks you have on your pointless agenda.
Suddenly, you hit a pause of silence on the radio; you hear those glorious drums…the chills involuntarily run up your spine, arm or the back of your neck. A gasp or slight smirk emerges on your previously despondent face. …Next thing ya know, you are belting out “FEED THE WOORRLLLDDD!” And “the only gift they will get this year is LIFE”….
You freeze with a furrowed brow, with that expression of “what-in-the-hell-did-I just say?” THAT.
The realization that the lyrics of this “jam” are so heartbreaking and sad. That naive, duh moment, “Omg. I’m an asshole. Uh, first world probs…I was just depressed about going to work on a boring Tuesday, feeling blah or overwhelmed about the holidays approaching…jeez get some real problems.”
It’s fascinating and tricky how musicians and songwriters can make a song upbeat & fast so you do not even realize what the song is truly about. A complete mindfuck.
Which brings me to why I am kind of freaking out right now.
The same situation just happened to me with “Under Pressure” by David Bowie & Queen.
I am mind-blown right now struggling to comprehend how I’ve been singing the lyrics to “Under Pressure” for twenty-something years and never realized what I was saying. How the hell does this happen?
🎶”Watching our friends scream LET ME OUT!”🎶 😱
David & Freddie, you deceased & tricky muthafers!
“It’s kind of a funny story” is a novel turned movie featuring “Under Pressure”. I will not spoil this for you with my usual humorous Memes-poking fun at this movie because it’s a hidden gem. It’s one of those movies that you will have to watch yourself. If I tell you anything more about it, besides the trailer below, you MAY NOT have the same experience I did.
Ironically, this movie is some thing that peaked my interest but I had no desire to watch it. I don’t want to watch a movie about depression when I’m feeling “blah”. It turned out to be-exactly what I needed.
The seasonal change followed by all the routine adjustments, the growing pains of my kids and myself along with them; feels a little more overwhelming than it has in the past.
This movie reminded me what it was like to be a teenager and how they feel. Adults can feel the same way, yet express it in different ways. Teenagers and even kids these days are more in tune with “life” way more than we ever were. They are exposed to so much more through social media.
It was a reminder why I went into the mental health field in the first place.It was a subtle hint that even though you don’t “feel” like doing something or believe that you have any “talents”, JUST DO IT ANYWAYS
Uncomfortable emotions are where the magic happens.
I’m sure David Bowie & Queen were feeling the same way when they wrote & composed the song “Under pressure”. This masterpiece of a song is what happens when individuals with shared values are real and authentic together and collaborate ideas.
“Queen’s Brian May says it was the group’s bassist John Deacon who first came up with the song’s unforgettable riff, and kept playing it over and over. The problem, Taylor said, is that everyone got hungry and went for pizza, and by the time they got back to the song Deacon had forgotten what he’d come up with.”
The channeling of uncomfortable, but not necessarily negative, emotions such as sadness, anger, frustration, stress, pain, grief, despondency, and rage is an art in itself.
This process is a way of coping, using your gift, being authentic, being real, and living. You may possess something that transforms these emotions into some thing-spectacular, creative, and possibly beautiful.
However, even if what you enjoy doing doesn’t turn a profit or if no one likes it, this process is what flows for YOU and YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL.
Doing YOU is doing something YOU enjoy. THE point is: instead of numbing these feelings out, or ignoring them, you stay with them, feel them and eventually “do” some thing therapeutic with these emotions. Perhaps just putting your foot in front of the other and walking in the “allowing yourself” to just “be”.
What ideas come to mind?
How do you know what your gift is?
Paying attention to the things you enjoy doing and time flies by, you get lost in it. It could be something you dream about like playing the guitar, playing the drums, playing an instrument, acting, improving, charading, game-playing, doing stand-up, writing, drawing, painting, sculpting, singing,gardening, planting, weeding, cultivating, innovating, editing, photographing, cutting the grass, doing hair, coloring, fixing a car, fixing a machine, using watercolors, composing, wood-shopping, poem-writing, pole-vaulting, inspiring, speaking, glassblowing, baking, frosting, cooking, exploring, running, crafting, reading, climbing, hiking, exploring, directing, cleaning, organizing, running, walking, riding, exercising, decorating, wrapping presents, folding clothes, etc. are all ways of processing emotions.
All of these are an examples of occupational therapy.
