660: Loving and Games

Loving someone isn’t supposed to be about playing games. It isn’t supposed to be about learning to be devious, or manipulative, or calculating. Yes, different people express love in various ways. There are a number of books that have been written about “love languages,” the different ways that people use to express their love, care, and concern for another person. Those five ways are gifts, physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, and quality time spent with the significant other (according to the experts). We each use the different methods, or ‘languages,’ in varying degrees, or amounts of each of the five, depending on which ones of the languages we value ourselves, and which ones of the languages we would ourselves prefer to receive.  (https://www.5lovelanguages.com/)

Apparently, the combination of ways that I use to express love are toxic. And have been toxic, in every relationship I have been in, for the entire duration of my life on this planet. I am not stupid enough to blame the others in this situation. It is quite obvious to me that when I get involved in a relationship and express love to the significant other, that process fairly rapidly turns them into users and me into the used. Seeing this pattern develop over time and past relationships, and recognizing that it is happening again, clearly means that it isn’t them, it’s me. The fault quite obviously belongs to me. I am training them to become monsters, albeit unintentionally training them – but training them, nevertheless.

The twelve-step programs that many people use to help them get out of their addictive, sometimes abusive, and often self-destructive behaviors (Alcoholics Anonymous, AlAnon, AlaTeen, Adult Children of Alcoholics and other dysfunctional families) tell us that the first step of the twelve steps to recovery and serenity (WTF is serenity?) in fixing a problem is acknowledging that one exists. Well, it freaking exists. The problem has been recognized.

Now for the solution. I have to change the one person I can control – and that person would be me. I have to learn to NOT give love in the ways that are most natural to me. I have to learn to calculate what I give, weigh out my displayed affection in smaller, stingier doses, and guard, critically assess, and strategize what I express towards others. I have to play a game, and not be “myself,” because being myself demonstrably and historically hurts myself.

Building walls is wearisome work, and sometimes necessary for self preservation. They are called boundaries. Time to build them.

 

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607: Independence and Subsidies

 

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It used to be that Americans were independent and took care of their own.

Why is it now the responsibility of other citizens/taxpayers if I fail to adequately plan, provide for, and save for my own retirement (what used to be called my ‘declining years’)? When did that personal failure become a subsidized ‘right’?

Was it when the US government established the Social Security program in an effort to ameliorate the fallout from those grasshoppers who foolishly played and spent their lives away, while the ants prudently saved and stockpiled against an uncertain future?

Now that social security is firmly entrenched (even if the last generations of lawmakers have plundered the fund to help offset their own grasshopper profligate spending) Americans save even less than they ever did – and our performance as a nation never was too good on that score in the first place.

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Yeah, I’d LOVE to have spent my productive years engaged in pursuing my own interests (financially supporting or not) instead of reporting to work – but having proved myself stupid enough to be willing to work, I don’t qualify for any benefits for sitting on my fat behind.

The idea is that people work to support themselves. Each one responsible for him/herself – unless you have turned over your financial future to someone else who agrees to be responsible for both themselves AND you (this is what many women believe marriage is for – absolving them from all responsibility). If you put your care into the hands of another person and they fail to make adequate provisions for themselves and for you in the event something happens to them, well, they failed you.

My first husband did that – he let more than a half million life insurance policy lapse a few months before he unexpectedly died. Thank God I was already a working wife, and didn’t have all my eggs in his little basket, so I had something else to fall back on besides Uncle Sam. Plus, in the past, families cared for each other. When a family member became disabled or elderly and needed care, they were cared for within the family unit – not handed off for the government (really, other citizens/taxpayers) to care for.

It isn’t the fault of the citizens that you failed to provide for yourself – it isn’t even the fault of the citizens that you are disabled, and need assistance. Neither is it their fault if accident or illness befalls you that you didn’t plan for. Yup – it’s a tough break when that happens. Thankfully, assistance is available for those who are unable (legitimately unable, not having simply purchased their disability from an unethical physician) to provide for themselves, but it still isn’t the fault of others that they are disabled, such that others are then required to pay their way.

THAT is what used to be called charity, before charity became a dirty word, and it used to be the province of faith-based people who took up the slack and provided that assistance locally. They knew their neighbors, and they knew who really needed the help, and who needed the harsh life lessons earned by making very poor decisions.

You know, like the grasshopper.

579: The dumbing down of America

My brand spanking new hubs has obtained a job managing one of two employment agencies in our tiny south Georgia town. I have taught high school and middle school (some) for 26 years in Georgia (all over the state). What he is reporting is a confirmation of what I have been observing for decades.

Employment agencies offer their services free to job seekers. Companies contract with them to vet their potential employees, but the company ultimately gets the final say in any hiring, and the employment agency gets a finder’s fee for vetting candidates on behalf of the employing company.

As part of the candidate process, there is a drug screening, an employment application and interview, and a screening employability skills exam. Sort of a very low-level SAT. VERY low level. The questions include: how many inches are in three yards. How many is a half dozen. What is 50% of 150. Plus other similar mind-blowing, difficult, major league, scholarly questions. Most applicants (teens to adults) fail the screening exam.

I have taught high school in my state for 26 years. His results absolutely do not surprise me. And we are getting worse, not getting better- I do not care WHAT the government pundits are telling you about improving test scores.

Our schools took out career/life classes like shop and home economics. They replaced them with curriculum that presupposes all of our students are headed off to college. Yeah, right. The governor of Georgia just released his new “mission goals” for Georgia schools. It includes the statement that ALL Georgia students will earn college or career credit before they complete high school. “•Every child in Georgia will earn college and/or career credit before they graduate high school.” Yeah, right.

