Phriends or Friends

No, that is not a typographical error in the title.  It’s one of the many life lessons my mother taught me. There are friends and then there are phriends. She also said there is family and then there is phamily. You know the type; they only come around when they need/want something or when it’s just damn well good for them.

There is a song “You find out who your friends are.” Its words are true. I think we are all guilty of keeping some of those phriends in our lives, despite that we know in our heart of hearts we would be there for them anytime they needed us; we also know that is not a two way street in that phriendship.

When Jack left, and even though I fought for the marriage, I told him, I am starting a new path, a new chapter in my book of life. You are more than welcome to come with me, we can do this together or I will do it alone.  He made his choice not to; and I set out on my new journey in life. In that new journey I have ridded him and some those phriends in my life.

If you are on Facebook I am sure you have seen the images of sayings like wish real life had a delete and block button. Guess what people….it does it’s called “I’m not putting up with being treated this way.” It’s called “I deserve better.” There’s your delete and block button in life. I kind of laugh at people who get all spastic over deleting someone on the Facebook, or they feel obligated to accept a friend on Facebook even though they don’t like them. Not me, if I don’t like you, I don’t feel obligated to accept you as a friend. People from school or classmates,  I give the benefit of the doubt, just because we may not have hung out in school or we had problems when we were in school doesn’t necessarily mean you get an automatic decline. I use Facebook a lot and if people don’t like what I post, or the frequency of my posts, guess what….there’s a delete button, you are not going to hurt my feelings. Some of my friends on Facebook we don’t talk all that much to one another.  But I like being able to be a part of their lives, watching their kids grow up or the silly pictures of their kids, animals or they post a status they are having a bad day, or something happened; it’s important to them. Whether it’s being a friend in person or only being able to catch up with the friends I have on Facebook I hope they know that I am still their friend. I have a few people on my friend list that I have never even met. They are friends of other people and we have a good time yucking it up on Facebook.

Shortly after Jack left, I de-friended some people in my life. Not because of Jack but because I no longer was willing to A) be used; B) put up with their damn drama. In the beginning I felt bad, I don’t like to be that person. Once it was done and the lines severed, it was like a weight had been lifted.  When you make that sever, you realize life is better without these types of people. The person is not a friend if they go through your phone and tell their friends in the neighborhood about the texts you and your estranged husband are exchanging, in the heat of it all, when emotions are high. That was my final straw with one of these people in my life. When that came back to me, despite it coming through a different source that told me (I had de-friended this person’s source, a long time ago), I no longer wanted that person in my life. I had backed off the friendship a little bit over the years because this person time and time again would prove that it wasn’t a friendship it was a phriendship, then it was just she was my neighbor. I saw the trend long ago, which she only came around when she wanted something. If she offered to do something for you, you found out real quick you had to pay her back. I don’t work like that. If I go to a yard sale or out somewhere and I see something that I think a friends child would like or that friend will like or they said they needed something like that, if I have the money and it’s not outrageously priced I would get it for them and just show up and “Hey was at (such and such) picked this up for you.” I am not expecting that friend to pay me back. That’s not right. It’s different if you call up that person and say “hey I am at the store they have what we were talking about for the kids Christmas here and there aren’t many left. I can get it for you while I am right here, here’s the price.” Or “I am at the store do you need anything while I am here?”

My friends and also those phriends know the type of person I am. If I can do it for you, I will. I like helping others. My mother raised me to be charitable, kind etc. Don’t do things for people because you expect something in return.  Give to others when you can. It eventually comes back around. When I would help her pack up clothes to give to someone else, or if we would put together Christmas packages or bags of groceries together for someone, or cooking something for a family who had a loved one who passed away, I would ask as a little girl, “why are we doing this?” or  “why do people cook when people die or in the hospital?” The response was, generally because the family is going through a hard time right now, or the family has so much going on with making arrangements or they are back and forth to the hospital they don’t have time to make the meals. One day we might need someone’s help, and it may not be from the people we are currently helping but kindness and giving to others comes back to you when you need it.

