Sunday, November 15, 2009

Being Nice

It seems like everything in life has a positive and a negative aspect. Food, for example, we need it to live, it gives us pleasure, but if it’s not managed, too much or the wrong kinds of foods can make us fat, and ultimately sick. Shopping, it’s fun and makes you (or me) happy, but too much can ruin your finances, and destroy relationships. Even religion, it’s necessary to believe in something bigger than yourself, it gives you a reason to be, it makes you better than you are, but being fanatically religious can be very dangerous, and it turns into something that is really not what God intended. So, really, anything can be good or bad, depending on the extent to which we take it.

I have always thought of myself as a nice person. I try to help people, I think of others before me, making sure they are comfortable before I can be comfortable. I organize family events, I picked careers that focused on helping others, and I did what I was supposed to do most of the time. But, I realize that if you are too nice, it can hurt you.

How has it hurt me? Well, in my previous marriages, I did everything for them, to make sure things went smoothly, to make their life better, to make them love me, and all it got me was a lot of responsibility, and worry, but no real partnership or love. With my son, I did too much for him all his life and cheated him out of learning from his experiences, which probably would have helped him and made it easier for him to deal with his real life now. With my business, I thought if I was nice enough, and helped people enough, they would keep coming in to my business, and I would make a living. (Learning that "business is just business" cost me a lot when I closed mine a year ago.)

I can see all the ways being too nice has hurt me, but the fact is, that is just who I am. Instead of trying to be someone I am not, I have had to learn to stand up for myself, or just stand my ground. That is hard for me to do unless I have time to think about a situation before I react. Over the years, I have learned that just deciding on boundaries ahead of time, and holding myself to them works for me.

I have also learned that there is nothing wrong with being nice, as long as you stick to your boundaries. I get a lot of pleasure from doing nice things for someone, being nice to people who wait on me, or going out of my way for my family or friends. It makes me feel good about myself. But, I won’t let myself get taken advantage of any more, and one of my new boundaries is; “Don’t let other peoples problems become your own, let them deal with it themselves.”

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Taste of Celebrity

Who do you get told you look like? Anyone? I mean besides family members! I have a few, and they have changed over the years. But lately, it’s started again, and I think it’s because my hair is getting so light with all my gray and the white highlights I put in it to blend in. I was at the mall Sunday, waiting for a store to open, (I was too early, a bad habit) and 3 ladies told me that I looked just like Meg Ryan. I used to hear that a lot about 10 years ago, but either she changed or I changed, and I hadn’t heard it in a very long time.

When I was in high school, I had long dark hair parted down the middle, like how we all wore our hair in the 70’s, remember? The movie, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” came out, and was very popular. People started saying that I looked like Katherine Ross, who played Etta Place in the movie. I could see why they said that, she had long dark hair, green eyes, and a low forehead, like me. I took it as a compliment. When the movie went away, so did the comparison.

My mom worked for a makeup artist in the late 80’s or early 90’s making appointments for him and helping him do makeovers on local TV, and privately. I went with her one time to meet him in Seattle where he was working. Later, my mom told me that he thought I looked like Stockard Channing! She was the leader of the “Pink Ladies” in Grease, and in a lot of other stuff too. I didn’t like that comparison at the time. But when I looked at her picture after that, I could see why he said that, she had short curly dark hair, pointy chin, and big eyes, like me.

Then about the time the movie “French Kiss” came out in the early 90’s, I started getting told I look like Meg Ryan. I took it as a compliment, I thought she was cute! The main thing, I think, was that my hair looked just like hers, you know, blondish, spiky, and messy. But this time, it kept going on for years! I got preferential seating at restaurants, free desserts and drinks, and posed for a few pictures. It was kind of fun!!! There was one time that pissed me off, a UPS guy came into the office where I was working and said to me in front of my co-workers, “You look like a really big Meg Ryan!!” What the hell was that about? Did he have to say “really big”?? I wish I’d told him he looked like a big brown turd, but I didn’t. (Too many witnesses)

Meg Ryan went through a lot of changes in her life, and her looks even changed…reportedly from some cosmetic surgery which I know nothing about. So, I quit being told that I look like her, and lost all my “fame”! But it sure was fun while it lasted!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Dear Diary

I was looking for something in my garage the other day, and ended up spending 3 hours looking through boxes of old photos, yearbooks, letters, and mementos from my past. It was actually fun to just sit there and wallow in it. I found a journal I wrote in every single night during my senior year of high school. I don't think I have read it all, ..ever! I took it in the house with me, grabbed a cup of coffee, and sat down to read it.

Wow, I really was a teenager once, and a lot more naive than I want to remember. It was all full of, "I hope he likes me" "why doesn't he call" "I don't need him" "he finally called, I'm so happy" and all the silly stuff that was so important to my friends and I then; what we wore, who we were mad at, what our parents said, and so forth.

There was lots of fun stuff, but I found myself wanting to talk to the 18 year old Julie, and tell her a few things about her decisions, and her future. I thought of writing a letter to "her", and I even started it, but it was about all the stupid stuff she did and the trouble it caused me in the future. It was full of regrets and should-haves! I started feeling bad, so I stopped. What good was it going to do? It was just reinforcing my own negative self talk. I thought of something I read once that said we should spend 10% of our time thinking about the past, because we can't change it, and 10% of our time worrying about our future, because it hasn't happened yet! That leaves 80% of our time thinking about now, and the things we can do, people we can be with, events we can enjoy, and love that we can give! Who cares if I was a stupid teenager, and I made mistakes? We all did! What matters is who I turned out to be, and what I am doing now to make a difference in my and my family's life! I am not 18 year old Julie anymore, and I am glad!