Thursday, July 29, 2010

Who I am...

I'm many things - sometimes I'm quiet and shy, frequently reclusive and agoraphobic, sometimes bitchy and mean, often sarcastic and witty, occasionally charming and coy, always flirtatious and fun-loving.

I'm mouthy, sassy and opinionated. I'm also loving, affectionate, romantic and sentimental. I like animals more than kids (my own and a few others excepted) and would rather cook a meal at home than eat out at a restaurant (usually). I open my home to just about anybody, but lock my car at the grocery store. I pick up pennies in a parking lot, but rarely recycle pop cans. I believe in luck, fate and superstitions, but have a deep faith in God.

I still keep in touch with people I knew from kindergarten. Three of my best friends have known me for more than twenty years, yet I make new friends every day and I'm as fiercely protective and loyal to them as I am the ones who've been here all this time. I'm friends with convenience store clerks and celebrities, both. I consider the confidences shared by either to be just as important as the other and would never betray a trust.

I, however, sometimes trust too easily and it's come back to bite me in the ass more than once. I just can't fathom giving less than all of who I am. I, albeit naively, expect the same in return from others. Deceitfulness is the most serious of sins in my eyes and if someone has lied to me, it's rare that they are given a second chance with me.

I love the outdoors - but only when it's not too hot. Or too cold. Or too windy or rainy. I love thunderstorms and blizzards, but don't want to be caught in my car during either one. I love flowers and home-grown tomatoes, but don't enjoy gardening. I will walk through a ditch fending off ticks & snakes to get the perfect picture of a fence post, but can't stand mosquitoes or ants at a picnic.

I rearrange my furniture all the time but have only bought new towels once. I burn candles constantly but never use air freshener. I love painting and redecorating but can't stand the thought of paying someone else to do either. My ceiling fans are on year-round, even if means turning up my thermostat a little bit. I love hardwood floors and Berber carpet but don't own either.

I used to live my life based on what was on TV any given moment. Now, the TV stays primarily off and music fills my world. I have Kid Rock and Tschaikovsky on the same playlist. I also have a playlist of songs from Disney Movies.

My wardrobe has seen better days, but I hate shopping for clothes. My closet is filled with things I hardly ever wear and the top of my dresser is always covered with clothes I wear constantly. I love shoes and would sell my soul for a comfortable pair of high heels, but truth be told I prefer to be barefoot. My favorite piece of clothing is an orange sweatshirt that I bought years ago. It's six sizes too big and the lettering is coming off. My husband hates it. Maybe he shouldn't have proposed to me while I was wearing it.

I'm traditional and old-fashioned and I think the feminist movement was the biggest mistake in the 20th century. But I'm not afraid to change the oil in my car, fix a leaky pipe or build a bookshelf without a man's help, especially if he offers because he doesn't think I can do it myself. I can open  my own doors, but I love it when a man does it for me.

I'm a information gatherer. I have more random trivia stored in my brain (and sometimes the notebooks in my office) than anyone could possibly imagine, yet I don't share even a fraction of it with anyone else. I'm nosy and curious, but never to the detriment of others. I'm the go-to girl my friends turn to when they can't remember a name or a place. If I don't already know the answer, I'll spend hours researching it fully and give them more information than they ever bargained for. Unfortunately my hunger for knowledge also makes me incredibly argumentative, especially if I know the facts and I'm passionate about the subject.

I can belch the alphabet but I can also tell you exactly which piece of silverware to use during each course of a multi-course meal. I can drink a beer from a bong or sip champagne from a piece of Waterford stemware. I'm equally comfortable doing either. 

I enjoy sitting outside at a baseball game or tailgating outside a football stadium, but my heart belongs at the Gahden. I bleed green. Always have. Always will. People are often surprised at my passion, loyalty and knowledge of Celtic basketball. They also often make the mistake of calling me a fair-weather fan and assume that my love for Boston coincides with my love for a certain boy band. Make no mistakes. I've been a Boston fan before there even was a boy band from their city.