Which you may or may not be aware of, that is what they were doing on the psychiatric floor in the movie during arts & crafts and musical expression. I can’t wait for you to see these parts of the movie!
What I love about counseling, being a counselor and the mental health field is the process of self-discovery and personal development; which is displayed in this movie. I am drawn to the process that the protagonist, “Cool Craig” experiences during his psychiatric admission. Once he stops resisting and attempting to control the situation, he lets go and trusts the process.
Just like this blog that may or may not have more than six readers 😜, it is something I do to process emotions and it gets my mind off the “terror of knowing what this world is about.”🎵
A daily routine: The day in and day out of it can be redundant & exhausting. What is the point of it all?
The weekly grind of working, parenting and adulting overall is boring, tedious and unfulfilling most of the time. Throw in 18+ months of uncertainty, due to a lingering global pandemic; paired with this underlying pressure to “get back to normal” does not help.
Now, more than ever, we need to take care of our physical, emotional and mental health. How are we supposed to do this? It is extremely difficult when you feel confused, unsure, tired, worn out and depleted.
In a attempt to find some type of motivation myself, my brain has been searching for a frame of reference, a role model, to cope with this strange time. Which led me to thinking about George Bailey.
George is technically not a real person, however George is relatable to all of us and represents many of our real-life, elderly population. This wise, hardworking generation lived through true-times of uncertainty; such as the Great Depression and a World War. I suppose they just “kept showing up” through the confusion and cognitive dissonance.
George was already feeling stuck, trapped and living in a period of uncertainty before the real shit hit the fan.
“I’m shakin’ the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I’m gonna see the world! Italy, Greece, the Parthenon, the Colosseum. Then, I’m comin’ back here to go to college and see what they know. And then I’m gonna build things. I’m gonna build airfields, I’m gonna build skyscrapers a hundred stories high, I’m gonna build bridges a mile long…”
George wanted to do something BIG.
BIG is what we all “want”, isn’t it?
A bigger house, a bigger yard, a bigger car, a bigger bank account, bigger boobs, a bigger ….
Anyways, BIG does not always refer to SIZE.😜
BIG things can also come in small packages.
There is nothing wrong with dreaming BIG.
There can be an issue with dreaming big if you base your self-worth and life’s purpose on an external picture of “what-it’s supposed-to-be-like” instead of “what is.” As with anything, there are steps to greatness.
George wants to do something IMPORTANT.
George wants to BUILD.
However, George is so fixated on the “doing something BIG” he missed the BIG picture that he already was. George was oblivious that these little, menial things he was completing consistently on a daily basis that were adding up to BIG results.
George could not see he was already BUILDING:
George was BUILDING homes that provided other human beings with a sense of dignity and integrity.
George was BUILDING relationships and friendships through candor, loyalty, honor, honesty & consistency.
George was BUILDING a community with these relationships who held the same core values.
George was BUILDING the foundation.
Without a solid foundation, a community, a family or an individual falls apart. 👇🏻
This solid foundation of community & the connection of core values is what ultimately saved George’s life & mindset. By his perseverance and showing up, he inadvertently saved the entire town from plummeting into the gutter.
It is tiring staying true to your values with leaders and other members of society do selfish, stupid, manipulative and downright evil deeds. How are we all supposed to maintain a sense of hope?
This may lead you to feeling like you should do something drastic & BIG, such as quitting your job, switching careers, moving, cutting off family or friends, and even leaving the country.
Fantasizing about a massive change to stop the awful, bewildering sensation of cognitive dissonance is normal; it’s an escape for the brain. A good grounding exercise for when you catch yourself fantasizing about living in the country alone with no internet, wishing for a bigger house, a better car or a BIG vacation to “fix” how you feel=look back at your childhood.
What is the first vacation memory that pops in your mind?
This is what I honestly thought of. 👇🏻
We didn’t have any vacations but what I do remember is the night we went out together for the first & last time as a family to dinner….
The McRib Story
We were all showered and dressed in our Sunday best for our first dinner out. We eagerly piled into the family van, wide-eyed with excitement for the evening ahead. Our mouths were watering, recalling that glorious sandwich with its golden, brown-sugary appeal. Our vivid memories of that commercial were so powerful, we could almost taste it. We craved this tasty delicacy with an empty, insatiable hunger.
All of us were smiling greedily at those Golden Arches, we were finally here! My stomach fluttered with butterflies as we pulled into the McDonald’s drive-thru so we could all finally try the infamous McRib sandwich….Drool was rolling down our chins as my Dad ordered six sandwiches from the overly-perky, fake smiling attendant !
