Tuesday Morning Press 20 — Frankly M’dear…I Dunno: break-ups, filters, vampire chicks

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Today I go back to yoga. My kids have made it an entire week without one of them staying home for one complaint or another since JANUARY 2, 2013. Hallelujia.

You know that phrase, the classic break-up line, “It’s not you, it’s me” (that has been over-parodied on “Seinfeld,” “Friends,” “All in the Family” and probably in Garfield, but I daren’t ask my kids)?

It’s the line we’ve either all heard or said at least once in our lives. The funny (not ha-ha) part about it is that the speaker thinks s/he is sparing the other person’s feelings when s/he says something like this. The speaker is bullshitting saying, “you’re too awesome for me” or “I’m not good enough for you…” In reality, person A is saying it just wants out and is using person B’s awesomeness to rationalize their own unworthiness. Person A wants to get the hell out, but s/he doesn’t want to make person B sad (likely due to cowardice).

Wanna hear a terrific natural law? It’s true: the person being dumped isn’t The Problem. That’s not to say there aren’t flaws in the relationship, it’s that the person doing the dumping simply can’t deal — for a good reason, say addiction or a lame one, say ear lobe size (just sayin’) — and s/he needs to get out.

MMmmmaybe it’s me. Maybe the ear lobes aren’t the problem. I did NOT take this photo. I would never recover from it.

We think we’re cutting someone else some slack when we blame the failings on ourselves when in reality, we are cutting no one some slack. We’re just trying to leave without the door, brick, book, down pillow, terrifyingly fanged person, engagement ring, or Blackberry hitting us on the way out.

They need too much from us (our soul) our time; they want too much from us (our blood) our couch. We are selfish and we want too, but either we are afraid to say it (intimacy issues) or we clam up until we can’t take it anymore (intimacy issues). It’s ok. The thing is though, you might have some Work to do.

If you find yourself about to use this sentiment/line, stop. Be honest and say, “It’s not you, it’s me and here’s why… I simply don’t have it in me to keep this up. And then throw holy water on the person and run the hell away real fast I have fears and wants and needs and frankly, m’dear, they eclipse yours what happened to the moon? and you’re doing nothing for me: not emotionally, not spiritually, not platonically, not sexually, not satanically, not romantically [you fill in the blank] and what I once thought was great, groovy, safe, everlasting, normal and evergreen, I have come to realize of late: is just not where I am. My problems become greater / don’t go away when I’m around US…(and your contacts, in fact your whole vibe, man, are really freakin’ me out…)

If kids are involved, grow up and figure out your stuff. ‘Nuff said.

I dig movies, so much… there’s a great moment in the first 1/4 of “The Incredibles” when Mr. Incredible gets into some trouble after saving someone’s life.

The person he saved, Oliver Sansweet, decides to sue Mr. Incredible. This is unprecedented, so the suit filing launches a press conference, where Sansweet’s lawyer uses air quotes ” ” to satirize the benevolence of Mr. Incredible’s heroics.

All of a sudden, Sansweet shouts out in frustration and pain, seething and pointing at Mr. Incredible and cutting off his lawyer, “You didn’t save my life, you ruined my death, that’s what you did!” and you almost feel sorry for the guy. He clearly saw the situation differently. Why did I mention this? Filters.

I’m going to go one step further and anthropomorphize Mr. Sansweet, a computer-generated character, and also suggest that he was likely feeling embarrassment and humiliation (his filters) at being found out that he was in enough pain that he attempted CGI suicide hence his lashing out. Ok, someone call St. Elizabeth’s. They’re right up the road. I’ll go put on my trench coat backwards and stand on a fire hydrant just to help out.

We all have filters through which we experience the world and peoples’ actions. To wit:

We might perceive trash on the street as laziness, when in reality, it might have blown out of a trash container. That has happened to me!

We might see cigarette smoking as a disgusting “habit” whereas the smoker would likely love to stop. S/he has to sit outside in the winter outside his/her own home; s/he has an addiction.

We might feel as though our loved ones have betrayed us somehow, when in reality, we might be withholding, hard to approach, difficult to talk to and that also feeds the unhealthy dynamic.

We might consider someone in a motor-scooter as being lazy or self-indulgent. Maybe s/he was injured in a war or car accident.

We might consider an excessively tattooed and modified vampire/person as creepy and what the what? when in reality they’re just a person I can’t do this. I can do anything usually, but I can’t rationalize that woman… I mean, more power to her an’ all that, but please: I’m not Jesus.

True story: I had been on my therapist’s couch weekly for about six months. I had a tendency to be super quick and caustic. Sarcastic and so-called “witty.” I would judge people faster than Clarence Thomas. I would sum them up within 5 seconds. I married a saint; he is the opposite of me. One time, we were sitting in traffic and a disheveled man was crossing the street. Flying out of my sainted husband’s mouth were the words, “Wow, what a mess. He looks like he’s gonna ask for a hand-out.” To which I replied, “Huh. Maybe he’s had a bad week. Maybe he lost his job or his sister died recently.” And plain as the … tats on that vampire chick’s face up above in that photo (yes, I’m making you look), we looked at each other in astonishment. He said to me, “Wow. Who’da thunk?” and I said to him, “What happened to you?” That was when we knew we were on the bus to change.

I could go on and on about “The Incredibles,”: how deeply it dives to shine light on our own inadequacy issues and fears of being obsolete. How it dissects our issues with aging and our efforts to force things into something they are not; how it addresses and our challenges with fame, fitting in, and examines conflicts we may have with standing out and proudly using the gifts and talents we are blessed with having. It’s a great film; and yes: sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but never with Pixar.

I love Edna Mode, the designer of all the “Supers'” costumes, she is our newspaper-whacking inner super-ego: aided with laser-guided efficiency in seeing things as they are and yet still nurturing. In this scene, Helen (former “ElastiGirl”) is upset because she suspects her husband is cheating on her and she visits Edna to talk about a rip in her beloved’s Super’s costume.

We all need some Edna. And sometimes when I want to be Edna, it’s not worth my time. Some people aren’t ready for Edna. They unwittingly re-stripe the tiger…

We all have these people in our lives: friends, relations, casual acquaintances, hair stylists who can tend to … ok: wear a hole in a rug with renovated complaints. What I mean by ‘renovated’ is that it’s essentially the same issue (betrayal, narcissism, disappointment), but in a new scenario (same tiger, different stripes). I used to re-stripe a tiger; sometimes I still do about situations I don’t care about regarding people I don’t speak to anymore and then I get all “WHAT!?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” when I hear about them. It’s stupid of me. I see this happening with my relationship with my aging parents … as if our 25 years apart under separate roofs would suddenly change our dynamic…No. Why should I expect other people to change when I still think in old ways myself?

As one of my rowing coaches said, “The bad news is that it’s all your fault. The good news is that you can fix it.” She thought she was talking about the boat set, but I knew better.

Thank you.

ps – some administrative notes: I’m planning to organize this site. After 215 posts, it’s time. I am hoping to have a static front page. My “Who, What, When…” will comprise one page, the “5 Ws”; I will have “Series” and “Themes” (humor, mindfulness, parenting, aging… etc.) and “Fiction” and other things. so… not sure when, but I hope I’ll get it to happen by the end of the month. xoxo

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