Our school’s students get multiple, multiple chances to complete work, including retaking major tests. Try that in real life – unlimited do-overs. Only GOD is that kind. And, as a teacher, I am forbidden by my school administration to assign a score of zero when a student turns in nothing for an  assignment. I have to assign them points of credit – for NOTHING. Last time I checked, breathing was not an academic activity.

What I am allowed to teach in the courses I am employed to teach is mandated by the state government. I cannot teach reading to a child who cannot read. LITERALLY, not my job. I am teaching pre-Engineering. ONLY. Even though I am also state certified in English, grades 6-12.

I try. Invoking the overarching academic goal of literacy skills, I  require my students to write reflection essays in MLA format over their Engineering assignments. I have high school students who cannot write ONE correct and complete sentence, much less a coherent essay. Some cannot even to this day capitalize their first and last NAMES on a paper. I wish I was lying. And this, from native speakers of English. Our Spanish native speaking kids are blowing the American-born kids out of the water. Let’s not even discuss the MATH. I have taught how to figure the square yardage needed to replace the carpet in a room EIGHT SEPARATE TIMES, and still have high school students in the class who cannot compute it correctly. Carpet sellers, you may freely rook customers in south Georgia, because they have no clue you are going to cheat them. Have at it.

And the beauty of this? The government, and most parents, will tell you it is the teacher’s fault, all of it.

Yeah, right.

4 more years.

4 more years.

My mantra.

565: Mea culpa maxima

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It’s all my fault.

You would not have it any other way – you cannot possibly bear any responsibility, now, would you?

Things, and people, which cannot be borne are best forgiven, and then assiduously avoided, because pain is…..painful. It is possible to think of you, now, without anger. But not without pain. Yet. When I have achieved that goal, it will be possible to remember you without sadness.

I invested in you. The money is irrelevant – it is only money, no matter how much money it was. I invested myself into you. It is now time to invest in myself, even though I don’t do that very well yet. I have spent so many years investing in others instead of me, that it is difficult to even believe I am worthy of investment.

Working on it.

On all of it.

510: The wind is blowing

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This way, do it this way.

I tell you, I want it like this.

No, you are doing it wrong, I want it like that.

No, you are still doing it wrong, you are not listening.

I want it THIS way.

No, no, no.

You are being deliberately willful, and defying my authority.

For your own good, I am putting you on an improvement plan, before I fire you.

Tell me your frustrations, so I can use them against you.

I acknowledge your frustrations have merit (because I see the same things),

but it is YOUR FAULT that you mention them as frustrating things, even though I do that, too.

You need to solve your own problems, in spite of the fact that I am the supervisor.

YOU are the one to blame for this.

You, you, you…..employee.

396: Womanhood, dammit

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I did not get the preferred choice in the gender lottery. Thanks, dad. You all do know already that it is the sperm (therefore, dad) who determines the sex of the child-to-be? Yep – mom just takes it (literally and figuratively). However, I am one of those women who has a disproportionate amount of testosterone. Yes, we exist. Explains a lot, huh?

Testosterone aside, being female sucks sometimes. Most of the time. The part I still have issues with, even after 54 years and a total hysterectomy (with bilateral oophrectomy – I read doctor’s reports), are the stinking hormones. I weaned off the HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) a few years after the surgery, because the stuff costs money, and I was about the “proper” age for menopause, anyway. Plus, I was living in Morocco, and could NOT get the replacement testosterone. It was the testosterone that made me normal, not the estrogen or the progesterone, which I could get.

The problem then, and now, and from what I am told by older women who have been through this crap, too – is that this will also be the future as far as I can see into the distance – is the freaking hot flashes. At least a dozen times per night, regardless of the temperature of the room (I have conducted informal research here) I have hot flashes that cause me to fling off the covers (all sweaty and disgusting), and then, usually within the half hour, I chill down (sweat can NOT be helping this) and have to cover up again because I am cold. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. AAAUUUUGGGGHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhh.

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An eighty-year old woman I complained to about this, and then asked, “When does it ever STOP?” answered, “I’ll let you know when it does…..!” Never ask a question if you are not prepared for the answer. I was not prepared for that answer, dammit.

Men do not have this crap. Unless you count having to sleep next to a woman who does.

391:How Come? (no pun intended)

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Why do people (read: men, mostly) in public positions, who have so very, very much to lose, engage in extra-marital sex? Why?

Some claim it is an addiction. Addictions are choices. You have to choose to try something, and choose it over and over and over, usually, to develop an addiction to it. You picked it, with a little help from some weak gene, perhaps, but – you picked it. Still your fault.

Some claim they were seduced. Duh. Sin is attractive (read: seductive), because no one would commit it if it was ugly, obvious and UNattractive. You chose to do it. Still your fault.

Some claim it was because their significant, legal choice for legitimate sex was unforthcoming with the goods. Sounds like a relationship problem you can work out with time, therapy and some serious romancing on your part – not to mention cleaning up the ugly parts of your life and character that are turning your significant other OFF to the point that they are not interested in you even touching them. And, if all those remedies are unproductive, you can divorce them and hook up (legally) with someone more compatible with your sex drive. Still your fault.

And SOME offer no redeeming ideas at all for their stupid, childish, undisciplined, sexually risky and career-risking behavior whatsoever. STILL YOUR FAULT.