Mom was right. The final trip home when mom took a turn for the worst the last thing on my mind was cooking. I will never forget the kindness of others who brought food to the hospital for us. It may have been just a cheese and cracker tray or snacks for the kiddos. One person brought Coloring Books and crayons for the kids, juice boxes and things to keep the kids occupie. It was greatly appreciated by me and the others in the family.  My first trip home a month and a half prior to mom passing away, the very first people who came to the hospital were my two best friends from school and my Mom#2 as I always called her. I will never forget that. They took the time, even though they were on their way to do something else, to stop by and just visit, see how I was doing and to see if I needed anything or if mom needed anything.

When mom died, the food came pouring in. The family and I didn’t have to cook meals for at least a week. Again it was appreciated.

I will never forget those people who gave my family kindness they didn’t have to give. One of my co-workers gave her bonus checks to me. She didn’t have to; her family probably needed it as well.

Going through this divorce and Jack not helping me financially with the kids, several people have  said, “if you need anything you let me know. I don’t care if it’s groceries, light bill or gas money. Let me know,” Some just went and did it. Even strangers helped. If it weren’t for the kindness of a group of strangers my kids wouldn’t have had a Christmas. One day I showed up at work and everyone had pitched in and had a stockpile of groceries for me. It was embarrassing and I felt like a failure. (Laughing) I found out I like being the giver not receiver. I also was in the shoes of others I had helped over the years. They too probably felt embarrassed, shame or that they too were a failure when going through what they were going through. That humble pill is sometimes hard to swallow. Some of the ones that have helped me had been in my shoes; they were single mothers, raising the kids, working and the fathers weren’t helping them out financially as well. Some knew others who had gone through the same thing and saw firsthand the difficulties the single mother had. The kindness hasn’t always been monetary; sometimes the greatest kindness is listening or being that shoulder to cry on.

Some people do not believe in karma; I do. Just because I am going through a tough time right now, doesn’t mean I have done something to deserve this. Sometimes life throws us tough knocks to remind us how strong and resilient we are. Things happen for a reason. I truly believe there was a reason why my mother died before my marriage ended. Obviously, I didn’t see this at the time. Hind sight I see it clearly. I also didn’t realize during the time of my mother’s passing, I had actually started to change the course of the direction I was going.  When did I realize this change of course had taken place? Four to five years after my mom died, when Jack left.  I had tried for a year after he left to come him to back into the marriage. The more I talked about what went on in the marriage, whether it was in a therapist office or with friends, the more I realized Jack was no longer a person I was willing to keep in my life anymore. He had shown me for years the type of person he truly was; I just wasn’t willing to see it and I saw it sadly at the worst time in my life. He showed me who he truly was.

Those years of sleeping alone night after night; insults whether made directly or indirectly; him going off and doing whatever with his buddies; or being so highly insensitive to my feelings, thoughts, goals; were nothing compared to what he displayed when I found out my mother was sick with breast cancer and most especially when I needed to go home to help her and then finally that last drive home when she was dying and I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it in time. It’s not that I didn’t point it out to him, he just flipped the blame onto me and I believed him for a long time. It wasn’t until a year ago through talking with others, through processing it all that I realized; it was him. Unfortunately, I allowed it to happen. I allowed him to make me feel inadequate. When you hear it so much, one starts to believe it’s true.

Have you noticed those negative friends you have around you, their negativity starts to rub off on you? People who are in our lives constantly, we begin to mirror. This doesn’t just happen with our children; this happens to adults too. How many times as a child did you hear from your parents when hanging around a particular friend you may have seen them talk to their parents a certain way, and well you tried it. Did your parents set you back a notch? I know my mom sure did. I’ve said the same thing to my two children.   There are some kids in the neighborhood my children are not allowed to interact with. I’ve sent a few children home in my days as a parent. I am sure I will send a few more home, in the days to come.

