Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Do you see what I see?

As I have said before, I love to analyse almost everything. But my favorite subject of analysis, is the driving motivator of people's actions. What makes somebody do what they do? Today I will reflect on myself.

I set up this blog to discuss the relationship my husband and I have. Yet, I have not yet discussed our relationship, him, or the Female Led Marriage. The title for this blog I picked was specifically created to reflect of "becoming" into this relationship, as well as the actual behavior we display. I also hope to connotate what would be "appropriate" for me in the word, "becoming". This word is not used very much anymore, but to me means a behavior or look that is pleasing to the eye, thoughts, and senses.

I write this disclaimer, in case anyone is dissapointed in the non specific areas I write about. They may expect me to write more scintillating details of my life, more relationship stuff. Strangely, I believe I am doing exactly that. Telling my personal thoughts and background infomation are the more scintillating details. The other stuff, kink etc. is just the fluff.

I guess I never really conform to what is expected of me. With that said, I have recently begun to question the avatar I have chosen for myself. Only, because I worry about what others think of it. I love that crazy gal. The purpleness reflects my favorite color. She has, either, dragon parts or dragon parts around her. I was born in the year of the dragon and have always identified that part of me. She is sultry and mischievious: my true nature, if allowed to show (often I down-play that part). I realize now that everything is not always about me (noooo, it can't be true-but I suppose this fact once in a while). Some people may think certain things about me. I only noticied or realized this, after an unpleaseant interaction with a guy on the She Makes the Rules website. I do not want preconcieved notions about who I am from this picture. I don't want an immature male to look at my avatar and presume I just want sex, or am an exhibitionist. I now think that it may be the thought people have. Joe knows I love the image that picture portrays for me and thinks I should not change it for the notions other people have. I am still undecided.

I also hesitated, after I selected it, because it contains a very small symbol equated with evil. The gal is wearing a necklace with a pentagram. I did not originally see that. When I did, I gasped, because being a Christian, this is not something I would show myself. I then thought that this may be representational of my naughty nature. I certainly would never wear a necklace like that, but then again, I would never an outfit like that in public. I think the artist attempted to show that idea in this picture. She has red eyes, horns and claws and wings: she is devilish in nature. Luckily, I don't put too much stock in visual representations equalling evil. I am more playful in my interpretation. But unfortunately, I worry too much what other people may think. Would other Christians think badly because of this, would men lust after and idea of me because of their interpretation of people, would women dismiss me because of this portrayal?

In the end, it is only a picture. One for the mood I am currently in and can be changed at will. Luckily, who I am is changing too, but finding what is constant underneath is what intriques me most. That is what I am striving to "put under the microscope. Finding the meaning in one's existance is a theme for all time. Being honest with one's self, is another. Being loved and loving back is one of the "biggies" as well.

What drives Cheryl to do "something"? "God only knows", as my mother, father, friends, husband, and others are oft to say. Maybe if I continue to share the minutia of my life, you will see that very thing, and I will discover/uncover the "truth" about myself, as well.

I have so much to say on the subject...but will retire for now.

Go out and bring meaning to someone's life today... even if it is your own.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

To Live Like You Were Dying

I don't really anticipate how often I should write down my thoughts, for now, I shall write when the spirit moves me.

I watched a movie yesterday and it keeps calling back to me for reflection. Be advised, if you have no desire to visit the topic of suicide, do not read any further...

The DVD I watched was called, The Bridge. Someone I only know in passing suggested that I watch this intriguing movie. I work in a library, so we often share movie and book recommendations. It is a documentary film set at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco, Ca. My interest was piqued, but I was equally disturbed at the thought of watching this. The crew filmed for 1 year, at the bridge, and had documented actual suicide jumps. I was told that the families would also be sharing with the crew, their stories. I have always been curious about suicides. How could these people override the self preservation drive that all of us possess? What drives them to commit this final act of desperation?