I'm sharp-tongued and quick-witted. My words are biting and I've often offended others by things I've said. Rarely has that been intentional, but I apologize nonetheless when I've done someone wrong. I don't like the taste of crow, but I will eat it when I'm wrong. I take responsibility for the things I say and do.

Growing up, the fear of being laughed at or judged by those around me controlled my every waking moment. Over time I've learned that the ability to laugh at myself is key to a happy life. I still get embarrassed sometimes, but I've embraced the fact that I will do stupid shit and I will get laughed at for it. I might as well beat them to the punch.

While I love attention, I'm not an attention whore. I have no room for drama or childish crap in my life. If you act like a 12 yr old, take your ball and go home. I have better things to do than patronize your pity parties, jealousy, gossip, hissy fits and tantrums. My own kids don't pull that crap. I'm not about to let somebody else do it. And YES, this includes my own family members.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Kronos aka

I will be the first to admit that I apparently didn't read the fine print. And by fine print, I mean the print that wasn't on the frickin' order form AT ALL.

I was on our local news channel's website and there was a link to a site that said "Why shampoos don't work." Being curious, I clicked on it and was directed to a web page that went into great detail (with diagrams, illustrations and lots of technical terminology) about why standard shampoos don't work. The next page of the article suggested a hair care line by Kronos that does work because of X, Y and Z (insert more diagrams, illustrations and techie terms). There was a link on this page to try this line of product for free. All you had to pay was the $4.95 for shipping and handling.

Sweet! I can be pretty hard on my hair, at times, so I clicked on the link and took them up on their offer.

About a week later I got a box with shampoo, conditioner, a leave-in conditioner and an overnight repairing masque. I was surprised to find four bottles in the box as I thought I was only getting the shampoo and conditioner. I looked at my order form. I apparently didn't order just shampoo and conditioner. I ordered something called the Kronos Hair Transformation Kit with a member price of $98.50.


*blink blink blink*

I read more closely:

"Start your free 30 day trial of the [blah blah blah]. If for any reason during the 30-day trial period you are dissatisfied with [blah blah blah] return the products (even if the bottles are empty). You'll NEVER be billed and you will receive NO future shipments. The shampoo and conditioner are yours to keep. If you [like our crap], you'll be billed the discounted price of $98.50 [yada yada yada] and enrolled in Beauty Lounge.

As a Beauty Lounge member, you'll receive a fresh supply every 60 days at the same 55% discount, plus S&H [which I'm learning stands for shit and hassle, not shipping and handling like you might think], and additional discounts on [the other shit we sell]. You can cancel at any time. Limit 1 [covering their ass lingo]."

Then it goes into specific details about how to go about returning your product and getting something called a Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) number within the thirty days. It's gotta be put on the return label on the package.

At the very top of my order form, it says exactly when my thirty-day trial ends and that I will be billed $98.50 on that day. I wasn't too worried at this point. I was surprised by this membership thing, of course, because I hadn't remembered anything about that part, but I figured, "What the hell?" I'd give their products a shot and see if I liked it.

I don't.

So before my thirty days was up, I went to the website and followed the steps verbatim on how to go about returning the products. I was asked, of course, why I was canceling and I clicked the box next to "I didn't have enough time to use all the product" or some such shit. And they offered me a two week extension on my trial. Truth be told, I had only used the shampoo and conditioner and I figured if they're gonna offer me another two weeks, I might as well give the deep conditioners a try. Honestly, I should've kicked my own ass then, but I digress. Anyway, I extended my trial and vowed to try the other stuff.

Again...not impressed. The spray-on conditioner wouldn't even come out of the bottle. Frustrated, I went in about a week later and tried to get the trial canceled. Every time I clicked on a link to cancel, I would be directed back to the log-in page.

I still didn't panic. I figured it was just a website glitch and I gave it another couple days. I tried it again. Same issue. Couple more days went by and the site is still having problems. So I clicked on the customer service link. There's a phone number, super!

I called the number and it rang twice before going to an automated message that said "We're experiencing technical difficulties, please try your call again later." It wasn't a typical telephone company message, I could tell it was the company's message. At this point, I'm starting to get a little concerned. There's $100 that's just days away from being charged on my card.