I’ve seen also Jack’s way is rubbing off on our son. I am not thrilled about it. I can’t talk to Jack about it because he feels it’s not wrong and I, at this time refuse to talk to him because it doesn’t matter what I say, he will belittle and talk to me like I am an idiot. In Jack’s mind he is right and everyone else is wrong. So there is no sense talking to him, all I can do is instill in my son that bullying, belittling, talking down to people, and judging people is not the way to go. It’s not acceptable in my house. I get onto both of my children for how they treat one another and their friends.

The Phriend or Friend is a tough lesson to learn for all of us. Sometimes we honestly do not know who our friends are until the shit hits the fan in our lives. While you may drop everything or close to everything for them in their time of need; when it comes to you, truly needing your friends, take a look around you and see who is standing beside you.

For me I would rather discover that those people are Phriends rather than Friends. I won’t allow my heart to harden because of the select few. However, I proceed with caution even more so now because of it.

Quotes:

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana

“True friendship comes when silence between two people is comfortable.” – Dave Tyson Gentry

“Your friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you.” –Elbert Hubbard

“Never do a wrong thing to make a friend o keep one.” – Robert E. Lee

“In time of prosperity friends will be plenty

In time of adversity not one among twenty.” –John Ray

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Getting To Know Me

It’s taken me about a week to get a chance to get be able to write. Single mom here, as much as I love to write with the kiddos and working and all the “life” tasks and responsibilities I have, I just don’t get the opportunity to pump out the writings as much as I would like.

That doesn’t mean the wheels aren’t spinning.  One would be amazed at the hours in which I do get the opportunity to write. I’ve woken straight up out of bed at 2 am in the morning plagued by the words swirling around in my head. If I do not get them out and on paper the wheels will church harder and faster.

Last week as I was cleaning up my house while the kids were gone to their dads I was thinking of topics, ideas for the blog. I had my music cranked up while in my cleaning zone and just thought, “I need to write a getting to know me post so my readers kind of know a little but more about me.”

Well hello!  Thus this post is born. I just haven’t been able to write it and it’s been plaguing my darned brain for over a week.  Even when I would get writing this post…another post would come into my head because I was spending too much time on a certain aspect. BLAH!!

One of the things that people must know about me, this is how my brain has worked all my life. It’s nothing new. Another topic or article idea will pop into my head as I am writing the current article. Then I go to my list of article ideas I all ready have and add to the list.

Anyway, back to the getting to know me. Basically this is a summary as I will get into more in future articles for the blog.

Where I grew up:

I grew up in a small coastal town in New Brunswick, Canada. In the summers it’s a tourist destination for people all over the world. We border Maine. Locals will not say they are going across the border; we are simply going “over the river.” I am sure that ease of that since 9/11 is not the same.  As a child the small town was awesome. I was always exploring. I loved being outside, on the beaches, in the water etc.  Growing up in a small town has it’s pros and cons; just like living in other places has it’s pros and cons.

As a teenager I couldn’t wait to get out of the small town.  Now as an adult I find I yearn to go home, even if it’s just for vacation to get grounded once again, and to also show my kids how I lived growing up. Despite, what they would think I was not a deprived child. Friends and I were always outside playing and there were always things to do.

The Younger Years:

As you all know I was raised by my mother. There are a lot of memories of a great childhood. The fun times she and I would share, the times with family and friends. I was independent right from the start. (Laughing) sometimes my independence got me into trouble. My mom was always proud of me, encouraged me, and was my biggest fan. Despite that people thought I was spoiled by her, I was to a certain degree. However, unlike the other kids my mother always had to know where I was, who I was with and I had a curfew.  Once home from school I always had to check in with her, if I was going to a friend’s house while she was still at work, I had to call to let her know.  I had responsibilities and chores just like other kids, mine were different.  Not only was it inside chores it was outside chores. I actually loved doing the outside work over the inside work.

Like with everyone else, there are scars from my childhood. I was molested as a child. And I will get into that later in another post. Despite that and all the family turmoil that takes place in any family, I had an awesome childhood. What doesn’t break you; makes you stronger.

I’m My Own Grandpa:

It’s the song I sing when trying to explain to others the family. My mother was the oldest of nine. At five she was adopted by her aunt and uncle (her biological fathers’ identical twin brother). So her brothers and sisters became her cousins. Are you confused yet? Well that’s why I sing “I am my own grandpa.”