The drive-thru attendant’s expression changes to that patronizing-exaggerated pucker and states, “The McRib was only here for a limited time, so we no longer carry that sandwich. It may be back. Sorry.😕 May I get you something else?” My Dad shakes his head no, speechless. Our mouths hang open, frozen, in disbelief. The devastating disappointment was written on our faces as we drove back home.
This sad story of the BIG Sandwich that resulted in BIG disappointment is ironically what makes all of us laugh now. It didn’t turn out as planned, just as most things in life. Now this story provides us with BIG joy.
Through my family’s solid foundation of a good sense of humor and laughter-in-the-face-of-adversity is how we found joy. How we DEALT with the disappointment is the shit-sandwich I remember as an adult.
The point is, in the vast configuration of things, Potter is a scurvy, financially-rich spider 🕷 living an empty life and we have no control over anything. We also have no control over what our kids will remember as adults.
In the BIG picture, we are only able to provide ourselves with a SENSE of control. An example of this sense of control is a planning ahead, a consistent daily routine, shifting our mindset, staying connected to those who maintain the same values and practicing coping strategies. Meanwhile, still accepting that something may still go wrong as a part of life; such as the joy-robbing, limited-time, McRib Sandwich.
“The McRib is a barbecue-flavored pork sandwich periodically sold. It was first introduced to the McDonald's menu in 1981. After poor sales, it was removed from the menu in 1985. Seasonal items are an important marketing tool for the food industry. Limited releases almost give consumers a Pavlovian response.”By Danielle Wiener-Bronner, CNN Business
Bottom line: Keep showing up through it, we all feel the same way. Find ways to cope with the foreign feelings.
If you love It’s a Wonderful Life …
There is a restaurant and bar in Berwyn Illinois called Fitzgerald’s. This super, cool place is located along a quaint and adorable block. Not even joking. A cross block before it is Clarence street. 😇.I am so grateful I was able to get the free tickets and show up to their viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life! They had specialty drinks such as mulled wine, flaming rum punch (of course) and a fun drank ZuZu’s petals!
I went with friends. We all agreed they had fantastic food, best waffle fries we ever had. This is definitely going to be a regular place to go for us all year round. Loved it!
During my time as an ER crisis worker, I was written up at least once a year for accumulated tardies.
I have also been put on levels for mistakes I made.
I am one of two individuals in the history of my department that was on a “level”. (Level three is termination.) How unfair right!?
Back story: When I first started, I got so mad about a PTO policy that changed; I impulsively went straight to the CEO. 🙈😬 Soon after, I began to receive levels for “minor” mistakes.
Upon receiving this level, I went into full-on JED mode (justify, explain, defend) a.k.a JJM (JOLIET JAKE MODE) to my boss.
I was FURIOUS at her audacity because I had stayed late the night before!
HOW DARE SHE!?
How dare THEY!!!”
I then exclaimed, “It was 7:01! Can’t you let this slide?” (What about the other six late clock-ins? 🤔)
I pissed and moaned about it to my coworkers.
One day, a nurse in another department candidly told me “I’ve been on a level before. You know what? It’s just to help you learn. It’s not like a jail sentence.”
When I stopped blaming, I was able to see clearly what I did wrong and how I need to change. I DESERVED the LEVEL.
This level was about a choice I made.
This level was about a mistake I made.
My justification that it’s “no big deal” or my valid reasons for committing this violation does not matter.
It is a rule, policy, procedure etc. and I broke it. PERIOD.
I needed to THINK.
OWN IT. Learn from it. Accept. Admit. I.was.wrong.
I needed to feel the pain and shame of the consequences in order to change.
I preferred to “get in trouble” individually than have my whole team suffer for my mistake, my ignorance, and my stupidity.
Just as I HATED it when I was a kid and we lost recess because of the one asshole who wouldn’t stop talking. I never wanted to be that kid.
I didn’t want to be that coworker.
This “dumb” rule and it’s “unfair” consequences is to prevent much bigger mistakes from occurring in the future.
I attended a mandatory re-training, with clear concise examples and the consequences if not followed-ahead of time. Also annual trainings to keep this fresh in our mind.
