Thanksgiving and Underwear

This is a true story re-told with permission. My mother lost her underwear in Wal Mart.  The underwear had, unbeknownst to her, stuck in the leg of her blue jeans when she pulled them out of the dryer. She took a morning trip to Wal Mart to buy food to prepare for Thanksgiving dinner and walked unsuspectingly down the dog food aisle. The underwear dropped out of her blue jeans and she did not notice. A kind woman behind her saw the underwear lying on the floor and immediately got my mother’s attention and asked if the underwear belonged to her. My mother thanked her, scooped up the underwear, and put the offending panties in her purse. I was on the phone with my mother at the time and she explained that she would call me later to explain.

I am thankful for my mother. I am thankful for Thanksgiving dinner. I am also thankful for kind strangers who will assist others.  As the Holiday Season starts, tempers flare up, people become rude, and little annoyances start to irritate even the most patient people.  This is a Season of thanksgiving. It seems to me it is better to remember we would have a lot less to be thankful for without others than to decide to avoid public shopping, complain about Christmas parties, and worry over spending time with family and friends.  Our underwear is showing if we cannot embrace the Holiday Spirit as well as the Holiday Season.

If my underwear shows, I am always thankful for polite, kind, and honest people who will be politic and let me know. Then I can stop showing what people do not need to see to everyone who becomes embarrassed. This is not to say that at times I do not deliberately irritate others by some of my words or behaviors for my own reasons. We do not all agree on proper etiquette and appropriate measures, but in a world where we rub shoulders and talk to strangers every day, mutual respect and kindness goes a long way toward avoiding unpleasant scenes.

We should all pick up someone else’s underwear once in awhile. It would remind us to be thankful that our own is firmly in place. This Holiday Season, remembering what I am thankful for is the beginning of the magic that comes for an entire month once a year. When the New Year rolls around, I will have new stories, new ideas, and new paths to follow in the year ahead. There will be times for disagreements and arguments and opposing views. For now, Thanksgiving is upon us and I intend to do my best to find the Holiday Spirit.  My mother finished her shopping trip. I will be eating Thanksgiving dinner. Do not give up. Remember that the world could do better with a few good deeds. It is the Season to give, receive and welcome each other with more warmth in appreciation of our own human nature. Happy Thanksgiving.

 

 

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The Loving Spirit

There is an old saying, “God gives us our relatives, thank God we can choose our friends.” (Ethel Watts Mumford) It can be argued that we do not choose our co-workers, we do not choose our neighbors, and we did choose our mates even if we did not get to choose our children (adoptions excluded). However, we do choose to hold down one job or another, we do choose to live in certain houses or apartments, and we do or do not choose to have children. This question of personal “choice” is a bit unclear in the actual application as we interact responsibly with adult society where we make some of our own decisions and have to respect the decisions of others. To put the point politely, we can choose to have conversations or we can walk away; we can isolate ourselves or we can reach out; we can choose to stay or move on- but there are always issues and problems that arise when people interact.

It is unrealistic to think that we will enjoy or appreciate every person we encounter in life. At times, we fight to hold on to our own possessions, beliefs, and human rights in a world where it is possible to lose what we have to others. This does not negate the fact that we are still making our own choices about the situations that arise from living in a world where people interact on some level, in some way, almost every day.  I cannot be responsible for most of the choices that other people make, but I am responsible for my own choices. At times, individuals join and make choices together and there are times when we make choices for each other. In a world of “choosing”, our personal choices influence others and others personal choices will affect our own lives. I do not believe the issue at stake is did we choose one another or are we forced to accept one another. Instead, I think the questions we need to ask ourselves revolve around the issue of human nature and the loving spirit.

We will not always agree and we will not always disagree, but to remain in a world where choices are possible and choosing in any way limits further choices by ourselves and by others, respect, fairness, and communication are necessary in our interactions with one another. Whether we are making our own choices or choosing for others, the responsibility that comes with decision-making requires these three elements to protect each and every one of us from the anger and frustration in the human condition that results from the perception that we have been acted upon in such a way that our own autonomy has been removed. To preserve our freedom to choose, it is not necessary to take that freedom away from others. We must, however, acknowledge our individual responsibility for choosing will necessarily determine how, when, and where we include other people in our lives.

 

Paranoia

I am worried. There are reasons. I have a Bipolar Type II diagnosed disorder. I also am a single, white female on her own. Over the last year these events have happened: 1) I have had my car key and telephone equipment stolen at work (a job I have left) 2) I have received abortion hate mail for an incident that happened five years ago 3) I have been a victim of job scamming reporting to 1099 tax forms as I searched for further employment 4) my recycle bin has been searched, unashamedly, with the bin left open and my personal paper trash piled in the street 5) I have received phone calls from harassing people from numbers that are not consistent with differing area codes with the same messages “Kimberly, how are you this morning” (starting with a few sales calls for “lotteries” that I would not participate in and ending with a caller who will not quit even though I have blocked calls through Verizon)

I cannot legally have a handgun due to my Bipolar disorder and I would not wish to. I cannot say these problems are from the same source. In fact, I think it is probable that they are separate problems. I cannot find protection and help. No one will answer my inquiries.

I filed a complaint at work over the car key incident and there was not a follow up beyond the notification. I e-mailed the Better Business Bureau over the job scam with e-mails attached for proof and have not been contacted. I notified the police department in Charleston about my recycle bin and I know that an over staffed, over worked police department did not see this as a priority.  My own mother has asked if I am making sense. She thinks these problems are unlikely of any serious nature.

This is not paranoia. This is a chain of events without resolution in these single occurrences.  I am not a mentally ill “conspiracy theory” type. These incidents have added up to hatred in several arenas and I am wondering if they go beyond the nuisance factor how I am going to protect myself. This is my problem. There are no resources available to investigate. There is a predisposition to not listen to someone who attends a psychiatric session once every two or three months and there is no sympathy for someone who is not living in the problematic arenas where “real” crime is life and death.

These incidents have been real. There has been no harm to my personal self or my pets. I do not find “peace of mind” possible in a world where incidents can and will be explained away as “nonsense” because we would prefer not to talk about unpleasantness that we do not wish to acknowledge. Life is not easy for single women on their own. Without recourse to solutions, (I have found most people prefer excuses), we cannot maintain a viable society of safety and security.

Take Your Leave

“Parting is such sweet sorrow…” (William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet). There are three reasons for sorrow (without sweetness) in parting ways:

1) Unresolved conflicts

2) Unwillingness of one party or the other to separate

3) Damages incurred by leave taking.

I have been through several relocations, employment situations, a divorce, and the death of close family members.  I have parted with friends, employers, lovers, and family more often than I have cared to.  All of these relationships did or would have derived the beneficial result of “sweet sorrow” with resolution of the three elements above.

Unresolved conflicts, on the surface, disappear with the dissolving of conflictor/conflictee interactions. Differences may arise after a relationship is over causing previous disagreements to surface and impact new relationships. Not all conflicts are resolvable, but agreements can be reached to not enter in to further confrontations. “Let sleeping dogs lie” is an old idiom that works well when ending a relationship of any kind. I have found that I will never forget the troubles my ex-husband and I went through while we were married, but I have been divorced for over eight years and I find new romantic relationships are always better if I leave the past in the past.

If there is unwillingness on either side to leave and part ways, it is almost always necessary to make the reality of accepting parting clear and definable to the unwilling party. When my brother died from diabetes, I did not want him to part with this Earth, but it was an easier path to travel after I accepted the inevitability of the eventuality of his deathbed.  Acceptance of leaving is not synonymous with wanting a leave taking to occur. Abrupt departures from any form of relationship do not have room for acceptance or give any form of comfort from the capability to prepare.

At times, leave taking may cause heavy physical, emotional, and social damages.   This is never a “win, win” situation and can turn into bitter wars that will not end.  Vindictive, spiteful punishments or attempts to pay back pain and suffering are not just detrimental to the party attacked. I have found that to destroy is to be destroyed is more often the case. However, a refusal to engage in self-defense does not lessen hatred or turn aside an enemy (usually).  Responsibility is a key requirement in preventing extensive damages from leave taking. If the separation is handled with consideration for joint and individual responsibilities and responsible behavior is maintained in difficult situations, then parting damages are minimized and most parties will walk away in decent shape. Moving day always meant that the responsibilities in place and the responsibilities needed ahead were ended, accounted for, and planned. It is not easy to part ways. As I get older, I wish less to leave for the next path forward and I wish more to remain. When it is time, whatever path you are following, to take your leave- do it well.