I have an older sister (she’s technically a half sister). I have 3 nieces and 6 great nieces and nephews. There is also another half sister and half brother out there somewhere from my father’s previous marriage.

Our family is no different than any other family. For years I thought it was only my family that was screwed up. Then after being a part of another family for so long and seeing friends families; I have learned there’s other families that are more screwed up than mine. We aren’t perfect, we have our moments, there’s ones I won’t talk to, there’s some I wish I talked to more. We fight, bicker, laugh, cry, and go through all the emotions, troubles, good times every family goes through.

My personality:

I’m am and always have been a very independent female. I’m not this GI Jane but there’s not much I can’t do by myself. The girly girl woman; I am not. I can clean up pretty good though, when I want to. I just do not like doing it all the time.  I am opinionated, set in my ways and do have attitude. At the same time, I am also considerate, kind, thoughtful and sometimes will take more crap off of people than I should. I enjoy being around people, but when it comes time for me to have alone time, or solitude I need it. I don’t want to be around people all the time. I don’t want to be on the go all the time.  Many people do not understand that, because I can be at a huge party or get together and it just gets too overwhelming for me and I will go find a quiet spot and chill for a little while.

I can be abrasive when I need to be, but most of the time I do not like to be. Confrontation? I do not like.  It takes a lot for me to confront a person, many times I will let a lot of things go, but when I have had enough, I will say something.

I have squirrel moments, also known as ADD. I’ve had it for years but it wasn’t until I began going to therapy when Jack and I separated that I was told, I had it. Over the years because I was “different” I found ways to help me when I would get my squirrel moments which was writing things down to stay on task. Every job I have ever had and even in school, I have had to multitask so when you are going is 12 different directions I learned ways that helped me.

I’ve worked in the customer service industry from the time I was 14 and I treat my customers the same way I would want to be treated. I have a huge pet peeve about people that do not give quality customer service.  Over the years there has been numerous times I have walked out of a place of business due to lack of customer service.  I have been complimented by both customers and co-workers about how much they love to work with me and how I treat the customer. I’ve had plenty of rude customers in my day and they receive the same care, consideration as the rest.

My friend the other day also told me I follow the rules. She’s very right on that. For years Jack would get onto me when out of habit I would walk the sidewalk or pathway and not dash across the grass. That’s not to say I haven’t broken a few rules in my day; but the end result no matter how simple it is, doesn’t make me feel good as a person. One of the most valuable things my mother instilled in me was when you do wrong you take the consequence. It takes a bigger person to admit when they are wrong and take the consequence. Her famous and most irritating phrase growing up (and my sister heard the phrase too) “you make your bed you lie in it.” Funny how a friend that has only known me truly for two years was able to point that out, accept it, love it and yet my own husband out of the 13.5 years we were together saw it but didn’t care that was the type of person I am. I was raised when you lie it turns into a bigger lie and then it goes into a snowball. When he would “lie” and tell people we met on a skiing trip and not online; it didn’t make me feel good. When we went skiing shortly after my son was born and the guy said “one adult..one child and I wanted to say “no two adults” I got elbowed (not hard) in the ribs and told to “be quiet” and “bank error in our favor.”

For years I had to hear “you’re such a Canadian.” What the hell is THAT supposed to mean? It’s a compliment that’s how I take it. Not all Canadians are like me. I’m a Maritimer. I set the standards high for myself. Sometimes I don’t even make the bar and that’s frustrating. I can be harder on myself when I make a mistake than anyone else can be. What a lot of people don’t understand when I make a mistake I recognize it and a lot of times they don’t need to point it out; I’ve all ready kicked myself in the ass for it.