Oh and remember how I went straight to the CEO when I wanted to have a tantrum about what I didn’t like? I learned to follow the chain of command. It is there for a reason. I get it…now. If I didn’t make those mistakes, perhaps I wouldn’t have.
Do I deserve to lose my pension because I made some bad choices?
Should my entire department lose their pension because of my mistake?
Speaking of losing pensions, here is another authoritative tale where I believed I was right…This is in regards to the countless tickets I have received for speeding, failure to come to a complete stop at a red light prior to turning right, and blowing red lights.
After my violation, I would respectfully hand over my insurance card and license to the police officer with a sweet, innocent smile. Sometimes, in a vain attempt to get out of the ticket, I may have flirted a little.
This manipulative behavior on my part would be dismissed with a “nice try” nod or a wink as if to acknowledge the effort. Then the police officer did their job by handing me the ticket.
Later, while attending court to fight this outlandish claim: I smiled, apologized and respectfully presented my case.
After all, I had VALID reasons why!!!
However, deep down I knew the truth.
I wasn’t truly sorry….I was sorry because I got caught. Perhaps this ONE time I may have been right; but what about was 27 other times I made the same mistake and didn’t get caught.
I was only sorry for my behavior because it hit me where it hurt. 💰 💴 ⏰ I could not afford the consequences.
Therefore, I was not GENUINELY sorry, but feeling sorry for myself.
After my presentation at court, you know what the police officer or judge would reply 97% of the time? Something like:
“You weren’t even close.”😂😎
I didn’t get out of it.
I didn’t have a tantrum. I didn’t persuade anyone in powerful positions that “I know” to get me out of it.
I was stuck with the consequences as I should be.
I paid the $200 fine. I went to traffic school. I drove more cautiously to avoid future infractions. I learned to stop the behavior.
Should I have gotten a lower fine because I’m a woman?
Should I have gotten a lower fine because women earn less than men?
Would a man have gotten out of this?
Was I just pulled over because I am a female?
Was I written up because I am a female?
I don’t know all the answers but I’m leaning toward a hard NO. My point is, we are all humans and make mistakes. I can at least own my part. Shouldn’t we all?
Some make worse mistakes than others and those individuals need to receive their appropriate consequences.
We still ALL EQUALLY need consequences to continue to learn and function in society. Yes, of course there are racist and sexist people in this world; but there are many more who are not.
What happened to accountability?
I knew the rules and I still chose to break them.
I am aware if I commit a serious crime, I go to jail. No getting out of it. I respect my freedom so I obey the law. (See below for Chris Rock- obey the law skit)
I DO NOT deserve special treatment because I am a woman.
The biggest fights I had with my mother were about her relentlessly forcing me to watch old movies. . It was so “unfair”! I wanted to watch “normal” stuff like everyone else. I would fight her to the end. . I was SO stubborn! I STILL am! Right now, I am gritting my teeth like these defiant toddlers & teens below.👇🏻🤬.🙈
I haven’t watched THE BISHOPS WIFE since I was an eye-rolling teenager- too busy scowling to see the magic. Even if I did, I wouldn’t admit it.
To keep from slipping into that Charlie Brown-what-is-Christmas-all-about-depression this year; I needed something bigger than Buddy or the Red Ryder BB gun.
So I made a point to watch The Bishop’s Wife over Christmas weekend, remembering how much my mom loved it.
Watching this movie now at 46, in 2020, was like fuel for the soul.
How did I miss the sweet snowball fight scene? (Or my favorite kid of all time- the young George Bailey—Bobby Anderson). Probably because my mom was trying to tell me to look.
I didn’t appreciate the ice skating scene; probably because my mom gushed about it; which in turn made me think it was “dumb”.👇🏻
In pouting and covering my ears, I also missed the story about the shepherd and the empty stocking.🥰🥲😢🤩 . I see it now. I feel it now.🙈👇🏻
White Christmas- I dreaded this one too- “I hate musicals!” is all I would defiantly scream.
My Mom: “You don’t hate musicals. You love Grease, West Side Story, Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music & Mary Poppins.”
Me: (grrrrrr🤬) “Those aren’t musicals, shut up and don’t talk to me!”
Over the last few years, I finally swallowed my pride and let myself enjoy White Christmas. Fine!
Ok! The songs are kinda catchy. 😜
Who am I kidding? I love all of them. 🙈 I get the true meaning of the story now.