I guess that this topic has been in mind for some time. I think that the first death of someone our family knew that I can remember, involved a suicide. I remember that first funeral I attended. I was in grade school at the time. The look of the funeral parlor, the limos lined up outside, getting dressed up for something that was not a party, is still an image I can see. I remember the hushed whispers about this young man's life. "I heard it involved drugs, how the family must feel about it, and so on. I felt the sense of shame the family was either feeling or subjected to at the time. I think he must have been in his 20's, so everyone commented that it was "such a waste", so "cruel to his family". None of this was discussed with me directly, but it is amazing what people discuss in front of children who they think will not understand or they do not acknowledge. Of course in those days, we never would have spoken up in a conversation of adults and felt that we were equals in the discussion. Ah, but that is another topic, for another day.

Of course one hears of suicides in the press, but direct contact has a different feel to it. The next exposure I had, was when I was in college. Going to UCSD was a big change for me. Even though I lived only about a 20 minute drive away by freeway, it was a completely different life. The people here are intense! The first question I received, before my name even, from meeting someone at freshman orientation was "What was your SAT score"? What???? Not "hi", "where are you from" etc. Unlike many, I would consider myself a "happy academic". I pursue knowledge, but not at the cost of happiness. I was not in the top ten grade earners at my school, the ones who were, were my friends. I preferred to "have a life" and brush elbows and minds with the elite. My friends all knew I could, "do better", but had no intent of putting myself out more than the top 10% of my class (to earn honor grad). So imagine my surprise, when we heard that a UCSD freshman had jumped out his window at Tioga hall, one of the tallest buildings on campus, to his death. What? I mean college is tough, but, "WHAT"???

The part we focused on was so silly. After he jumped, his body crushed a few bikes that were locked down below in the bike racks. We were thinking that it would be a bummer to come out and see your bike all smashed up and knowing how it got that way. We did not really think about who saw this, his family, or an direct impact, because we were on a different campus. It was someone from Muir, not Revelle. Heck, how could it be that bad over there...it was Muir: the more liberal arts, easier school. We all moved on without really thinking about it.

Then, it happened again next quarter . Grades came out and so did the news. A young man got up very early one morning; still dressed in pajamas, he made his way outside onto one of the grassy bumps outside the lecture halls, took an overdose of pills and lay down to die. When he was discovered by other students, the news travelled like wildfire. He had gotten his very first B in his academic career and felt that his life was over. WHAT???? Some of us would kill to have a B in our classes, like Revelle writing for instance. I couldn't wrap my mind around this one. His quiet act of desperation affected me more than the other event. He left this "reason", if you can call it that, in a letter to his family. I was studying, socializing, partying even, while this young man went through this unnecessary turmoil over an arbitrary grade.

After this, the topic of suicide was all over campus. We even found out that it was not unusual for this to happen here. Kids that were used to being #1, could not cope with second place. The pressure was too great, for some. I just did not get it. I enjoyed my classes, but man, study breaks were great! Wild escapades with friends were better. And, if you were getting at least a 3.0 at one of the top institutions in the country, weren't you on the top of the heap already? We found out that the suicides were not always from failure. A few of the students had set themselves on fire in Revelle plaza. During the war in the 60's/70's, they felt so strongly about stopping the war involvement, they calmly poured gasoline over themselves, sat down and then lit themselves on fire. WHAT????!!!! If you knew me, I am very passionate about a lot of topics, but not to the point of hurting myself. I guess that some point was made by these people, because we were still talking about these handful of students who had done this.

I believe the next incident of suicide was when I was just out of college. My ex-boyfriend's father called me late one night, which seemed very odd. We were not close, even when I dated his son. He wanted to know if I knew where his son was, and/or could I get in contact with him. At this point, he told me that his wife had died. I called everyone that might have known where he was. I finally left word on a phone message machine at the computer lab he worked at, that he should call me as soon as possible. When I spoke with him the next day, I said that I wanted to meet with him in person. He said no and then blurted out, "is my mother dead"? I could not believe that jump. I did not know what to say. So I stumbled around and then whispered, yes. I think at that point he said "I knew it" or something like that. I suggested that he get in touch with me, if he needed anything.