Next day, I try the website again. Same deal.
I call the number, again. Same message.
Repeat. (No pun intended.)

At this point, I'm past my trial period end date and I realize I'm going to be charged $100 for shit I didn't want in the first place.


So I decided to do a quick Google search: "Kronos complaints." Google blew up. Page after page of complaint boards popped up in my search, all of them spouting the same general messages: "Kronos isn't 'free,'" the words "scam" and "unethical business practices" jumping off the page. Realizing that I'd been had, I immediately called my CC company. Fortunately, Kronos tried to charge my card when there wasn't enough on it to approve the sale. At that point, they'd attempted it twice and it was declined. I explained the situation to my credit card company, reiterating that I'm unable to cancel this membership and this $100 transaction is going to be repeated every two months. The customer service rep immediately suggested canceling my card and reissuing a new one. I hated having to do it, but that's what I ended up doing to prevent this company from getting another dime from me. And if I thought it would do any good, I'd return their shitty products with explicit instructions on what Mike Shay, the CEO, can do with his RMA number. (I don't think it's coincidence that the initials also stand for Ram it up Mike's Ass. Jus' sayin'.)

I was fortunate, I caught it in time (sometimes poverty isn't all bad) and wasn't charged $98.50. But the problem is, for every one of me, there are hundreds not like me who were charged and are continuing to be charged. Just in Los Angeles county alone, there are 42 complaints (as of 7/17/10), yet the Better Business Bureau gives them an "high rating." Are you KIDDING me?!  How screwed up does something have to be in order to receive a BAD rating?

Needless to say, I'm on my way to file a complaint with the BBB about unethical business practices anyway, as well as write a letter to the California Attorney General's office and the advertising director for the news website I found the ad on. I think it's ridiculous that Mike Shay has been able to run a business like this for thirteen years and not get shut down.

Apparently there are two sites for the same product: and Kronos even has their own Twitter. Mike Shay runs several companies under the company name "Intelligent Beauty, LLC." (You can read more about this company's specific violations here.) I'd personally be wary of any company like this one, but obviously I'm once-bitten, twice-shy at this point in time.

As for you, I hope that whenever you order something online, you double-check the fine print and second guess yourself. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

Caveat emptor, bitches.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Who the hell do I think I am?

My poor friend Kimmi has to be fed up with my texts and emails "You're never gonna believe what happened today..." She always believes what I tell her, of course, because that's what Kimmi does: she believes it's perfectly natural for me to have a conversation with a celebrity or a brush with a best-selling author. That's one of the many reasons I love her, of course.

But seriously, I'm just me and these situations, while incredibly awesome, are just not something I ever pictured happening to me. I'm just a housewife in Iowa with a big mouth and a snarky personality. I don't live in a big city. I don't attend events that would put me in contact with most of the people that I talk to on a regular basis, so I'm still back here in my little land of denial wondering how the hell I got to this point.

Then I have my besties to remind me that times, they are a-changing. Hmm. Still having a hard time wrapping my head around that concept.

But the question remains, "just who the hell do I think I am?"

Good question.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Welcome and a Warning

Hello new readers!

I'm glad you're here, but as I do with my Twitter feed, I do feel the need to warn you about me.

This blog is 100% me. I'm raw, unadulterated and blatantly honest. I will probably offend you at some point. I will make some uneducated, ignorant comment or I'll use profane language or I'll share too much personal information. You can bank on this. I vent about my family and friends...and my neighbors...and my pets...and my friends' neighbors' pets. Ex-husbands (mine and otherwise). Kids. Retail stores. Websites. Celebrities. Stupid assholes who cut me off in traffic. I put myself out there and I make no apologies for who I am.

I never intend to hurt anyone's feelings, but I do know that I can sometimes do that. I have a cutting wit and sarcastic edge to me that some people just don't get. Schick ain't got nothing on my biting words some days. So if I do offend, please do one of two things: 1. Stop reading my stuff or 2. Talk to me about it.

