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Monday, January 28, 2013

The Mat At My Heart Doesn't Say "WELCOME" Anymore

Recently, a dear kindred spirit took a break from social media.  We've all been there.  I admit, I've thought about that more than once.  I tried to do it myself a few times.  I kinda suck at it.  Soon, this blog will be ten years old.  The more I reflect upon my past experiences with the Blogosphere, Facebook, Tumblr, MySpace, Twitter, etc., the more I realize that I depend WAY too much on other people for my self-worth.  I care too much about what other people think of me.  As a result, I am always unhappy.

That's a sad realization to come to.  Don't get me wrong.  I've met some wonderful, wonderful people.  People, that as you know if you know me at all through these words I have been putting together here for nearly a decade, I care about to the very depths of my soul.  The problem is that I put too much of me "out there".  And then I get crushed by the smallest thing.  It has taken me a long time, but I realize that I am a sad, messed-up, deluded person.

I've known it for a long time, but social media is really bad for me.  Really bad.  It is a constant drain to my soul.  When you open yourself to "friendship", you open yourself to seeing things you don't want to see, hearing things you don't want to hear, feeling things you don't want to feel.  For someone like me, someone who is overly empathic, this is soul-sucking poison.  I've measured it lately, and the truth is, there is nothing on Facebook that has edified my soul in any way.  In fact, I have wasted too much of my time worrying about who I've offended or what I've said, when really, I haven't done anything to warrant questioning myself.  I am always too quick to take the blame when I haven't done anything wrong.  I apologize when I shouldn't for fear of losing friends.  Friends?  It's laughable how pathetic I am.  Truly.

The dear soul who took a social media sabatical is really the only one who will truly understand what I'm trying to express (probably quite poorly) here.  But until my heart and soul heals from this horrific last year, which it obviously isn't doing as well as I thought, I need to retreat.  I must, or I lose myself.  I need to love myself the way that I love everyone else.  I deserve that.  I deserve to be free from drama, illness, jealousy, envy, financial worry, stress, anger.  And all Facebook does is constantly remind me of all these things that I need to stay away from. 

It's funny how you get to the point in this social media circus where if you don't make a daily post of some sort, somewhere, people forget you.  My friend was saying that snark has replaced constructive discourse.  People don't really have conversations anymore.  They snark at each other.  He who snarks best wins.  He who has the funniest picture wins.  Well, I'm not snarky.  I'm not all that funny.  I'm not pretty, or witty, and nope, I'm not gay.  I'm just a wife and mom.  Who once had a mom blog and made the mistake of trying to find her identity there. 

What I AM is someone who deserves to be loved just because I breathe.  I deserve to be treated with respect.  I deserve to know that what I think matters, that what I care about is important, that what I say does not fall upon deaf ears.  I deserve the kind of respect that I bestow upon others.  I have never demanded it.  I never stand up for myself.  I let people walk all over me as I walk away from conflict.  Until now.

Today, with a quiet roar, here on my little soapbox, in my safe, little corner of the world, I say enough.  My heart is not a doormat.  And for now, I'm pulling the Welcome mat up from social media.  I don't know how long I will last.  But I need to try.  Because right now, all it does, every fucking day, is break my heart.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Ladies Doth Protest Too Much

Lately, Caris and I have taken to watching Jeopardy together.  No, this isn't something new to the family.  It's a bit of a tradition around here.  If you're home at 7:00, you venture to the living room for a rousing bit of trivia.  So much a tradition, that The Grommet even bought the family the home version of the television hit as a Christmas gift.  Yes, we love Jeopardy.

Well, most of us love Jeopardy.  Caris isn't that much of a fan, but she enjoys the family bonding that comes with a good heckling party.  Okay, maybe she just loves the heckling part.  What we all have in common however, is a mutual disdain for Alex Trebek.  The usual banter starts after that first commercial break, when Alex has a short conversation with each contestant and we all groan through it.  Not just because Alex is the king of condescension, but also because the stories are in Caris's words; "A bore-snore."  We readily agree that if any contestant, in the history of our family Jeopardy time, were ever a guest on Graham Norton's Red Chair segment, every single one of them would get summarily ejected.