That General Waverly chokes me up every time😢…
I now appreciate the insane dedication, practicing and hard work that went into this movie: the real dancing, the real singing, (not computer generated ) the lighting, and the dresses! Perhaps it’s because we live in lounge wear & jammies now but I never truly noticed THESE outfits!
I am grateful that my mom is still here for me to tell her THANK YOU for being so annoyingly persistent. It only took 30 years+a quarantine for me to come around.
Read this true story about Irving Berlin. It will break your heart even more about this song, the story and the👇🏻 movie.
This year, I recognized the greatest gift I have ever received. The gift of this knowledge presented itself on Christmas Eve and was about as welcome as Ebenezer’s three spirits.
A old friend casually joked with me “at least you got to believe in Santa Claus.”
I never thought of “believing in Santa” as a gift or that having the “chance” or “opportunity” to believe in Santa Claus was a privilege.
It makes me sad that my friend did not have this opportunity.
I realize now how much effort is put forth into having your child “believe”. Perhaps some parents don’t have the energy, imagination or faith to keep this alive; or maybe some parents do not know how.
The innocence, imagination and simplicity of a child’s mind made the magic of Christmas easy to pull off.
Their excitement over little things made me excited; which in turn made me WANT to make it fun and magical.
The last two years have been opposite for me with two teenagers. I honestly had no clue what to do for them because they are genetically predisposed to be selfish, ungrateful assholes.
The vibe & statements I received from them was, “Christmas isn’t as fun anymore mom, it’s no big deal. It’s okay.”
The message I would give back, “It’s okay kids. I have nothing left to give anyway you life-sucking punks. I am empty.”
Which in turn caused me to NOT WANT to do anything for them this year. I didn’t care.
However, this is the year they needed me to care the most.
Then I remembered what my mom would do. Despite what we said, she would do it anyway. My mom still did everything the same even when we were teenagers and early twenties. She still put presents out from Santa on Christmas morning and put stuffed animals in our stockings despite the eye rolls. It was as if she could still see our inner child; kinda like this commercial.👇🏻https://youtu.be/QJntbYytPz8
She had the ability to be where we were at… yet she still knew what we still wanted; even though we were too stubborn to admit it.
I did what my mom did and I did it anyway. I stayed present with where my kids are.
I had no expectations of them or their reactions. Instead of being mad about their lack of excitement, I rolled with it.
I made my kids wait until after church to open gifts.
I stalled a little longer to finish wrapping gifts for others. Even though “it’s not fun like it was, mom” they may have accidentally displayed some anticipation and a glimmer of childlike-Christmas-morning-glow.
By expecting them to be as they are instead of what I hoped them to be; I was pleasantly surprised by their pleased reactions and gratitude.
It was a beautiful Christmas and my kids were grateful, sweet and thoughtful.
My mother gave me this gift to me…
My mother “showed” me how to “do” Christmas.
Mom, I should just wrap you up and put you under the tree every year because you are truly a gift. 😢☺️
And you were right about everything.🤬😂 (Inner Teen: Thrashing defiantly inside.)
Well, almost everything….
I refuse to stay up til 4am wrapping – that shit is done way ahead of time while kids at school or out with friends. I also learned from this SNL skit to ask for exactly what I want, buy it for myself if I do not get it and to stuff my own stocking!. 😂
I may not KNOW a lot of things but one thing I do believe for sure is that BOB (Esai Morales) from La Bamba is one BADASS mother fucker. He has to be THEE coolest and most captivating actor on the planet.
He should have won an OSCAR for best supporting actor for his performance; (Esai Morales) truly MADE the movie.
He literally SEDUCES the audience.
That being said, what I find most ironic is that no matter what he did or said, I still liked his character. I thought he was hilarious, I still do. What is even more puzzling, is that he is a complete dick.
As a woman, I completely identify with Rosie. As a mother and wife, I empathize with how she feels; I hate how she is treated by Bob. What was also puzzling is that she ANNOYED me. 🙈
I can actually feel her pain, grief, & confusion. You can see it written on her face. The “wait…wtf-just-happened?” face. The “how-in-the-hell-did-I-end-up-here” face. She displays this facial expression the majority of the movie. We all know that face.
We all know that feeling: When you realize you’ve been had. You got screwed over. The worst part about it, the majority of it was your own doing. You assumed. ASS-U-ME.