I'm not for everybody, but if you give me a chance, I'll do my best to make you laugh - either at yourself for taking life too seriously or at me for not taking it seriously enough.

Best wishes!

Who's got the vodka?

So I made a giant step out of my comfort zone a little bit ago: I opened myself up to new subscribers/readers.

You may not see this as a big deal "She writes blogs all the time, she's writing a book, what's the big damn deal?" Right?

Well, fact of the matter is, I'm HIGHLY uncomfortable in the spotlight. I get sweaty palms, clammy skin, heart palpitations and waves of nausea when attention is focused on me. When a small group of friends listen to what I have to say, I'm fine. I can even speak in front of large groups of people, so long as I'm in control and I'm aware of who's there and what they're hearing. But when strangers start wanting to listen, I get a little freaked out. I like my privacy. I mean reaaaaaaaallllly like my privacy.

Unfortunately, I've got a big mouth which doesn't exactly coincide with my desire to fly under the radar most days. It draws me a lot of attention. Some days I do okay with that, but other days, not so much.

But if I'm going down the path that I have carved out for myself, I better get used to my shit being out there for the world to see, right? So....that being said, who's got the vodka?


I've been wrestling with some issues lately that have prevented me from following my own advice of "spreading the love." It finally dawned on me that I need to let go of some things. I tend to hang onto anger and frustration far longer than I should, therefore empowering people I don't like when, after it all boils down, those people don't deserve the attention they've been given. So in a grand gesture of moving on, I'm writing out a list of wrongs that I'm forgiving people for. Some of these may be to more than one person. I think some who read it will immediately identify themselves, but if you don't, then you don't have anything to worry about because it probably means I wasn't talking to you anyway.

1. I forgive you for not reaching out to me and making efforts to have a relationship with me. I forgive you for showing your love for me through gifts rather than time spent together. I forgive you for choosing to ignore my grief during a time when I had no one else to look up to or turn to. I forgive you for still treating me like an outcast in my own family.

2. I forgive you for being manipulative and twisting my words and actions to suit your own selfish needs. I forgive you for telling my children inappropriate things about me and my personal life that has nothing to do with them. I forgive you for continually putting fun at the top of your priorities thereby teaching your children that you don't have to take responsibility when there's fun to be had.

3. I forgive you for second-guessing me as a parent from the time my children were born. I forgive you for meddling in my marriage to the point of its demise. I forgive you for continuing to prove you're not trustworthy. I forgive you for enabling my children in their desire to never have to learn responsibility.

4. I forgive you for convincing her she wasn't good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, talented enough. I forgive you for raising doubts in your children's heads about who loves them and who doesn't. I forgive you for your harassment and your constant presence in my life despite your physical absence.

5. I forgive you for not telling me her cancer was terminal. I forgive you for not stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility for her care, instead pushing that responsibility onto a twelve-year-old child. I forgive you for not accepting me, flaws and all, but instead judging me and choosing to condemn me for choices I've made in my life.

6. I forgive you for not saying goodbye when you left, but rather slinking away silently like a thief in the night. I forgive you for choosing not to be a part of my life. I forgive you for what you did to our family. I forgive you for not taking more initiative to have a relationship with me and my children.

7. I forgive you for abusing her the entire time you were married to her. I forgive you for trying to drive a wedge between us so that she had no outlet but you. I forgive you for the bruises - both emotionally and physically - that you left on her. I forgive you for leaving her homeless and penniless to fend for herself.

8. I forgive you for stabbing me in the back when you didn't get what you wanted from me. I forgive you for the sneaky phone calls and letters you made, which ultimately cost me precious time with my kids I can never get back. I forgive you for continuing to act like you've done nothing wrong.

9. I forgive you for talking trash about me behind my back in order to make yourself feel & look better. I forgive your jealousy and insecurity. I forgive your scrutiny and judgment. I even forgive the hateful lies you spread about those close to me.

10. I forgive you for taking sides and choosing to keep him in your life despite having called yourself my best friend. I forgive you for the things you did and said under the guise of "for your own good." I forgive you for not understanding why I don't want to still be "friends" with you. I forgive you for your assumptions that I live by the mantra "Forgive and forget."