To give you a perspective of me, I am now 34; I got my drivers license when I was 16. I’ve never had a speeding ticket. The first time I have been pulled over in my life was a couple months ago and it was for an expired tag. I could have cried, boo hooed when that cop pulled me over, put the blame on Jack that he’s being a jerk and hasn’t helped me financially with the kids so when it came to updating my car tag and groceries, power or rent for the kids, I choose the kids over the car tag. Guess what my fault. I took the ticket, and told the officer have a good day and be safe out there. Got the tag updated and then went to court and showed I had gotten it updated and the judge reduced the ticket to half. It is what it is people.

The Things I Enjoy Doing:

I have a lot of interests. Music has always been a part of my life. You can tell the mood I am in by the music I listen to at the time. I like all genres of music…except Classical (sorry mom, just can’t do it). I love to sing, there was a time I wanted to be a singer. I just sing for the enjoyment. When my best friend and I were in high school she and I did two variety shows together. I loved it, but I couldn’t do it every night. Music and me singing allows me to stop my mind from churning. I can focus on the music the lyrics, my voice. The kids know that when the music cranks up in the house….I’m about to get some serious cleaning done. Amazing how much work you can get done while belting out songs and not even realizing how much work you got done. The music goes off when I am studying, writing or doing work that requires concentration.

Anyway, I enjoy writing, reading, spending time with the kiddos, family and friends. Other things I enjoy, and many of them I haven’t been able to do in years are quilting, cross stitch, hiking, biking, horseback riding, camping, designing, photography, swimming, skiing (cross country is my best; I do like downhill) sailing and there are a lot of others things as well.

I also have my bucket list of things I want to do, and some of those are, white water rafting, sky-diving, parasailing, more traveling (I’ve wanted to go to Ireland since I was a child).

Volunteering:

I have volunteered a lot over my life. How many hours? For me the hours do not matter. Back home our community wanted a community hall so we all came together and made it happen. It was amazing to see a small community come together. Even as a young teenager I was there many steps of the way, so many weekends I was right there a long side of the adults, pounding nails. It was an amazing feeling standing beside the other people who had volunteered and seeing the finished building. It didn’t stop there once the building was finished; we had to get money coming in to support the community hall. If I recall correctly when the hall was open we had a wedding reception every weekend for at least 8 weeks. Where was I? Right there beside all the ladies in the kitchen, getting platters ready, getting tables set up, arranging and serving the guests and then cleaned up. They were long hours on our feet, some of those ladies were 70 years old and doing just as much work if not more than I was. We laughed, joked, and solved problems that came up. To this day I remember the feeling of being around all these great people and the times we shared. We also over the years lost some great people and a plague would go up in their memory. They would have contested the plagues. None of us did it for the kudos or the attention. We did it because we enjoyed every moment of it. We were happy seeing other people enjoying the hall; whether it was a wedding, a family reunion, a Christmas concert, or group functions.

As a Marine spouse I also volunteered. 4 days a week, 4 hours a day for 6-8 months, at the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (might be called something different now). Again I loved it. Being as young as I was, it was also a huge learning experience for me. I learned how to do budgets for families, show them their debt to income ratio, offered advice on how to cut back. I also tried to implement it into my marriage and how we did our finances.  It’s not easy when the other person’s attitude is “just make it happen.” When you do not have the other person’s support or willingness to sit down and go over the finances fully, it will not be effective. As much as I tried to implement it alone Jack and I would have been more successful if him and I would have sat down and went through it with a fine tooth comb. It’s easy to say “stop spending” to one another, it’s another when you both make the decision, set the rules, and even goals of where you want your family to be financially.

I loved doing it for the military and their families. We also worked side by side with the Red Cross. When family members received a Red Cross message back home, we worked hard to ensure that they had the funds to get back home to their loved ones.  Seeing a little bit of relief on that person’s face when a loved one of theirs is ill, dying or has died and they are half a world away and they are able to go home made, was the best feeling in the world.

I haven’t volunteered in several years due to work, kids, and just life. However, volunteering is everywhere. It’s just helping others; it could be giving a mom a break from the kids and offering a sleepover. I love helping others.

While the post is long, I wanted my readers to get a little perspective of me.  Some of the topics in this post will be written about further; some of them won’t.

Have a great and safe Fourth out there everyone.