I Love You, But Hate What’s Coming Out of Your Mouth

Do we have to believe everything our friends believe? Do we? Why? Isn’t it our differences that enrich our lives? It seems that no matter what we are talking about lately, it almost always turns to the current climate of divisiveness. People take sides, get offended, and usually (it seems to me) everyone is ticked off at the other side. Being on opposing sides is nothing new, but it wasn’t that long ago that this country was apathetic. Now we all have opinions and we want you to have our opinions. Why? Why is it so important that we agree on everything? Just because you are offended, doesn’t mean it is offensive.

I have a large group of friends. My brother calls them my army – ha! Two of my friends are sisters. One of them is the other pea in my pod. She is who I call when I want my own opinion given to me. We agree on practically everything. Her opinions make me feel supported and right. The other sister is more like a sister to me than a friend. I call her when I want an opposing, but well thought out opinion, from a completely different place with completely different experiences – you get my drift. Her opinions make me think and I learn from them.

I may not have an army, but I am definitely a friend collector. Every single one of them has enriched my life in numerous ways. I have atheist friends, good Christian friends, Mormon friends, Catholic friends, a Buddhist monk, and crazy religious friends. I have friends who shop at thrift stores and friends who never leave Nordstroms. I don’t want to lose any friends, ever. Do I need to lose the ones whose opinions are opposite mine?

Years ago, after my mom’s best friend got the first divorce, she started dating a windbag. A rich, good looking, fun, smart, arrogant, loud mouthed blow hard. We were celebrating one of our holidays there around the time of the OJ Simpson ordeal. He was going off on some sort of rant that closely resembled racism. I looked over at her and inquired, “how do you deal with that?”

She replied, “What do I care what he thinks?” What? What did she just say? This was news to me. Of course you care what someone thinks. I still think about that statement. She was right. Who cares what someone thinks or says? Beautiful, wonderful people have been known to say horrific things. Even the lowest of the low says something beautiful now and then. Actions speak louder than words. Maybe he was walking the racism line (that generation lived during the civil rights movement) – but, I never saw him treat anyone with anything but respect and dignity.

Then, years later, I read Eckhart Tolle – thanks, Oprah. Because it seemed so esoteric and mind blowing, it took forever for me to wrap my head around what he was saying.. He taught me that we are not our thoughts. What? We think those thoughts, therefore they must be ours and therefore an extension of us. Right? Having murderous thoughts doesn’t make me a murderer or even violent. How often does something pop into your head and you think, “I wonder where that came from? I don’t think that way.” It happens to me frequently. Of course, writer’s curse.

I’ve noticed as I have aged, that there are so many things that divide us from our friends and other people we love. It starts when you begin to make friends, you lose friends occasionally based on who your other friends are. Then boyfriends. Then kids. And, then, old age. Fuck me.

I know not everyone is interested in such an eclectic group of friends. And, sometimes I have to separate friends and referee fights on FB. Okay – it’s not that bad. It was just one fight. But, I do keep some of them separate – for me, not for them. I don’t want to hear anyone go at it. I like peace. I just don’t always want to be the one to make it. I have learned that not everyone is like me. Not all of my friends are going to like each other. All of my friends are going to say or do things that I don’t appreciate. So the fuck what? The opposite sister up there – about once a week she says something and I think – “who the eff are you and where did you get that ridiculous opinion again?” I just move forward. I am not going to be changing anyone’s opinion anytime soon. And, nobody is going to be changing mine. We need such diversity.

I find that their diversity enriches me. It broadens my views. And, I get that too – not everyone wants or thinks broader views are a goal. Life is short. Experiences are many. Life changing experiences are few. Life changing people can happen every day. For that, I am thankful.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017!!!