I get how she assumed as well. Any woman in a could easily fall into Bob’s trap; especially the married ones. Bob’s seductive allure could have wise woman entranced in his spell: After Bob flirts with you: Huh? What kids? What husband? You don’t have a job you say? Ballsy. Hot…You drink every day? Wild & crazy. You live in your mom’s trailer? Sounds cozy. Humina Humina 😍🥰😛
I am embarrassed to admit this, but I remember thinking: Awwww just leave him alone Rosie.. it’s your own fault you got yo self knocked up…
I STILL liked him after that horrible, disrespectful and honest statement by Bob. Like “Dayyyuuumm.” Why?
Currently, I am an adult and an educated & wise woman, yet I still like Bob. Wtf!? How come? 1. Clearly excellent acting by Esai Morales 2. Amazing directing
However, I am not satisfied with this. Inquiring minds want to know!!!
I was concerned with my reaction when I watching this movie recently. When the mother, Connie Valenzuela, minimized Bob’s cartoonist abilities and reminded him that he is about to become a father, I thought: Jeez Connie, buzzkill, what did you have to go and do that for!? Why don’t you get out of Richie’s ass and pay attention to poor Bob.He is trying. POOR BOB
Poor Bob: your womanizing, chauvinistic, selfish, entitled, immature, unemployed, alcoholic, manipulative, man-baby-son who just was released from prison.🤔 (Bob sounds like a real catch on paper doesn’t he?🤥😂)
From a biological & genetic standpoint, Bob does what Bob does best. Bob is a an alpha male who is genetically predisposed to flock his sexy shit to attract females. Bob does whatever possible to get laid; ultimately procreating more human beings to populate the earth. (Biology 101: It is vital for males to compete for reproduction and for females to choose between those competing males.
If a member of the opposite sex finds your tail, your song, or your dance moves sexy, you will have a chance to fulfill your primary biological role as a member of your species: to reproduce.
This is “Bob’s” “primary biological role” aka his job and he rocks it. He got Rosie pregnant so now he needs to “move on” and to do this again.
It’s not his fault…yet. (Please don’t get angry, hear me out;)
From a biological/genetic standpoint, Bob is doing his job. He behaves how all maleanimals act. Bob is genetically predisposed to be what humans would consider “an asshole”.
The problem is, he also doesn’t know any better. No one has taught him otherwise. No one has had the chance to teach Bob to step above his biological urges.
Please don’t cause him to feel inadequate by making him have to THINK.
Don’t make him feel like a failure by asking him to have COMPASSION or EMPATHY? That is NO FUN.
What would cause a human being to behave this way? Or to treat women this way?
Bob’s True Story & my psychological interpretation😜:
Just like Rosie, Connie also hooked up with a bad boy at a young age and got herself impregnated (with Bob.) The hot, sexy biological father took off.
Connie then met someone else (Steve) and Connor married Steve when Bob was two years old. Steve loved Bob and treated him as his own. Steve and Connie then had a child, Ritchie. Ritchie was a reflection to Connie what she did right=Ritchie=golden boy. However, Bob was a reminder of her bad decisions.
Connie, Steve, Bob & Ritchie were doing well together for a while. Bob assumed Steve was his biological father and Bob loved him.
In an interview, the real Bob Morales states his life took a bad turn when he was 14 and his parents (Connie & Steve) separated.
“I moved in with my mom while Ritchie went with my dad. One day I told my mom that I wanted to live with my dad and and that’s when my aunt told me ‘Why do you want to go with him if he’s not even your real father.’Bob Morales
Despite Steve conveying to Bob that he loved him as his own son, the shock devastated Bob. Also, it was horrible timing for Bob to find this out because soon after this discovery, Bob began high school.
Bob was getting into fights frequently so he stopped attending. Instead he gave money to the homeless nearby who would buy him alcohol.
While his now single-mom was working two jobs, Bob was not going to school and had no structure all day, no guidance, no direction=idle time which is the DEVIL’s playground.
Therefore, Bob ended up going to a detention center from age 12-17! Connie, his mother, signed him over as a ward of the state. He did not see his family that entire time he was locked up.
The first time Bob saw his mother or Ritchie in years; was the day of Steve’s funeral. Which also means he didn’t get to say goodbye to Steve or to grieve properly.
Bob learned to adapt to his lonely life by becoming the life of the party. He learned how to get what he needed by finding comfort in women and selfishly move on. This probably soothed his resentment toward his mother for while, but then he felt guilty; so he drank the pain away.
Of course he was jealous of Ritchie. Ritchie got his Dad and his Mom. He got nobody.