More often than not during the show, Caris has her attention on her laptop, or she's going through a book for homework.  But if there's a catagory that she likes, she may give the game a bit more of her attention.  If she gets the occassional answer here or there, she's always quite surprised, though I don't know why.  She's smarter than she gives herself credit for.   I often tell her that her brain is gleaning information even if her attention isn't 100 percent in the game, like an information sponge.  My sponge just happens to sop up countless bits of useless information, then holds on to it hoping to be able to spew it out at just the right time.  Which is usually during Jeopardy or at pub quiz.

You'll be surprised to know, however, that this post is NOT about Jeopardy.  It's about an insurance commercial during a break between rounds.  As Caris is saying, for the 100th time; "How do you know this shit?  I mean seriously, how do you know all this shit?", and I'm about to respond, I hear from the tv:

Guy in commercial: (dressed as a knight)  "I doth declare that thou hast brought over many discounts to thine customers."

I stop and think for a moment.

Pua:  "I doth declare?"  Did he just say "I doth declare?"

Caris:  "Yes, why?"

Pua:  "That sounds wrong."

Caris:  "I doth declare.  (shrugging shoulders)  Sounds right to me.  You can doth declare something."

At which she goes into a soliloquy of "dothing".  She "doth declares" the candy she's eating and the tea she's drinking and the couch she's sitting on.  Which sends me into fits of laughter and I begin to join her in the dothing of this and that. 

Just then Charlie walks into the room.

Charlie:  (shaking head)  "I doth declare that anything thou might have learnt on Jeopardy this night is hereby negated due to all of this dothing."

Pua:  (still laughing at Caris who is still "doth declaring")  Huh?

Charlie:  If your brain sponges soaked up anything smart from Jeopardy tonight, that commerical just squeezed it out.

And as he walked away he said; "I doth declare."

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Laundry Day Fun With Pua

7:30 AM

There are 30 orphaned socks in this picture. Every one of them has a partner somewhere in my son's room, because he sneaks into my husband's sock drawer and steals them. I would go in there and try to find them, but my tetanus vaccination isn't up to date.

9:00 AM

I was ECSTATIC to find two orphaned socks in a recently dried load. So excited was I, that I ran to the "orphanage" in my dining room. I was giddy as I reunited a formerly separated sock with its partner. Then, on to the other sock. I feverishly went through the pile, one by one, to no avail. Yep, you guessed it. One leaves the orphanage, one enters. THIS, my friends, is the excitement of my life.

1:00 PM

I now have 38 orphaned socks. I have decided to stop looking for their partners, because each time I do, the population of the orphange grows. Which makes me think that I should check on those dishes in the sink. They may be doing dirty things. Like multiplying.

5:00 PM

Happy. But Not Happily Ever After - I thought I shouldn't leave those of you who were patiently waiting for the ending to my story hanging. All three of you. So, I want you to know that I bit the bullet and took one for the team. Cheesy cliches aside, I actually ventured into Bryson's room. Final tally from the orphanage: 42 married pairs of dress socks belonging to Charlie. I know you're excited for me, and yes, I deserve multitudes of praise. But don't dance the dance of sock joy yet. For you see, there are STILL 16 sad little SWPs (Socks Without Partners) living in the orphanage. ::sigh:: Poor babies. I fear I've done all that I can. If I can figure out a way, they might become scarves. That way, they can truly move up in the world. I know, I know. I such a giver.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Crying in My Coffee

This morning, I had quite a few errands to run and I wanted to get an early start.  These weren't the kind of errands where I would run into anyone I knew, so I opted for comfort over style.  Oh, who am I kidding.  I ALWAYS opt for comfort over style.

"Pua's Comfort Ensemble" consists of jeans, Uggs (shut up), and an oversized University of Hawai'i hoody sweatshirt.  It fit the ADORABLE  football player that it formerly belonged to perfectly, but on me, it's...very roomy.  Still, it's my favorite sweatshirt.  This would also be known as "Pua's After-Surfing Ensemble" if we were down at the beach.  No one there would give it a second thought.  In hindsight, perhaps I, myself, should have given it a second thought and remembered that I wasn't going surfing.