Happy New Year!! 2016 had some tough moments……..but, for me, the bloodshed started in early December, 2015 with the death of Scott Weiland.  My friend and I discussed our shock at the time. His death was unexpected, but not surprising, really.  We discussed how you never really know anything. All the platitudes are true…..”you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone, only the good die young, the future is not promised, each day is a gift”…blah, blah…..I could go on…but, you get it. Anyway….it seemed like only a few days later when Lemmy died. That hurt too. We knew he was sick….just hoped he would dominate it like he dominated metal. And, then in early 2016…Bowie….okay….now it was starting to feel personal…my childhood was dying.  Okay….not really…..how can I explain?  Let’s see….if I were the type of person to record meaningful personal life events on my body…..I would have tats with all of these people for one reason or another. (Of course, the first one would have been of Andy Gibb….but, I digress.)

I know it is not rational to mourn the loss of people you don’t know….but, each of these people touched me in some way that I found significant.  We grew up together.  Or, it felt like we had. So…while I did not cry or attend funerals or memorials….I was sad. Noticeably sad. And, then …Glenn Frey.  RUFKM?  The Eagles is the one band to share one thing……my mother, my daughter and I are all big fans. I remember long road trips with my mom listening to that greatest hits 8 – track over and over and over…..(which is a joke, because 8 – tracks never ended or stopped……more digression.)

So…..this was getting ridiculous.  ( I am not going to go through the whole list…so, stick with me……) The Eagles were on my bucket list. I had missed their most recent tour due to funds and a promise to “go no matter what” next tour.  Well, damn. Not sure if they would tour or not now……but, I am kind of a purist.  You need to have the essence of the band there…..(at the very least) or I won’t go. The Eagles are not the Eagles without Glenn Frey. This made me sad and angry (at people, money, divorce, courts, etc) and not sure what else. It is at this precise moment in time that I find myself at some silent fundraising auction.  And, there on the table is a guitar….signed by most of the Eagles (Okay….more purist…no Randy Meisner….now I have ventured into music minutiae for most of you….) and NOBODY is bidding on it. I have had 2 super strong but very tasty drinks on an empty stomach.  I think it is my job to start the bidding….just to get it rolling…but, surely…..someone will outbid my tiny little $1800 in order to own this piece of American history?  Surely.  

Ha!  I am definitely not Shirley. Nobody outbid me.  And, I didn’t care. I missed their concert dammit…I was getting the damn guitar…because NOBODY OUTBID ME!!! (I don’t have $1800 laying around to buy a $200 guitar with sharpie marks on it. I don’t have $18 laying around for the same thing.) I had buyer’s remorse for a little bit….but, I really got to thinking……..I could have gone to the show and taken my mom and daughter for less than I paid for that damn guitar.  Which would have been great for many reasons but, mostly because my Mom has passed since.

So…….I decided.  Life is short. Enjoy it. Eat dessert first……blah blah….Okay really…..if there is something I want…..I spend a little time evaluating my level of want, cost, etc.  If I will regret not going…then, I need to bite the bullet and find a way to make it happen (whatever it is….concert, dinner, trip, shoes, shot glasses, whatever).  

It is at this precise moment in time that I find myself at work, reading a review of the most recent GNR show in Las Vegas.  I had thought it was a one time reunion.  I was incorrect. They were on tour.  Well, hell…..tickets must be sold out, right?   No, they were not. I could score some fairly good seats in the next 2 minutes for the low low low cost of $275.

Each.

You have to buy 2. So you don’t have to sit and experience this alone.

Even if you have no one to take.  Well…that isn’t fair……I have plenty of people to take….but, who will appreciate it $275 worth? And, don’t forget driving, parking, food, drinks, dinner…….(I skipped the souvenir….hahaha). But, $275 EACH?  WTF?  And I was under pressure….because I just knew if I didn’t buy tickets right this minute…they will sell out and there will never be another tour and, and, and…..well.  I bought them. Life is short.  And, then I called the one person in the world I thought would not think I was out of my mind. He works in radio, is a musician, lover of music, and manages bands and organizes tours. His reply, “We were just discussing this at work…..what does the person look like that would spend that much money to see that band?”

Me….that stupid person would look like me. I blamed it on Glenn Frey and the damn guitar.

