Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Gag Me with a Spoon at the Office

Dear Eve,

How do I get the people I work with to take me seriously?  I look younger than I am plus I've been told that I'm bubbly, which to me that just means happy.  I dress to stay on trend instead of the plain suit, but I think that helps me look fresh and up to date.  I'm always participating and giving good ideas but I feel like I'm looked over again and again.

Help!  I love my job and want to move ahead in my organization.

Dear Bubbles,

You sound like a sweet girl.  Not exactly what you wanted to hear, huh?  But what you wrote points to that fact:  you're nice, thoughtful, hopeful for the future.  Everything that most of the dead souls in office work hate.

You've got to get it together and be miserable.  Only then you will join the herd, hate your job, and move forward in an organization that doesn't value individuality or new ideas.  That sounds like a place I'd like to work.

My suggestion is that you look for a new job, a job that suits your personality and appreciates a fresh approach to their business.  You should make a few changes along the way, though.  Let's tone down the "bubbly" to "positive."  I'm not suggesting that you be less than happy, but instead make sure your talk centers around the positive aspects of your work, not life in general.  Keep the super-happy and personal for after hours.  Next, you say you dress trendy and look younger than you are.  Perhaps you need to update your wardrobe to get forward-looking fashions that are more age-appropriate and giving you a little more gravitas, making your co-workers look at you, not just what you're wearing.  It will also help you integrate and look like a team-player (oh how I hate that word). You need to meet everyone half-way.  Put in the effort to fit in there, and you'll have the references you need to help you land that job that's going to fit you perfectly.

Then again, since you're not going anywhere at your current job, you could go total Flash Dance on them:  really buy into the super '80's trend that is so baffling it's awesome and show up smacking gum and talking like a Valley Girl.  That would be fun.  You can amuse yourself while your co-workers are plotting against you and waiting for you to die in a fire.  Or just waiting to hide an open a can of tuna under your desk so they can make jokes about your smelly vagina.  Mixing things up sounds like fun to me.  No way!  Yes way!  Like, totally.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Get on Board! We're Going to Crazytown!

Dear Eve,

I'm attracted to fixer-uppers--people that are a little or a lot broken that I think I can fix.  It's not just boyfriends but friends too.  I'm surrounded by half-crazy people and my life is full of drama.  I'm so busy putting out other people's fires I don't have much of a life.

I don't want to do this anymore.  Help!

Dear Rescuer,

Have you ever heard someone say that it's easier to clean someone else's house than clean your own?  Paying attention to someone else's business makes it easier for you to not deal with your own problems.  A lot of people that share your affliction come from families full of fixer-uppers, where often the kids had to take care of both parents and siblings, sometimes from a young age.  They were raised thinking that these were normal relationships, so it makes sense that someone would seek out this same dynamic when they get to be adults.  I'm betting that this applies to you to some degree.  In short, you grew up crazy, are a little crazy yourself and seek out the cra-cra because you love it like a recently-dead-celeb loved crack.

That said, you've asked for help because you want to stop this cycle.  Yay!  Go you!  The great thing is that you can do it and have a much more peaceful and happy life.  Getting there, however, is going to take a lot of work because you're going to have start renovations from the ground floor and go up.  I'm talking therapy here, babe.  Lots and lots of therapy because you're going to have to learn parent yourself and be that guiding voice that helps you figure out who's going to be good for you and who will hold you back and possibly get you sent to jail.  You're going to have to cut and run from a lot of people.  Hopefully you'll still  have a few friends and family members who will fit into your new, healthy life but, if not, don't settle.  Someone's that's a little bit crazy is still crazy.

Knowing that you're the problem and that you're not a victim is a blessing.  I can just imagine you: 9 1/2 feet tall, swinging a pole at all those people that are there to take you down.  Don't let them do it, woman.  Make sure you give them the dirty end of that stick, too, because you, well, you're done taking other people's shit.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Will You Marry...Psych!

Dear Eve,

How do I get my boyfriend to propose to me?  He said he was going to after he graduated but that was 2 months ago.  Now he's just told me that it's not gonna happen until he finds a job in his field.  I've told him how important it is to me and it's not like I want to get married right away, but I think after 2 years that I am more than a girlfriend, especially since he says that we will get married one day, just not now.  WTF?

Dear Never a Bride,

I've known women that have put a lot of pressure on their mate to give them a super memorable engagement story that they can tell over, and over, over again to show everyone that their fiance is thoughtful and romantic and madly in love with them and aren't-you-so-jealous?  I hope you're not expecting that because it's kinda pathetic and unfair.  If that's not the case (praise bob if it's not), it could be that you've simply given him sole control over the trajectory of the relationship, which would be unfair also.  You're allowing him to make what should be a joint decision, alone.  Your eggs won't be fresh forever (if that's your choice) and I've known ladies that have been jolted out of 6,7,10 year relationships after waiting for a man to grow up, only to break up and have him marry someone else post-haste.  You see, you've set up a bad precedent.  Why should he marry you when he knows you will stick around with out a ring?  He knows that you don't want to get married right away.  My assessment is that he's being an asshole.

First, you need to decide whether or not you want to marry him knowing that he is insensitive and unresponsive to the things that are most important to you, then, if the answer is yes, ask him to be your groom.  If you're going to whinge about him failing you and do nothing then you're as bad as he is.  Take control of your destiny, madam.  Take this guy out of the driver's seat.  With him, you're headed straight for a jersey wall spray-painted with a timeless "I Love Pookie," which would be such an ironic and sad way to go.  But I am happy for Pookie.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Flash Friday

Does he love me?
No.  If you have to ask, then he doesn't, at least not in the way that you need him to.

Should I quit my job?
No!  Unless you have been offered a better job and all you have to do is say "yes" to get on the payroll.

Is my friend mad at me?
Probably.  Or, at the very least, she is tired of you being so insecure.

Why can't I find right Mr. Right and why do I always date losers?
Your dad is kind of a douche and you're dating mini versions of him.  You need therapy.  Get serious help and you will meet Mr. Right.  I promise.

Am I pretty/handsome?
Hell yeah!  You look great. I'm glad you asked.  It's a shame no one's told you before now.

Will I ever be happy?
Yes.  I think you're ready to make better decisions and be proud of yourself which will certainly bring on the smiles. 

Should I go out tonight and party with my friends or stay home and chill for once?
Stay home.  If it's rare for you to relax at home, a change will do you good.  Too much partying hurts your liver and your psyche.  Everyone needs to re-charge.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I Got Your Politics Right Here

::Rubs hands together and looks maniacal::

It's election time, bitches!  Nothing raises my blood pressure more than the shenanigans that surround the election process in the USA.  I'm not sure what it's like in other countries, but as I get older the citizenry gets more divided, the hate more vitriolic, and there seems to be almost no tolerance of opposing views.  I could call for more understanding; for "can't we all just get along"'s but that shit ain't happening because I am just as bad as the people I rail against.  Ask me if I'm losing sleep over my own divisive zealotry.  The answer would be "No way, Jose."   There is no shaking hands with people that believe that I'm immoral and brain-washed, especially when they're immobile in their belief.  Presenting them with facts, both personal and political, means nothing.  It has been decided:  I am everything that is wrong with this country.

You tell me:  How can I possibly get along with someone that believes that if you oppose their view you are anti-American?  Or that their religious views should be made law and that their life-style choice is the only acceptable one and that it should be legislated?  How can I take seriously people that reject the same science that brings them their life-changing medical miracles but then decide that the same scientific process is not accurate when they disagree with the outcome?  And how can I have a conversation with someone that readily believes garbage and blatantly illogical, absurd "facts" because a very biased news source says, ad nauseum, that it's so?

I am so not tolerant, so unable to meet these people "in the middle" because, face it people, there is no stinking middle!  The closest thing to the middle is the bottomless abyss that separates the two most popular political parties that we've been blessed with so far;  an abyss that grows wider as the election cycle moves to its close.