One of my stops was the bank, but I was about 45 minutes early.   I knew beforehand that there would be periods of waiting involved at some of my stops, so I was happy that I had remembered to throw my Kindle into my bag before I ran out the door.  I decided to walk to the restaurant across the street, sit down, have a cup of coffee, and read a little while until the bank opened.  The server, we'll call him Gary, who ushered me to my seat asked if I'd like something to drink and I asked him for some coffee and water.  He nodded pleasantly and said he'd be right back with my coffee.   Upon his return, he put down my coffee, held out the menu and with a big smile... said; 

     "Here doll, we've got some GREAT specials for you on the breakfast menu." 

Thanking him and returning his smile, I looked at the menu; "Golden 55 Menu; For our guests 55 and over."  Now, I KNOW that I may be a bit overdue for a color job at my temples,  but, honestly, it's just a few gray strands.  And my "Comfort Ensemble" hardly gives off the senior citizen vibe.  The "I just got out of bed" vibe, maybe.  But not the card-carrying AARP vibe (shut up).  No way.  My smile quickly disintegrated, and when I looked up at my server, who, I might add, had a full head of gray hair, his smile went away too. 

    "Oh, well, of course they're great specials IF it applies to you." 

Seeing that this only makes me pout, he quickly adds;  "Umm..hold on dear, I'll get the regular menu." 

On his way back, another customer approaches him and he says; "Can I help you, Sir?"

The customer politely reminds him that she is not a "sir".  To which he apologizes and says he'll return momentarily.  He hands me the regular menu and then leans over to whisper;

     "Oh my god, how embarrassing was that?"

To which I responded; "Looks like you're on a roll, Gary."

If you'll excuse me, I have a date with a box of L'Oreal.  I bought it with Gary's tip.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Hau'oli La Hanau, Ikaika

The first birthday without you.  It sucks.  But then, all of these "firsts" have sucked.  It's been hard without you.  My feelings about that are small compared to those of your friends, and especially those of your parents.  I'm not telling you stuff you don't already know.  You knew before you left us that that would be the case.  You talked about how worried you were about your mom and dad.  I promised you that we'd look after them.  And we have.  But you also knew that we would do that anyway.  We love them too.

Last week, just a few days before Christmas, your mom called and said she was looking through some pictures of you and one of the pictures had "orbs" in it.  We laughed together because ever since I told them about my orb experience back home in Hawai'i, they found comfort in thinking that picture orbs meant spirits, and perhaps your spirit is still amongst us.  I believe that anyway, orbs or not.

On Saturday, your parents had a BBQ to celebrate your birthday.  Your besties were there.  Again, I feel in my heart you already know this.  But, I have to tell you that my favorite part of the day was when Bry and I were there alone with your mom and dad.  Bry took a barstool over to your picture, put a beer up next to "you" and started to play his guitar.  Just him.  And you.  In a moment I won't soon forget.  I would have taken a picture, but it seemed very intrusive.  A moment between you two.  One of many between brothers and kindred souls, not meant to be infiltrated upon.  It moved me to tears and I turned away so as not to let your mom see my tears.  But when I looked at her, she was watching too and her eyes filled.  Oh sweet Jeff, you are so loved, and so missed.  My head is often in the "it's not fair" place.  But I remember that you NEVER said that.  You never felt sorry for yourself.  I know that we have to find comfort in that.  The time will come.  I hope.

Your dad made his rockin' ribs and we watched Led Zepplin on the BluRay.  We know you were there.  We just know.  Bryson and I argued over Kashmir and who looks better between Jimmy and Robert.  Your dad loved that I had Houses of the Holy and I was jealous that he'd been to their '75 concert at The Forum and my parents wouldn't let me go with my brother.  Now, THAT'S no fair!

When Jon, Edgar, and Karli got there, the conversation turned to Jon's tat in your honor and Edgar tried to put some fonts down for Bry's tat too.  Karli and Gina gave your parents the memorial book they'd put together since your Paddle Out.  Candles burned.


I think you're proud that your dad is picking up your guitar and wants to play.  He and Bry have already had some lesson seshes.  Things will be different.  I'm not ever sure they'll ever be okay, but they'll be better as time passes.  Watch over us, Ikaika.  Help us get over this long, hard, sadness that lingers in the wake of you going to that other place.  If we think of it as that Endless Summer journey, it helps.  If we think of it as you made it there, to that perfect wave, then it doesn't seem so bad.  So we'll keep thinking of it that way.  But there will never be a day when your sweet, gentle, funny, talented self, will not be missed.  That day will never come.  We love you.