The Stories We Tell

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After participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge during the month of April, I decided to take a break for a couple of weeks from writing here. A lot happened during April that made me reevaluate some things in my life, and to do some hard pondering about where I’ve been and where I’m going. Read more

The World Will Dwarf You (U.B.C. – Day 29)

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The weather here has been absolutely lousy the last few weeks. We’ve had a few beautiful sunny days, but they’ve been far outnumbered by the rainy and raw spring days where the temperature hovers in the low 50s, just warm enough for the flowers and trees to begin peeking their heads up, but not nearly warm enough to make the people hibernating want to poke their heads out the door. Thinking about being anywhere but here naturally makes me think about all the wonderful places I’ve been and all the amazing places I’ve still yet to see. Read more

When I Ruled the World (U.B.C. – Day 28)

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Cleaning my office, aka the laundry room over our garage, recently, I found a batch of photographs from my first trip overseas. A friend from high school had moved to Paris after college and routinely sent me postcards and letters regaling me with his adventures living the life of an expat. Everything sounded so glamorous, and I knew I just had to get my foot in the door so that I, too, could become cosmopolitan and mysterious, just as he had. Read more

Castle Island (U.B.C. – Day 21)

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Today was a gorgeous day here in eastern Massachusetts, sunny and although the temperature reached the high 60s by late afternoon, for the start and running of most of the marathon, it was in the mid-50s to low 60s; perfect running weather for the Boston Marathon.

Because the majority of roads around us close at 8:30 am and stay that way until late afternoon, I decided to get out of dodge and scheduled a playdate with The Boy and a friend of his from nursery school whose mother just happens to be a great friend of mine, as well. We decided to go biking with the boys at Castle Island in South Boston. Read more

It’s a Pretty Good Day (U.B.C. – Day 11)

Today was a pretty good day.  The nasty spider bite underneath my left eye has finally turned from purple and red back to my regular complexion color, and the swelling has gone down so that I no longer look like I ran into somebody’s Superbowl ring.  Here’s what it looked like for the past couple of days:

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It was warm and relatively sunny today, around 68 degrees, which for these parts is a veritable heatwave.  I had time to take a trek into Boston to get my hair done, which always makes me feel pretty.  I took The Boy to Dairy Queen for the first Blizzard of the season, then we hit a movie, Rio 2. All around a good day.  Happy Friday! MadnessofJoy-monogram

The Rising (U.B.C. – Day 10)

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Driving home the other day I heard Bruce Springsteen‘s song “The Rising.”  I hadn’t heard it in years, so as I felt the goosebumps rise on my arms, I turned up the volume and tuned in my mind to listen. Read more

Ultimate Blog Challenge – Day 1

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Since the blogging goals I set for myself have been thrown so far off track by life, I decided to jump into April with both feet and join the Ultimate Blog Challenge and post new content each day. I can’t promise mind-blowing thoughtful and philosophical content each day, but I can promise that I will post something every day during the month of April, even if it’s just a selfie of me bashing my head into the nearest wall. Haha, I’m just kidding. I think. Read more

Letting Go

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I‘ve been having a lot of trouble letting go lately. No matter that I know I need to do it, I can’t seem to let go: of my anger towards people whom I believe are acting in ways to harm my family or who are acting so selfishly that harm to others is inevitable; of the unattainable perfectionism that often grabs me by the throat and threatens to shut down my breathing when I fight her; of myself. I know it‘s unhealthy to focus and obsess, but I can’t seem to get my head wrapped around letting go and relinquishing control. Read more

Shared Experiences? Not.

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I’ve been getting questions about my experiences with particular individuals with whom I’ve had contact or relationships over the years of my life. In particular, whether my experience with people makes a statement about those individuals. It does not.

Any experience I’ve had in my lifetime and about which I may write here is MY experience. Nothing more. My writing about something makes no specific statement about the person or people with whom I’ve shared that experience. It makes a statement about ME, and how I perceived, distilled, and internalized the experience of engaging with that person or those people.

I’ve known and interacted with a lot of people over my lifetime as we all have. And guess what? The person we knew in high school may be the same at the twenty-fifth reunion, but they may also be hugely different because of the life they experienced over those twenty-five years. We may only know a father as a devoted family man who attends all of his kids’ sports and school events, but when we meet an old friend of his from college, we may find out that he was known among his fraternity brothers as a bit of a womanizer.

The girl with whom we shared a cubicle wall when we first started working at age 22 may be just as much of a flirtatious man-eater at 45 when we run into her on the street lo those many years later, or she may be a happily married mother of four who shudders to think of her early dating history. The sweet boy who worked in the office fax room and smiled shyly at you may always stay that shy and unassuming, or he may come out of his shell and develop a thick skin along the way to becoming a successful businessman who treats people callously.

The point is lives have chapters, many chapters. We all have second, third, fourth, and even more, acts to our stories. And that’s just what our lives, our pasts are…stories. Our stories. Not the stories of those with whom we’ve interacted or with whom we’ve had relationships, personal or professional.  Does the experience of the first or second chapter of a life negate the experiencing of a third, fourth or later chapter?  Of course not.

I once had a boss who hacked into my e-mail account while I was going through my divorce because he was sure that I had left my husband for him and was jealous that I was dating other men. Apparently, he thought that violating my privacy and betraying my trust was the ideal way to get me to have a relationship with him. Do I believe that he treated every other woman in his life that way? Of course not. Do I believe that he would treat me the same way now? No. Would I ever again give him the chance to treat me that way? No effing way. But simply because that was MY experience with him, in no way does my relating my experience and my feelings about that experience mean that he was guaranteed to treat the next woman he was with the same way. In fact, I am pretty sure that his later life experience of marrying and having a daughter ensured that he would never do such a thing again.

In my twenties, I had a friend who claimed she didn’t like sex. Years later, when she was in an entirely different situation and different relationship, she confessed to me that she had been so wrong about that. If her original statement had been taken as an indictment of her as a person and her ability to enjoy physical intimacy, she might never have gotten into the second relationship. But the person with whom she shared the later relationship didn’t hear about the statement until she chose to reveal it. Her new partner didn’t take her first partner’s experience and internalize it as his own.

Everyone reacts to different people in different ways. Every moment in our lives is different, and our actions and reactions vary from each moment to the next because once a moment is past, we can never recreate it.

So for anyone who thinks that my relating my experiences says something about the individuals with whom I shared those experiences, do so at your own risk. These are MY experiences, MY interpretations, MY feelings. You might be missing out on something or someone fabulous. Seasons change. Circumstances change. Most of all, people change.

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