Which brings me to the last of my thoughts tonight. "Forgive and forget."

While I'm giving forgiveness and relieving some people from the wrongs they've done to me and those close to me, I don't forget. By forgetting, I would be opening myself up to the ability to allow you to do it again and I'm not that foolish.

That being said...just as I'm moving on, I wish that you would, too. Stop doing what you're doing. Look at the people you're hurting, ask yourself what the point is...what you hope to gain from it. Move on and if you can't, then get help so you can. Seriously.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Doin' it scared!

Shortly after Christmas, I got a card from my new friend (but long-time idol) Sherri Shepherd. She signed the card with the words, "Melanie, Write that book, girl! Sherri"

Now, at the time I got the card, the book Sherri was talking about was a yet-to-be-written book of corny one-liners I'd spewed forth on Twitter. She knew nothing of the fan fiction monstrosity I'd been working on for weeks, nor would she ever know about it, if I had my say.*

But I took Sherri's words to heart and even if I wasn't working on the story she had in mind, I was using my creativity and, to me, that was the most important thing at the time: not letting my creative juices stop flowing. I cranked out my "book" in a matter of a few months, taking time along the way to read other people's books: Janet Evanovich (yes, all fifteen books in her Stephanie Plum series), Jen Lancaster's My Fair Lazy, the entire Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer (yes, again. Don't judge me.) and even Sherri's book, Permission Slips. Evanovich made me laugh hysterically (waking my husband up many nights in a row), Lancaster helped me figure out how I wanted to get my own memoirs put together, Meyers distracted me with buff cougarbait and sparkly vampires and Sherri gave me permission for, among other things, reading other people's books instead of concentrating fully on my own writing.

Okay, actually, Sherri gave me more than that. She gave me permission to "do it scared."

And that's what I'm doing.

When I first completed my book, I made the decision not to share it publicly or go through the agonizing job of rewriting it to exclude certain characters & scenarios for the sake of publishing. My book was a "practice pancake." Its sole purpose was to soak up all the junk in the proverbial pan, ultimately preparing me for the "better pancakes" later on. I'd get my groove as a writer, figure out what worked & what didn't, play with humor and drama and learn to balance the two. And like any practice pancake, it would be tossed away when I was ready to cook the real thing.

I've changed my mind.

After having shared my book with a few people, some in the literary world, some just enthusiastic readers, I've decided that I do want to rewrite it and take the steps necessary to submit it for publishing. Of course, what you don't know is that I don't know what the hell those steps are. That's right - and I don't have the first clue what I'm doing. Guess I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. 

I'm not Jen Lancaster, Janet Evanovich, Stephenie Meyer or even Sherri Shepherd, but that's ok. I'm the best damn me I can be. And I think that's enough to sell some books.

I'm scared shitless that I'm going to fail, but I can't afford to let fear get the best of me. I've had a story to tell (and by "a story," I mean hundreds) since I was in 2nd grade and used to get smiley face stamps on all my creative writing assignments. I've been told for years that I'm a good writer and I believe that. It's not easy for me to admit my good points (I've spent far too many years exploiting my bad ones), but I really think I can do this.

And I'm doin' it scared. So, thanks Sherri for reminding me I don't have to know what I'm doing in order to do it well.

*Apparently I didn't have the final say, because Sherri's got a copy of the monstrosity, too. Damn, she's persuasive!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Spread the love!

I'm looking at some of my recent blogs, both here and another site I write on and I'm noticing a trend that I am pretty disgusted with. Despite my intention to step away from the negative, I'm getting sucked right into it. I hate that. I've said before how hard it was for me to overcome that pessimistic nature in myself and here I am being sucked back into it.

So it stops here.

I've made some positive steps this week to clearing my conscience and doing the right thing. Others have been directly affected by that (and I thank you for that). For others of you, that clear conscience I have now may just be something you notice over time. Regardless, that's where we're headed.

I learned yesterday of the passing of yet another Blockhead at far-too-young an age. I didn't know Jamie Sutton, but as an extended part of this New Kid family, we're all affected and we all feel her loss, if for no other way than to realize that she's our age and that our certainty here on this planet isn't guaranteed.