The point is that all of US are capable of evil depending on what we are exposed to.
I thought of this blog when I was about to bitch at my son for not cleaning up the mess he made after making quesadillas. I realized that I can’t assume he knows how. Instead, I showed him how clean it up. I told him that this is what I expect. I didn’t talk to him like he was stupid. I thanked him for making his own food. I didn’t clean it up for him. This is the only way they learn.
Mothers: We cannot assume that our sons are just going to know how to treat women when they’re older. We cannot assume that their Dad’s are going to teach them either. Most Dads are working their ass off and are never home. (Probably chasing tail 😂 not knowing why. Kidding!🤪)
We have to teach OUR SONS what WE want from them so they can learn how to GIVE this to their future partners. We need to teach them about affection, connection, friendship, compatibility, respect, and the long term.
We have to teach them that this may be a biological urge to continue to chase women and populate the world, HOWEVER, we are not animals.
It costs a lot of time, money, energy to raise a human child properly into a respectable adult.
We need to teach them that human females can be hot and smart. Women can be attractive, fun, brilliant, and confident. We have to teach them, not ASSUME, that a Human FEMALE’S purpose is not to populate the world.
We also have to teach our daughters: What they tolerate will become their future. Being a victim will not get you anywhere.
It’s OUR job to ALSO teach the FUTURE MEN of this world these skills. We need to teach them how to love unconditionally. Parents need to be a TEAM.
As a mental health clinician, I have the right to diagnose myself. Lately I believe I have been suffering from MULTIPLE OZARK PERSONALITY DISORDER. (MOPD)
MOPD is located in the DSM-V: Diagnosis code: 69692020. ICD-10 Code: 2337.
Since quarantine, I have noticed that I am taking on more and more characteristics of these Ozark personalities. (You WILL definitely relate to this, whether you watch Ozark or not. Truly… no spoilers here, anything discussed is all pretty obvious.)
What I find ironic and hilarious is that my husband will no longer watch this show with me because he found the show “ridiculous” and “unrelatable.” He stopped after season one…typical. Season one of any show is comparable to a psych 101 class; basically playing just-the-tip with character development.Sheesh.
Anyways, the irony is, that the more outlandish and ridiculous this show becomes, the moreI find it relatable.
Let’s be real, everything is ridiculous in the world right now. I mean who would ever think we would not be allowed to attend live sport events and there would be cardboard fans? Who would ever think that kids would not be attending school in person? Who would ever think that in the midst of massive change and uncertainty there would be a presdential election? I digress
These real-life events make some good old-fashioned, illegal activity seem refreshing. What’s the big deal about a dad who wants to make some extra bank on the side for his family?
Since we were encouraged to do nothing but sit at home, scroll on the phone and binge watch tv; we extinguished our coping skills. Now, everything is different at one time. All this change is just too painful for my brain to tolerate; my psyche has now split in order to protect my sanity…
Split Personality #1:The first episode of the third season of Ozark, Ben is introduced. He is a substitute teacher who seems pretty cool; but then he is exposed to the reality of tweens and smart-phones when a student begins to cry in class about a text with a photo received. The lack of eye contact, respect or response from the rest of the students infuriates the him. He then proceeds to take all the kids’ cell phones and throw them in a garbage. (I think this is a completely appropriate reaction.) He goes too far and throws them all into wood chipper. I find myself relating to this entire scene up until the last 17 seconds.
Split Personality #2: Ruth Langmore, who can make you blush with her raw cussin and brutal lack of filter. Ruth’s demeanor, even while having sex, gives off that don’t-fuck-with-me vibe that can make you cringe. She has also channeled her white-trashness into some useful business woman tips. What is cool as hell about her is she owns her mistakes; no excuses. Fuck is now a noun, verb, adjective, pronoun, adverb and a language in itself because of Ruth. Anyone else speak fluent fuck nugget?
Straight up…my Spirit Animal.
Personality #3 The matriarch of the show, Wendy Byrde, who manages being a mom and wife with political policies. Wendy Byrde is completely transparent with her kids, does whatever the hell she wants in her marriage and uses her political knowledge to commit illegal crimes legally.
First episode of season one: Wendy is an ordinary, stay-at-home mom who gave up her political career/power to raise her kids. Her life was uneventful and easy, and she was unhappy and bored. She thrives in chaos. She had a rough childhood. 👈🏻(This article is brilliant about her acting out when she doesn’t belong.) She comes alive while juggling negotiations with a mexican drug cartel and her power soars when she comes up with strategies to legalize her husband’s money laundering operation. Wendy spins these webs from the safety of her minivan.
Just like any mom does, “Wendy’s got this.” Mom’s know what to do. Wendy can handle almost anything and plow through the day, unaffected. However, what is so relatable: it’s the little shit that throws her over the edge. Everything is cool until her damn emotions slow her down.
She can blow off a call from a drug lord👇🏻.
She can answer her kids tough questions without missing a beat.
Wendy’s-mentality: Don’t sugarcoat anything. Throw us a bone and let us know where we stand. Mama Byrde: OK, here’s a bone…straight up your ass.
TO HUSBAND: “Quite Frankly, I Don’t Give A Damn If You Like It Or Not, Cause I Feel Pretty Good About It. It’s A Good Idea, And I Did It For Our Family. What Did You Do Today… For Our Family?” Wendy Byrde (boom)
Marty replies flatly: “I bought a strip club.” (He is pretty bad ass but I haven’t gone numb yet;)
Everyone has a weakness and Wendy’s is: she cannot handle her brother and his “irrational” behavior. Why can’t her brother just understand that they are laundering money for a mexican drug cartel and everything is going according to plan? Why won’t he leave things alone and stop trying to make everything moral and just? Why doesn’t her brother “get it” that it is normal to be disintegrated in an acid barrel when you stand up to the cartel’s lawyer or you work with the FBI? Why won’t he stop behaving like a toddler and involving the police? Jeez…
Wendy. loses. her. shit. with her brother. The flooding of emotions causes her to get hammered in a parking lot in her minivan for days. When she does eventually come home, she wants to hide under the covers. She doesn’t want to get out of bed. She doesnt care about any of the stuff she was relentlessly working toward. She lost her tenacity and drive. She fell apart.
Which brings me to my “Wendy Moment”. No I did not get hammered in my minivan. What are you nuts? I do not drive a minivan😜.
Backstory: The last seven months during this global pandemic, I’ve taken pride in that I’m a Gen Xer. I have been thriving in this chaos. Watch movies with my kids every night, psshh, my dream come true. I have loved not having to go anywhere. I accomplished so many projects and got in the best shape of my life. I was kicking ass at work and rolling with the changes. My relationship with my kids and husband has never been better. Even when I struggled with e-learning and juggled my kids being home while I was working; I persevered.
Then the little shit happened that threw me over the edge. School started for 2 days, then was canceled for two more weeks (something died inside me that day😜). I broke my own phone and had wait 6 days for a new one (I am still re-doing every password in my life). My daughter received her scoliosis brace and she was NOT happy. This clusterfuck of events has triggered me to split. These are all NORMAL, regular, solvable problems, yet I cannot deal. Like Wendy, I can deal with the crisis and big stuff. The little, unpredictable, emotional shit…not so much ..
Monday: I was picking up some girls for a volleyball camp carpool and my friend was talking briefly about her day to me as a elementary teacher; now teaching her students online. It sounded unbearable, extremely stressful and overwhelming. A flashback of me teaching my daughter in May, triggered a depersonalization episode. It was as if I was hovering above both of us, looking at our life thinking “this cannot be real.” Similar to the Wendy-Goldilocks moment when she realized she did not belong in that life anymore.
The no longer knowing is terrifying.
The not knowing how to do our job, not knowing how to be a parent, not knowing how to behave in public (That awkward-should we hug, I want to hug but, are you hugging?…)
Everything we once “knew for sure” we no longer know.…(split) In comes Ruth Langmore: “This is crazy. I don’t know shit about FUCK!”
Tuesday 9/28/2020 – I Drive kids to school, attempted to listen to the news on my way home. The discussion about the presidential debate …Flood of emotions …I walk past my office, get in bed and hide under the covers…(split) Ben Davis “I will not fall into line with the others. What you walked into is normal… this is all normal….No, nope, no it’s not ￼…smh…” (split) In comes Ruth again…
“What are you going to do, kill me? you bitch wolf?“
“Ok. Ok you can go to skate park after you take out the garbage. You better wear helmet, knee pads, elbow/wrist guards…and here’s some bubble wrap (dumb ass).”
In the end, the little shit is all that matters and that must be why it’s so hard. -Quillan Kelly-Dunn