I am beginning to seek out news stories to make myself more furious, specifically ones that give me a sense of self-righteous indignation equal only to Snookie's denial that she gave Mike "The Situation" a blow-job on "The Jersey Shore."  I need to give myself some advice before I have another aneurysm.  Here it goes:

Dear Me,

Stop embarrassing yourself by entering into a national debate that, in the end, is pointless because it's not a debate at all.  It is a useless shouting match not unlike that one that you had with your son this morning when he was determined to wear holey socks to school and you, for reasons unknown, were convinced the world would end if this happened, so you had an embarrassing temper tantrum that ended up with you in the floor, random socks in hand, dazed and confused as said holey socks sailed over you and bounded happily out the door.  It's insane to invest energy into an argument you will not win and shouldn't have had in the first place.

Give up politics for lent.  Everyone around you will love you for it and maybe you can take that extra time and work on the fact that you're a godless heathen that is weakening this country and making it possible for the devil to continue to sit in the White House proving that we are in the End Times.  And pick up after the the four damn horses that are in the yard.  ::shakes stick at the horses::  GET OFFA MA LAWN!

ps This does not pertain to anyone that has normal political interests.  Only the crazies like me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Shut the Front Door, or Your Mouth--Whichever's Closest

Dear Eve,

How do I tell my friend she talks too much?  It's driving me crazy!  I truly love her and she doesn't have any other annoying habits but I'm not the only one that starts looking for the door whenever she opens her mouth.

I don't want to offend her, but I also don't want to have to duck tape her mouth.  I'm also afraid of it hurting our friendship by criticizing her and then maybe we won't be friends?  Help!

Dear Friend,

Oh, how I feel for you!  I have a very good friend who could talk the legs off a chair.  Thank goodness she's aware of this tendency and we can all tease her about it, or beg her to shut up, when it gets bad.  It turns out that she has adult ADD and long-winded story-telling is a symptom. Perhaps your friend can't help it, though whether or not she can won't save your ears or your sanity.

Begin by talking yourself off the ledge.  Don't lend this the gravitas that it doesn't merit.  It's a sticky situation for sure but you shouldn't let it get to the "OMG!  We're gonna break up if I criticize her!" stage.  In the scheme of things, it's not a big deal.  Now, because this is a situation of perception I'd recommend you approach it indirectly.  If you met the problem head on and said "Friend, you talk so much sometimes my ears bleed afterward" she might want examples or remind you that it's your perception, and that no one else has ever said that to her.  She would be right.  Instead, redirect your conversation when she goes on a tangent.  Interrupt her, often if necessary, and ask her pointed questions about the original topic you were discussing.  Make the effort to take control of your conversations by talking more, a lot more if need be.  When you do that, eventually, your dynamic will change.  Of course that won't affect other people ice-picking their own ears whenever she opens her mouth, but you can't make that your concern.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fat-Bottomed Moms Make Everything Go 'Round

Dear Eve,

I'm fat.  20 pounds overweight to be precise.  I gained weight after my kids were born and I'm not even sure how.  I wasn't doing anything different!  I've always been sexy, well before anyway, and kept myself in shape.

It doesn't matter though.  I don't like the way I look and no matter how hard I try I can't seem to budge it.

What can I do?  I swear it's not possible to eat less or workout more.  I'm already at my max.

Dear Chubby (just kidding :)),

Motherhood has a way of being a great equalizer.  Suddenly a woman very in control of her life, unlike those other women, is put in a situation where, possibly, she doesn't have much control over her life or her body.  Children are crying, crawling, chaos machines.  Your body, if you're one of the unlucky ones, can become an anarchist, no longer wanting to conform to laws it's been governed by in the past.  It begins to make its own rules and basically makes you its bitch. Your world changes in more ways than you signed up for and it sucks.

Start to think about life after motherhood as the equivalent to moving to a new country.  There is a new culture and language, new people around you, and a period of immersion and assimilation. Hopefully you'll fall in love with the place once you've settled.  Accept that you are not who you were.  This new woman is by far more awesome and strong.  She has a body that can make people for bob's sake!  And included in the fabulous new you is the gift of a few extra pounds.  That is your lot.  Some women get a whole lot more, some even lose weight.  Que sera, sera.

I think you've made yourself invisible.  "Don't look at me, the fatty.  This is not me!  The real me was before!  This is not a fair representation of who I am.  I promise!"  But this is the real you.  You are twenty pounds overweight.  That is a fact.  You are bigger than you were before and I bet the only person that cares is you.  I'll say this in the nicest way I know: Get the fuck over it. Well, that isn't really nice, but it'll do.  You need a kick in the pants.  When we put a lot of emphasis on our weight, we short-change ourselves happiness.  Own that this is a superficial problem the you are allowing to take root on a non-superficial level and you know that you are better than that.

While you're changing your outlook, do a little shopping and pick clothes that flatter what you've got.  Look in the mirror and be your best friend.  Instead of focusing on the flaws, look at the awesomes.  It may sound impossible, but bigger women have done it.  Ample boobage is a gift from heaven.  A junky-trunk is even better.  A few belly rolls? Meh.  Totally pointless.

Accept the woman you've become.  She's more interesting and a hell of a lot wiser than girl she's left behind.  And now you've got it in the front and the back.  What more could you ask for?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Go Forward! Move Ahead! It's Not Too Late...

Dear Eve,

How do I let my husband know that while I appreciate all he does it just isn't enough?  Like he'll load the dishwasher but never empty it and he'll sweep up but never dust.  It drives me insane.  I finish completely everything I start.  I don't want to sound unappreciative because I know he does more than other guys I know but I'm starting to be resentful.   And I don't want that either.  I've tried to gently talk about it with him and he says he'll do better but it doesn't last and sometimes he reacts by not doing anything for a while.  He feels that I don't appreciate anything that he does so why bother.  I will say that he does other things to help out --man stuff-- but I don't think carrying his share of the household clean-up is too much to ask.

How do I get my husband to help out more?

Dear Whip-Cracker,

This is such a cliche, isn't it?  The husband that just doesn't get it and the resentful wife tip-toeing around the subject.   Let's end it there, though, and skip the years of pent-up anger and nagging that will lead to divorce when you're kids are in college.  When that happens, kids don't feel angry or guilty at all knowing that you spent decades living a lie just for them.   You loved them that much!

The fact that you don't want to feel this way anymore is a great first step.  The goal is for you to get the help you want and for your husband to feel appreciated for what he does.  The first step is for you to stop being his mom.  There's a couple of reasons for this, but the most important is that no one wants to have sex with their mom, except Oedipus of course, but he was the king of Thebes so it doesn't count.  You know how those Thebians are.  You're nagging him, judging what he does and, in return, he's petulant and reluctant to go the distance for fear it still won't be good enough.

Step back and look at him as an equal.  If he was one of your girlfriends would you act this way?  I doubt it.  If it was your friend you would probably poke fun but be brutally honest.  No games.  No worries about hurt feelings because you choose not to make it a big deal.  Treat him as you would your best friend.  In fact, if you let him, he will be the best friend you've ever had.  You will find that he stops acting like a child if you stop treating him like one.

Do this and you'll see a positive change, though it probably won't be the complete turn-around you're looking for, but you've got to respect that.  You are built to be a cleaning machine; he's not and probably will never be. It's important that you believe that he is doing his best.  Stop honing in on his shortcomings and notice the good work he does.  You said he helps out in other ways.  Does he take care of the cars, house maintenance, the yard?  Think of how much harder your life would be if he didn't.

Then again, maybe I'm over-thinking things.  For lack of a better analogy, go all Pavlov on his ass.  Every time he does something excellent give him a blowjob.  They're a quick and easy reinforcement technique.  Just ask my best friend.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Great Institution

Dear Eve,

Should I go to church?

Dear Heathen,

Who are you kidding?  The internet is your God.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ugly American Seeks Ditch Digger

Dear Eve,

Help me!  I can't relax the way my family thinks I should and they are worried about my health.  I have a very stressful job and work long hours so on the weekends I like to catch up on house and yard work and it's the only time I have to exercise.  I can't sleep in or just hang out with my family or loaf around.  There are things that need to get done!  I have to be productive or I feel like I've wasted my precious time.  Getting things done is relaxing in my own way.  I like being productive.  Plus I do let off steam. I work hard and play hard just like most of the people I work with.  I get my drink on with friends and sometimes over do it -I'm not perfect-, but only after I've gotten my work done.