I spent all last night and today making an effort to tell those I'm close to how much I love them and why. I'm healthy right now. I don't have cancer or heart disease, I'm not hiding some terminal diagnosis from anyone. It's just time that I stop waiting for things. People need to know how much I care about them and how much they're appreciated. When I started my love fest, it wasn't to see how many people loved me back. In fact, I was somewhat surprised when their love was returned so vocally. I did it simply because nobody needs to go through life wondering if they matter...wondering if they made an impact on someone. I was pleasantly surprised by receiving the same gift I was giving. Thank you for that.

I turned 36 last week. Yes, I said it, thirty-six. I've essentially wasted my life waiting for tomorrow. I've pushed off doing some amazing things while I wait for the planets to align or some such shit. NO MORE! It starts now.

I don't hold back my snark and sarcasm from the world, so I'm not going to hold back the positive parts of me either. I've got a heart filled with love and happiness that I plan on showing more. I've got talents and gifts that some people know nothing about. That's going to be shown, too.

What have you been putting off? Have you been procrastinating something important? Have you held back telling someone how you feel for fear of their reaction (or worse, their rejection)? STOP! Don't hold back. Not anymore. Life's too short.

Spread the love!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It's a simple concept, really.

I read what I want to read, watch what I want to watch, hear what I want to hear, follow who I want to follow.

Guess what?

YOU have the same right.

If someone in your timeline is annoying you, unfollow them. Don't announce to the world you're doing it. Just do it. Seriously. This isn't rocket science, people.

And for fuck's sake, quit complaining about the haters. The more attention you give them, the longer they're going to stay.

I don't like kids.

No, seriously. I don't like kids.

Okay, let me explain. I don't like most kids.

I love my own kids, of course. I like a few select other kids - T-Dawg, for instance. Mooch, too. They're well-behaved boys who treat me with respect. They're good friends to my children and for that, they get kudos. But over all, I'm not one of those people who loves the sound of children laughing or whose uterus explodes at the feel of a newborn in my arms. Do I love babies? Sure - quiet, freshly-diapered, recently-fed, peacefully sleeping ones.

I've tried for years to figure out what it is about kids that I dislike so much and I think it comes down to two things: noise and mess. There are, of course, certain levels of both that come with any kid. I realize that and have learned to tune out the normal "everyday" clatter and clutter of children. But excessively noisy, shrieking, yelling, stomping, running, screamy kids make me want to bake them in a pie. I don't have patience for it.

I also can't stand a mouthy child. The desire to pop a back-talking child in the mouth has overwhelmed me more than once and I've literally had to leave my cart in the middle of an aisle at the store and walk away for fear of beating the hell out of their parents for putting up with it. There's NO place for disrespect in my world. None. If your child back-talks you, then they're not showing you respect. It's not funny. It's not a phase. It's not okay. At all.

I have no problem with a disagreement as long as it's approached respectfully. My kids are more than entitled to their opinions, as am I. I don't frequently give in, because as a parent my job isn't to be my child's friend - it's to be their parent, but there are times when one of the kids has made valid points and I'll back down. I choose my battles with my children; I have to as a parent.

What I don't have to do, though, is accept that "kids are kids" and they get to act like heathens as a result. I've managed to raise two very polite, even-tempered (still not sure how that happened), generous and loving children. If I can do it, anybody can. So stop letting your kids tell you what to do. Be a fucking parent or I promise you, I will be.

(Disclaimer: I can tolerate most kids for small periods of time. I will not tell you how to raise your kids in your house, nor will I punish them if they're in mine. And I'll only bake them in a pie if they look especially ripe.)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Jealous and Bitter, party of one - Your table is ready

I come from a long-line of negative people. My people have a history of finding the cloud in the silver and turning the whole damn thing into a thunderstorm. I've never seen anything like it. Having been raised in a family like that, it swallowed me whole, too. It doesn't help that I'm mouthy and often speak first and think later. I spent years focusing only on the negative. If something good happened, I set it on a shelf and squatted down with my catcher's mitt waiting for the crap that was inevitably around the corner. I was rarely disappointed.