It really has been on ongoing process for me. For the last few years, I have been giving up expectations, setting goals, and being thankful for EVERYTHING!  People probably think I’m the village idiot..walking around happy all the time with a big dumb grin on my face….but, I don’t care.  I’m happy. I’m not judging.  I still get disappointed and sad…but, not as often.  Seems when you spend so much time being thankful and working towards goals, that is what happens……you are happy and content.  Well.  That is what happened to me. Not everyday is a warm sunny beach. But, the beach, on a crappy day, is still the beach. And, I LOVE the beach.

And, that is the very long explanation for why I didn’t hate 2016.  I had a great year. I was thankful for all experiences…I achieved some goals…….I sat around thinking how happy I was.  Have I discovered the key? The key to being happy?  I am a fairly happy person anyway. But, this year…..I am sooooo happy. 2016 cut my childhood away in tiny little slices…..and, then it died. Maybe it needed to. Maybe because of all of this. Or in spite of it, I became more present this year. AWESOME!

Wouldn’t it be Nice?

I read a beautiful obituary today:

http://www.eonline.com/news/793677/alexis-arquette-dead-at-47

It was a beautifully written tribute to a brother who became a sister. It was written by a brother. I have no idea regarding the dynamics of the writer and the deceased. Nor do I have any idea regarding the dynamics of this family. It was an obituary that made me smile. So, I reread it. And then as I read it a 3rd time, I realized that with just a few minor changes, I could change this lovely announcement to something that could honor everyone.

Brother Richard Arquette confirmed the news on his Facebook page, writing, “Our brother Robert, who became our brother Alexis, who became our sister Alexis, passed this morning September 11 at 12:32 a.m. He was surrounded by all of his brothers and sisters, and one of his nieces and several other loved ones. We were playing music for him and he passed during David Bowie‘s Starman. As per his wishes, we cheered at the moment that he transitioned to another dimension.”

“I am feeling immense gratitude to have been afforded the luxury of sharing life with him/her, for learning from Alexis, for being the gift of being able to love her/him and to be loved by him/her. He was a force.”

“He died as he lived, on his own terms. I am immensely grateful that it was fast and painless. It was an incredibly moving experience and I am humbled and grateful to have been able to have been with him as he began his journey onward. Thank you Alexis, I love you and will love you always,” Arquette concluded.

As I read it, my mind wandered in thought (I know, it shouldn’t be allowed to go out alone). I wondered if people who objected to the way Alexis lived her life would find the same beauty and celebration in her tribute. I couldn’t help but think there are people in my life that I struggle with. (And yes…..everything is about me…..even when an Arquette dies.) I narrow my thoughts to one in particular. This person is a force.  Lives on their own terms. I wouldn’t wish them pain or torture. I am definitely grateful (not necessarily to them) for everything that they and that relationship taught me (how to make better choices, how to forgive, how to succeed after tragedy, how to overcome homicidal thoughts, etc…..). I don’t wish harm, I am apathetic.  I really don’t care what happens to this person. I don’t care about them. I also do not care for them. How would I write that obituary or announcement?

I don’t like them; I don’t respect them; I don’t like their choices, etc. (it is fun to use semi-colons!  I think I like the “air quotes” better). I do, however, respect their right to exist…..we don’t all have to like each other; I respect their right to make choices; I respect their right to live and die in any way they choose. I could use most of the words above. Maybe leave a few out, maybe add a few. But, it wouldn’t be that difficult to take this loving tribute and make it a celebration of that person’s life. Even if I didn’t consider them a role model. Hell….especially if I didn’t consider them a role model.

Which brings me to the next…….what if everyone treated everyone that way???????? You know, before they died? What if we treated people without judgment? What if we respected people without judgment?

Wouldn’t it be nice? (A fantastic song I would have shared but, the lyrics didn’t match my story)

The obit gave you a positive glimpse into the departed and a positive glimpse into the writer. Everybody wins. Nobody was dishonest. I can’t see where anyone could be offended.  Just some rambling thoughts on a Sunday.