The strangest thing happened later. Our group of friends from college and a couple from high school gathered at the house of this family. The family did not seem to mourn in the traditional way. They were running about as if it were a party. They brought out sodas, chips/dip etc. Needless to say, we all looked at each other like we were at a party with fully clothed people and we were naked. What the heck was going on? The next part shocked us even more, the family of the deceased, decided to go for mini-golfing. Our group chose not to go. This did not seem normal in the least. Their mother, the wife of the man, had just died two nights before and they were going to mini golf?! We were more saddened than the family was appearing to be.
We knew something was up. Afterwards, our friend explained that his mother, who was a nurse professionally, had suffered more of late with her lupus condition. When his brother came home from high school one day, he found his mother dead. She had, I still do not know how, taken her own life. This at least explained some of the odd behavior. My friend suspecting death, their strange way of coping with it. I'll tie this incident in with my movie discussion later.

If you are still reading, thanks for bearing with the background. The movie shows actual people jumping to their deaths and some of the family's talking about their loved one's lives. Common threads were loss, depression, thoughts of suicide before, and mental illness. In many ways, they play out in classical ways, but not all. The surprising part of this, is the fact that I can still see the faces/person that has jumped in my mind. The way they die is not gory per se, which makes it easier to watch. The unexpected part of this movie is some of them feeling that this is great release or relief. The other unexpected part of this movie, is that the Filmers could not really tell who was going to jump. They scanned the bridge for "suspicious" behavior. Many that they filmed did the exact behaviors that jumpers did and did not jump. Some jumpers appeared "normal" and then did it. One man talking and laughing on his cell phone with someone, just sets it down and goes.

Whether you consider this a sin or not, I am still intrigued by this. My Sociologist/Education ways can not fully put this down to understanding. I have felt all that these people have gone through, barring the severe mental illness, at times and so have most people. They could or would not recover from it. I invite you to watch this film as a study. I do not feel it is for young people to watch, but can be discussed. What I take away from this, is my ever present desire to reach out to others. To be ever vigilant to touch the life of someone who may need the connection and hope of something better out there. I also understand the relief and celebration of the life that a family may feel after their loved one has done this. I certainly feel the grief and loss that others experience. I know that my reflection on this type of topic always helps me to live my life in more fulfilled manner.

So now I go out in the world to "Seize the Day" and to make a difference in someone's life (and especially my own).

Saturday, March 28, 2009

where to begin: under the microscope

Here it is! As usual, I could not log back in to even set up my first post. I try to remember passwords and user accounts, but I always seem to have trouble with them. What the Heck! My memory is so bad, so I understand not remembering. I have no excuse this time; I wrote it all down and still could not get it correct. Well, after some tense minutes, another story in itself, I am on here for my first post.

It was suggested to me, by more than one person, that I should write my rambling thoughts on a blog. Well, catch me up to the 21st century...I did not know how to do that. I had heard about these, been interested in the idea of them, been given other people's addressess to view them...but I resisted!!! Why? Who knows. I guess it goes along with my lack of desire to do facebook, my space, twitter, etc. I just do not see the point in it all. Well, I trust these people, so here I am.

I guess there is a point to this after all. I mean, I have been following the many posts of the forum: shemakestherules.com . I enjoy that back and forth commenting, structuring my own thoughts, and learning and researching the thoughts of others. I am spending time to organize my thoughts on this blogging thing first, so you know where I am coming from. I wonder if it is self-indulgent to write about my self and my life, the inner workings of my mind and actions. I have often started journals, only to lose track and catch up even a year later from the last time I wrote. Repetative tasks are not my forte.

I am comfortable pointing out my weak and strong points. I like self deprication for humor, but really see it as being honest with who I am. And, I have no problem with teasing others in the same way. I often hear other people say that sarcasm is cruel...oh, get over yourselves! It is my favorite type of humor. Irony, sarcasm and wit: a winning combination. My dad is from a long time New Englander background, with one side more recently from England. I learned this dry, biting humor to a fault. I feel that everyone is just a little too PC at times. Ironically, I always worry about what others think. Were my words too biting, did they understand what I meant, did that come across as judgemental?

I guess I am truly a Pisces. I have 2 sides of the coin on most everything. Swimming two directions at once: Yin and Yang, an enigma to most, contradictory at best. I am a big picture gal. I have honesty to a fault. This way of speaking out with no filter, often can "get me in trouble". I hide little from those around me; yet if you know me, I hide myself best. I have been told by my closest friends that I "like to hide myself, who I really am". I won't commit to saying my favorite anything. Tell me all the choices of what you want to do and I will "veto". I like having very few close friends and millions of acquaintances. Yet, I long for someone to truly get me, and be my confidant. My husband is that for me, yet I long for a female relationship in the same manner.

When I was younger, I always had one or two, at the most, gal pals that I was especially close. We'd hang out as buddies at school, after-hours, and through all kinds of activities. I never was good at the pack of girl friend things. Now on the subject of men, I would have boys all around, but never too close. But I digress, let me explain the female dynamic first. I have had adult female friendships, but I find them fleeting at best: often family or men get in the way. We start out with a "bang", hanging out a lot, doing things of interest together, going places, and then...it fizzles. I find that often friendships are formed quickly, yet burn out quickly. They may be hook-ups because of jobs, school moms, activities: they fizzle after the event that brought us together ends, or both parties get too busy to sustain it. I only became cynical like this about friendships when I became married and then divorced. I stopped working when I had my kids: lost the work friends, due to not being there anymore. I lost my community "friends" when I was getting divorced. I found out that a single woman among married men becomes a paraiah quickly. Whether they thought that divorce was catching, I would go after their men, or I was focused too much on that "bastard of a man", I will never truly know.
Woman can confuse me to no end. They are petty, vindictive, competative, cruel, and I am just talking about myself!!! Well, I think you know what I mean. It is hard to set up lasting friendships. Maybe because of my need to be the Alpha dog, it is hard. I recognize this in myself, but long someone who is strong in a complimentary way. I often become friends with strong woman, but they are weak in a different area. I end up supporting them and they me in a symbiotic relationship. As they become strong in a different way, I sense a weakening in me. I end up listening to their issues and stories, with no room made for my own. I resent not having a chance to air my dirty laundry. Like a one sided tennis match, the ball serves keep getting sent right at me, but I am not allowed to return: an unfullfilling match at best. I become bored and find myself pulling away. Often I find, upon reflection at this moment, that I am the replacement for the humor and ear that they wish to have with their husbands. Not in a sexual way, but at a different level. Most of my friends seem to have inconsiderate husbands that they are having problems with (sidebar: not sure if that is what I attract in a friend, or that is the prevelant kind of man out there. Joke or not a joke: you decide).
When I take "a breather" from this friendship, they either get way worse with their hubby, make it a lot better, or proceed in their own plans, with or without him. Every future interaction with me becomes a time for me to "catch up" in their life, with little interest in mine. I listen well, advise as well as I can, but unbeknownst to them, I resent it. I keep up the patter, hoping it will change, as sometimes it will, but I mostly do it to preserve our history and friendship. I truly love these friends. The dynamic becomes more of a family than of a friend. We may not like their actions, but they are family.

Why go into this detail? I want the reader, and myself, to understand where I am coming from and where I am heading to eventually. This is my strarting point. I will begin a discussion with myself: rambling until I see the possible courses I can take. I will then review the path and see if it is taking me in the direction I want to go: the analysis. I hope the reader will input comments to aid in my journey: letting me know when I have gone down the wrong path, rushed when I should have spent more time in one area, and posing questions to help me to identify/interpret what and where I am going.

Me-thinks, me over-thinks!!! Hey, but that's me.
I'll stop this here. I am building the foundation for the things I want to investigate in thought, by reconstructing that which led me to this point. It is not what I intended orginally, but I got in this vehicle without knowing which route it would take. (i know, the journey metaphor may be getting old, but there is nothing like taking something ad nauseum, in my book: those that know me, know this to be true).

with a feeling of calm reflection,