Because I brought it on myself. I expected shit and I got it. My 20's were full of great things - but never once did I appreciate it. Not. Once. I was too busy focusing on the wants instead of the haves. I surrounded myself with drama - from myself, from my friends, family, co-workers, neighbors - the list goes on. I thrived on the chaos and hatred that drama brought my life. If you can call it that, anyway. I wouldn't say I exactly I "thrived."

I don't remember what the catalyst was that made me open my eyes, but at some point in my thirties, I looked at my life and the people in it and realized that I didn't like any part of it. I literally cut out everything toxic in my life. I turned my back on friends and family I'd known all my life. I stopped returning emails and phone calls. I didn't make plans with people anymore. I shut myself off from the world so I could reevaluate where I was, where I wanted to be and who was "safe" enough to be there with me. It was the scariest thing I've ever done.

And it was the best thing I've ever done.

I started going to new places. I met new people. I was very cautious, of course. With my mouth and penchant for saying the wrong thing, I had to be careful who I let my guard down with. Sometimes I'd test people to see just how far they'd drag me. The minute I felt myself going under, I'd grab a life preserver and swim for shore (and promptly slam the door on any type of relationship with that person). The transition was much like I imagine the witness relocation program is: cutting out everything you know and replacing it with new. It's exactly what I did. 

Drastic? Probably. But I did what I felt I had to.

Over time, I realized that there were still a lot of people from my past that I was able to have healthy relationships with and I've rebuilt that with those people, but there are still some people (even family) that I keep at arm's length. The minute their lives become too chaotic for me, I step back. I've always been a fixer, so this aspect has been the toughest to break myself of. But now, several years later, it's become second nature to me.

I still have a mouth and my defensive nature. I'm also an explainer (hence this blog) because it's important (for some fucked up reason) to me that people understand my actions. I forget, of course that some people will never understand me no matter how much I talk things to death, but I digress. Sometimes, its easy to still get caught up in drama. Lord knows I've had my share. But I'm doing much better about bowing out when I see the boat starting to capsize. 

There are still people who want to see me fail. They want to see me miserable. Humiliated. Unhappy. This used to bother me greatly. In fact, my defensive nature would rear up and I would spend days/weeks/months trying to convince these people that I'm a good person and didn't deserve their hate. In the end though, I realized that I was the only one who needed convincing.

At the risk of sounding like Stuart Smalley, I really am a good person and people love me. Not everybody, of course (because let's face it, I am a snarky bitch.), but I'm surrounded by friends and people who do appreciate me.

So to those of you who want to see me cry - who want to see me get my dander up - who want to see me go off the deep end and get sucked under: thank you. You remind me that I'm doing something right. You're jealous. You're bitter. You're like I was. You remind me how far I've come. You remind me that I'm better than I once was. You fuel me to keep on keepin' on.

That being said, why are you the way you are? Do you find happiness in hating? Is your life more full by focusing on the negative in it? If you don't like someone or something, why bother keeping it around? Let go. Seriously. Just let it go.

I have. In fact, I unfollowed someone today whom I like very much. She's a darling person, but because she retweeted something from someone who was a VERY toxic part of my life a few months back, I cut her out. That is how serious I am about removing the negative. I may be perceived as the ostrich with my head in the sand, but the truth is, if I don't see it, then I don't know about it. People can talk shit all they want. They will anyway, so why bother myself with seeing it?

Do I still get pissed? Yup.
Do I still get defensive? Yup.
Do I still have my moments of negativity & depression? Yup.

But, I'll let you in on a little secret about me: I'm human. I make mistakes. I have real emotions. I hurt. I get mad. I get sad. I slam doors. I talk shit. But once I say my peace, I'm done. It's over. I move on. That doesn't mean, however, that I will let you back into my life. I may not hold a grudge, but you can damn well bet, I don't give second chances.

Some of you don't deserve to know the things about me that I've shared here, but many of you do. Take from it what you will.