Doing a 180… and the importance of being informed

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “180 Degrees.”

I grew up on the Southwest side of Chicago, the land of city workers, police, fire fighters, union workers  Chicago Public School teachers and Democrats. That’s the way it is still is, especially in my old neighborhood and many in that region. Not that there’s anything wrong with that specifically, but you should  grow and a change and learn new things as you get older. Just going along to getting along is what most people do, which is why Chicago and many other cities are in shambles.  It’s why the United States is in trouble. Questioning the status quo and seeking information does not make you unpatriotic or a conspiracy theorist, it makes you an informed person.  There is too much trust in government and politicians at all levels that they have the people’s best interests in mind, and they take advantage of this.

It was about seven years ago that Boyfriend and I started reading more and started seeking news from alternative sources other than the alphabet news channels (CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox and FBN), such as Infowars.com, theblaze.com, Naturalnews.com, lewrockwell.com and truthinmedia.com. They don’t give you the whole story, and sometimes give you a slanted version of the truth, depending on their ownership and sponsors. Out of convenience, I do still get some of my news from these other sources but hold them in a different regard than I did before. There is a wealth of knowledge out there if you look for it and care to know the truth on the internet, on the radio, and in books. You will find some of the truth scary, depressing, shocking, and angering but you will be informed about the world around you. I came across a video recently of Hillary Clinton supporters who were presented with the exact opposite of what she supports and the people did not know fact from fiction. While some might discredit the video, it shows the sad state of uninformed society who, not only don’t know that they are being duped, but they don’t care that they are being duped. You can find the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0SnIgOwZ3A  I’m sure that the same could be found of people blindly supporting other candidates as well. 

I used to automatically support certain candidates and causes without knowing the back story. While I believe that my country should defend itself, I have a different opinion of war after reading “War Is A Racket” by Smedley Butler. I also learned a lot by reading “Confessions of An Economic Hitman” by John Perkins; “None Dare Call It Conspiracy” by Gary Allen; “We The Living” by Ayn Rand; and “Constitutional Chaos” by Andrew Napolitano.  I would recommend each of these books and many more to anyone interested in history, war, the economy, the government’s role in many areas of life, or freedom and liberty. I have trouble grasping some of the reality and concepts of how our world works, but the puzzle begins to make sense the more pieces you put together. I am no longer someone who goes with the grain or votes with the grain. I believe that there are a few politicians who are more for the good of the people, that support true liberty and freedom, and who do want to serve honestly. I support them, cautiously, and am not so tied to a party as I was, though I now lean Tea Party/Libertarian rather than Democrat. So much focus on regulating, protecting this right or that right, and how someone might be offended does nothing but detract from everyone’s right, in my opinion. 

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

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Lessons From Childhood

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt on 05/29/15: “Childhood Revisited.” Sure, you turned out pretty good, but is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood? If you have kids, is there anything you wish were different for them?

A child is like a sponge because he or she absorbs the good and the bad around them, from kindness to meanness,  open-mindedness to racism, patience to impatience, you name it. Even though we are all born with certain genes and traits, we unknowingly observe and learn how to become people from family, friends, teachers, caretakers, neighbors, etc. Me and my dog

In my experience, I learned how to be loyal and hardworking from my parents but I also learned that staying in an unhappy relationship is ok because that’s what they did. After a few unhappy, conflicted relationships as a young adult/college student, I learned that they are wrong, and that things can get complicated. I learned that people often don’t care  or pay attention if your feelings are being hurt by other kids because “everyone gets teased.” As an adult, I have learned that people with that opinion are either narcissistic, a bully or some similar variety of maladjusted. I learned that honesty should be the best policy but sometimes can be held against you, yet you should be honest if possible so you rest with a clear conscious. I learned that you should see the best and worst-case scenarios when you dream and make plans for your future. I later learned that, if you make a plan A and a plan B, you can reach your dreams while avoiding the worst-case scenarios and still getting close to your best-case scenario… Most importantly, you should go for IT, even if it means you work your way up and out of a Podunk town to the big leagues. I learned that parents love you (ideally) and although they mean well, they are not even close to having all of the answers. You have to learn from their good example and bad example, and find positive role models to guide you if your family can’t.  I also learned a little later on that you can’t choose your family, and sometimes you need to keep your distance if they are unhealthy, toxic and detrimental to your freedom and well-being. Chrellie with  Brother and Paternal Grandparents

I wish that I would have embraced my differences and that I would have realized that I was the special kid that my paternal grandparents told me that I was. I sometimes wish I would have punched just one bully from my wonderful Roman Catholic grade school because the teasing that teachers didn’t address would have stopped. I would have gladly taken the punishment. I wish I would have moved on and taken my own path sooner than I did because I held on too long to friendships that had grown apart. I am glad that I was an avid reader and writer, and that my family and paternal grandfather took us to zoos, museums, and to the Grant Park Symphony. I’m glad they taught me how, to get around Chicago. I absorbed a lot of great memories, and the rest made me the unique person I am.