My family doesn't understand me and keep telling me that I'm going to burn out, or worse, if I don't start relaxing their way.  Are they right?

Dear Working Person,

What do you think?  It doesn't sound like you're convinced you're  on your way to a stroke or heart attack and you know yourself best, right?  A lot of people that work hard at work also work hard at life and that is awesome!  So you can't hang out in your pj's all day and watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy  while eating Geno's Pizza Rolls.  That's okay.  When a person is doing something they enjoy, that is their form of r&r.  No one should judge you on that.  If you enjoy digging a ditch all day on the south side of your property to get optimal drainage so that, in turn, you're almost guaranteed that your American Beauties are going to be prize-worthy, and even when you have to start over again when the trench is a few degrees off the ideal, but you don't mind because it makes you feel awesome and proud of yourself when you work hard and get it right, by all means, get to it. If afterwards, you reward yourself with a nice dinner in the garden and game night with the family, that's a bonus!  If you're happy and you know it, dig a ditch, ::clap! clap!::

However, if digging that ditch comes after your standard Friday evening unwinding session, where you accidentally get knee-walking drunk and smoke all of your neighbor's cigarettes, then get up early the next morning for a punishing 5 mile run because you did it again and now everyone knows you're not perfect, then all day you yell at your kids and spouse 'till a fly wouldn't land on them because they don't know how to dig a ditch properly and DO I HAVE TO SHOW YOU EVERYTHING NEVER MIND I'LL DO IT MYSELF, and this is a normal day off for you, then step back and look at yourself.  You're a mess.

If this is how you roll, relaxing is the least of your problems.  The I-Work-Hard-And-Play-Hard justification is usually the mantra of the binge drinker or the baby alcoholic.  Add a (not) healthy dose of anger, good old-fashioned verbal abuse, and, of course, major stress at work, and you are a good candidate for a stroke, heart attack, or a mental breakdown.  The scariest thing, though, is the chance that you're isolating yourself from your family and not loving them the way they need to be loved.  You sound lonely and will be lonelier if you don't take a honest look at yourself.

I agree with your family.  Re-evaluate your idea of relaxing.  Right now you're a walking cliche:  the unhealthy, over-worked, out of touch American bouncing from one stress to another, never stopping to smell the roses on which you've worked so hard to cultivate.  Don't give the French any more fodder, please.  We have it bad enough with the frogs.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Love Me or I'll Say You Have Crabs

Dear Eve,

I miss my friend very much.  We used to see each other a lot or  talk or text but now she blows me off when I try to get together or even text.

The problem was that I got very sick last year and was out of touch with everyone, even her.  But she never tried to get in touch with me either.

I feel like she's decided that my illness is not going away that she doesn't want a "sick" friend or the drama that comes with that like canceling at the last minute or not being able to say "fine" when she asked me how I'm doing.

Is it too late and should I stop putting myself out there?

Dear Friend,

Yes! You might as well be a puppy trying to catch it's tail for all the good it will do you to call her one more time. When you're in poor health it can be difficult to maintain friendships and you quickly find out who your thick-n-thin friends are.  It  can be a great sadness when you lose some one you're close to for something you have no control over.

Believe that she never was a thick-n-thin friend.  If she was, she would understand how drastically your life has changed and be there for you, even if it's just a phone call now and then.  A good friend knows that life can give you a shitty hand when you didn't even know you were playing a game and then  dry your tears when you feel like you're losing.

And for the days when you might feel particularly tender, remember that old saying: If you love someone set them free.  If they don't come back to you make a voodoo doll in their likeness, set it on fire and consider pissing on it to put it out.  Just a suggestion.  Or tell everyone she's got crabs. The situation doesn't really warrant these reactions, but you're sick and probably bored, so what the hell.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fear and Self-loathing on Facebook

Dear Eve,

I don't have many close friends so I hope you'll help me.  I have a lot of anxiety when I post on to Facebook.  I go over and over what I'm going to write then check back over and over to see if anyone has commented or liked what I wrote.  If no one does then I feel terrible.  Does everyone feel like this?  I just wanna be normal with Facebooking.

Dear Facebooker,

You say you don't have many close friends so I'll make an assumption that you're a little shy and  a little private, so posting on a social networking site is probably way out of your comfort zone.  I can understand a few butterflies when you're putting yourself out there in the beginning.  However, it sounds like you have more than just a little social anxiety.  I don't think that's unusual either, but it's causing you distress so let's deal with it.

You need to remind yourself that no one is judging you.  Honestly, your posts are just chatter on the world wide web.  Everyone is bombarded with so many status updates it very easy to get lost in the shuffle.   Make an effort to comment on or "like" posts made by your friends and they'll see that you want to be a part of the chatter.  You know how good it feels when you're acknowledged.  It makes other people feel good too!  Get in on the conversation and, organically, you'll have more friends interacting with your posts too.  Will every post get hits?  No.  Remember that you don't comment on every post you read either.  When you don't comment does it mean you thought negatively of that post?  Hell no!  It just didn't elicit a strong response from you.

As you post more, you should find that it's enjoyable.  If you never do, though, maybe an online presence is not for you.  The important thing is that it sounds like you want to connect more with people.  Online or in real life you're doing a great thing for yourself.  Focus on that and don't take FB too seriously.  Remind yourself that it's just a little ol' website.  It's not something important like World of Warcraft or Words with Friends.  Lose sleep over those, please.  People actually die for not taking those more seriously.  THEY DIE!  THEY REALLY DIE!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Do As I Say...

Recently, I've been giving Minor Classes in how not to wave your ass in the air and fling your dirt on social networking sites.  The stink of desperation in some posts makes me cringe more than my annual hooha check.  Having been "That Girl" at one time in my life, I'm  driven to intervene in the more grievous incidents of over-sharing and sympathy trolling. All a person needs is a mirror most of the time and I am happy to point one out to any walking pity-party.

My favorite kind of post, and the one that by far makes me want to poke needles in my eyes is the "No one loves me." post.  There's usually an undercurrent of "I know I'm not lovable but I'm really happy that you are all perfect.  Really."  Boys, girls and the in-between, I'm telling you that this is not the way to win friends or even have people feel sorry for you.  You are telling people, in essence, that you are depressed, envious of your friends and simultaneously have no energy or interest in changing.

Of course, you think  that baring your soul so bravely on the interwebs and your complete and honest assessment of your worthlessness will endear you to someone who crushes on Edward Scissorhands or perhaps someone who believes that they've been put on this earth to see the worthiness in the worthless.  Or maybe you secretly want to entrench yourself in assholeville, guaranteeing that you will one day be with naught but your boo-hoo-hooing posts and the attending anemic 'attaboys to get your through your miserable life.  Either way, it's tiresome and you're a grown-up.

It's bad enough that your neighborhood emo girl practically pity-trolls as a part-time job, and her counterpart, the misunderstood young man whose mama never loved him and whose dad is a crackhead or some version of a crackhead, lays himself out to be crucified regularly--they are quite enough for anyone's newsfeed.  Step back and listen to me.  If you really are miserable, alone and have no hope for your future, are truly unlovable and destined to never be loved the way you want to be loved, I'm sure everyone already knows it.  We don't need to be reminded because if you are this guy or gal you've already shared the good news, in person, ad nauseum.  You're olympic-sized pity-grabs weren't born out of the internet, you've just found a new medium to torture everyone with.

For the love of bob, please stop the verbal water-boarding.  No matter your circumstance sharing your troubles with a bunch of people that really don't care is not going to make it better.  Find a few real life friends and bend their ear and then listen to them, too.  Being the mayor of Me-ville in the state of Self-Absorption is a false existence.  You are connected.  Honor those connections and you'll find yourself less-inclined to vomit self-loathing on any pair of shoes pointed in your direction.  Then, when you actually do vomit, you'll have friends by your side to not only fetch you a bucket but to hold back your hair, too.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I shall give Good Advice.  You'll see.