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

Learning About Myself

I was a shy kid who got teased. I had short hair for a long time, played an unpopular sport, and had a funny last name, all of which provided opportunities for others to tease me. I was talkative to the few friends I had and to my family, but I remained shy for a long time in a lot of situations until college. My roommate for most of college was very outgoing, and it was hard not to absorb a little of that when I got around a group of people. I thought I was an extrovert, partially because I was talkative in comfortable settings and because I work in a social services.

I am not someone who has ever had a large group of friends, like my brother does. Socializing with others comes very easy to him and everyone loves him.  I have mostly had a few people I was close with, and I still prefer to interact on that basis. I get lost in a big crowd, and still have trouble figuring out what to say to people I don’t know unless I can find a connection or it is work-related and I go into that frame of mind.  I went through a period in my twenties, like a lot of people, when I would go to bars and hang out but I still mostly spent time with people I already knew. While I did enjoy some of these times, I allowed myself to make poor or limited choices by not breaking away and branching out a little. The one good choice I made was to talk to the guy who is now Boyfriend, and it took me 20 minutes to think of what to say to him.

By Anneli Rufus
By Anneli Rufus

Boyfriend is an introvert but has a very warm personality. A few years ago he found out about a book called Party Of One: A Loner’s Manifesto by Anneli Rufus and recommended I read it after he did. It was a great book! I found myself intrigued and relating to some of what Rufus talked about. He then read Quiet: The Power of Introverts In  A World That can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I read that book, too, which kind of gelled with my interest in psychology. Over time, I’ve read a few more books about introverts and extroverts and learned a lot.  One I really like is Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe. While I can be very talkative and open in a comfortable setting, I still get nervous, I freeze, and sometimes I react by saying the exact wrong thing. I have learned that, even amongst people I like and feel connected to, I reach a limit and need time to recover and that it is ok to be “boring” and not join the group. After dealing with toxic people I feel stressed and anxious, which I notice more now than I did when I was used to chaos. Writing really helps, so does exercise, and also music, whether after work or other interactions.  I  believe that I am a mix of introvert and extrovert, and that’s fine by me.

By Susan Cain
By Susan Cain
By Laurie Helgoe
By Laurie Helgoe

Learning about yourself and what you need to be healthy and happy is very important. As I’ve written before in other posts, you have to choose wisely because some choices are long-lasting and expensive to change, such as a career path. Yet, sometimes you can scratch a certain itch in other ways, such as writing a blog when you have the desire to be a writer.   I scratch the athlete itch by working out and playing tennis when I have a chance.  I stay away from some social situations that are unhealthy or stressful  so I can be less stressed. I am still learning about myself everyday, and trying to improve for my betterment.

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

Recovering From The Chaos…

The past few weeks have been… interesting.

First, I had the long-awaited visit from my mother and my aunt, which went well for the most part. My mother and my aunt are the middle and youngest children, respectively, and they are very different in their opinions. Yet, they are both very talkative and competitive of each other, but neither would admit to this. Both women are in their mid-to-late 60’s , overweight, and they love me dearly. I was glad to see my mother and my aunt, but I  was disappointed when my mother became somewhat jealous of me and my aunt talking, as I enjoyed hearing stories about my uncle and eight cousins that I had not previously heard. My mother would interrupt, add to the conversation in ways that didn’t may sense and would throw zingers at both me and my aunt, which Boyfriend witnessed, rather than telling us how she really felt. There were even moments when my mother channeled my father’s impatience, disagreeableness and negativity, which surprised me. Boyfriend and I tried to plan a few things to do and places to go that would allow us all to spend time together, see some sights and eat good food.  The high points, for me, were their appreciate for Boyfriend and for his patience, good nature and how good he is to me, and learning about my family. The low points were two arguments with my mother because she said I was being negative.  To me, sometimes an apple is just an apple, not the most beautiful, tasty red apple ever! All I did was share my account of an event, so I walked away for a few minutes to collect myself, and the second time, when I actually told her how I felt, and she threw a fit in front of the Texas State Capital because I was being real rather than in the clouds. I love both of my parents but I continue to have trouble with the fact that they take it personally if I happen to agree with the other parent on something about which they disagree. Thank God for my aunt, who was not only understanding but able to somewhat mediate and salvage the day. Overall, it was nice to see my mother and my aunt after not being home to see the family for almost two years, and it felt good to share some of my life in Texas with them. My mother and I have talked since, and I think we now having a better understanding of each other.

Next, Boyfriend starts getting calls from relatives about his mother and some problems caused by his older brother. His mother and brother, as mentioned in a previous post, are both narcissists, and are enemies and best friends depending on the day. Boyfriend limits contact with both of them but did talk to his mother for her birthday (in March), Easter and Mother’s Day. The calls from relatives came somewhere in between, and culminated in Boyfriend’s decision to fly home for a few days to see for himself about his mother’s health and the accusations about his brother’s, um, shenanigans. The stories changed a little once Boyfriend started investigating and he found out the truth, which he already suspected. Let’s just say that, due to my dealings with these people over 12 years, I have much respect and admiration for Boyfriend being courageous enough to ask tough questions and stand up for himself in the presence of a women who does not deserve the title of mother due to her blatant favoritism, manipulation and standard  narcissist behavior, and he still put a plan in place for his mother to be cared for and helped. I don’t think I could have done it, but Boyfriend is the strongest person I know.

This has been a lot of stress on both of us. Then, there is work. Boyfriend started a new job about two weeks ago, and they were kind enough to allow him the time to go home. I had several days off recently while preparing for and during my family visit, and I have felt emotionally drained from everything.  While I am grateful to have a job, but it has its own set of challenges. Working as somewhat of a team has it perks and its drawbacks. Sometimes it is nice to have someone there to help with complicated cases but you don’t get to make decisions on your own, and you have to do what the team agrees with. Also, it is tough when each person has a different relationship with the boss, and there is some favoritism from time to time. I realize that I have not handled my stress the best as of late, but it makes things even tougher when you don’t get the same benefit of the doubt or the same information as others do. I know I must do better and work harder, and accept things as they are.

While it has been hard for Boyfriend to be gone due to concerns about how he would be treated by his family, I am glad to hear that he gained support from a few surprising sources. I hope that, in between his chaos, he got a little time to himself that is hard to get living in a 650 square foot apartment with me and the Cat, and I was glad to get a little time to recover from my chaos by talking on the phone to family and watching a few favorite movies, You’ve Got Mail and keeping the Faith. The best recovery for me, though, will be picking Boyfriend up from the airport tonight.

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

 

Forgive and Forget…. I think not.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Forgive and Forget?.”

I think that forgiveness can be healthy and appropriate for healing, but forgetting, not so much. Some actions cannot betaken back, regardless of the words spoken in the aftermath. Extending forgiveness to someone who is TRULY sorry and has taken responsibility for their action s is understandable, and we’ve all done it, just as we have all had to ask for forgiveness, too.  Forgetting is another matter. Sometimes it can be done, sometimes it cannot.  What’s done is done and a memory has been created, good or bad. Forgetting what someone has done can set us up to be hurt or taken advantage of again, just like the old saying…

fool me once
courtesy of quotationslibrary.com

I’ve learned recently in research I have done about narcissism, that it is common to be fooled repeatedly due to the abusive and manipulative nature of the narcissist. Boyfriend got me into reading and learning about narcissism because his mother and brother are both narcissists that have caused him much pain and suffering, even to this day. Thank God we moved to Texas, it’s amazing what  little distance can do. The best thing would be no contact but… easier said than done. I mention these two people because I could not forgive them if God himself ask me to. They are two of the most angry, deceptive, hateful, manipulative, unfeeling, inhuman people I have ever met. If we knew then what we know now, I would like to think that Boyfriend and I would have made different choices with regarding to both of our dealings with them.  Moving on with without certain people is the best thing to do. I would not call it forgiveness but simply moving on. Thank you to Narcissism Survivor on YouTube!!!!! You are teaching us so much.

With regard to my family, I have forgiven a few things, just as have they, but the forgetting is hard. I do try to balance bad memories with good memories because my parents tried their best. I just wish they had made a few choices that would have made us all happier, possibly going their separates ways to be free of drama. I know that I am not perfect and neither are they, and we meet in the middle enough to make things still work. It is easier to see and talk to my parents separately because of their personal differences, and they both feel special.

As for friends, I have tried to forgive and forget and, ultimately, the friendship eventually ended. Relationships can run their course. We contribute something to the other person’s life and they to ours, possibly for reasons unknown. Ultimately, we each have to do what is best for our health and happiness, which can mean leaving some people in our past.

Poster By Flavia Weedn

 

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell