Sara dragged me to the mall right before Thanksgiving because she needed to get a new cell phone. I was shocked that it had been transformed into a Winter Wonderland — red and green trimmings were everywhere, robotic reindeer “ate” who knows what while bobbing their heads in sparkling “snow,” and “fa la la la las” blasted from the speaker system.
“What’s going on?”
“Uh, it’s almost Christmas, Kat. It’s looked like this since Halloween. Where have you been?”
I’m not a Grinch or a Scrooge; in many ways, this is the “most wonderful time of the year.” I totally get into the decorating, the music, the parties. But I hate that I’m expected to think about my loved ones’ wants and desires — as well as caring about those less fortunate — once a year.
Shouldn’t we think about that all the time?
And it’s even worse that the way I’m supposed to show how much I care is by buying something — “Whatcha get?!?” Sure, The Kid was pretty darn happy when an XBox appeared under the tree one year; I’ll bet he would have been just as happy — maybe even happier — if it appeared one day in his room “just because.”
But he seems just as happy when we take a hike together or sit at our favorite little cafe sipping our lattes, when we’re truly present with each other (or is that a mother deluding herself?)
Everyone knows this crazy buying frenzy’s not what Christmas is really about, but that’s what it’s morphed into (because we’ve allowed it to); that’s kind of sad.
And a lot of what we actually get as gifts — a fake crystal candlestick; a made-in-China knitted glove, scarf and beanie set, etc. — isn’t really what we need or even want. It’s just more stuff, and we are drowning in our “stuff.” All you have to do is move or help someone move, and you’ll see how true that is. How many mugs does a person need?
Plus it’s often given out of obligation, not out of love: in what way does that feel good? Sometimes, the gifts we get make us feel even worse about our loved ones: “After all these years together, he still doesn’t know what I like!!!!”
This year especially, when so many of us are hurting financially, how wonderful would it be if we gave in a different way — like giving of ourselves, our time, our energy, our talents. Or maybe giving of our heart by opening up and being honest and genuine with each other.
You, my readers, have been a constant gift to me; I only hope I’ve added a little tinsel to your lives, too. Merry Christmas!
Photo © Melking – Fotolia.com
“That is quite the dress,” I said to Sara, looking stunning in the orange-red gauzy outfit she wore for a backyard get-together a few weeks ago.
“I don’t know. I think it’s too bright,” she said. “What do you think, Sean?”
“Uh, I’m not the one to ask. I’m colorblind.”
Sean sighed at the familiar exercise; everyone who finds out he’s colorblind wants to play the “color game.” “Look, I can tell you
what I see, but your colors and my colors are different, so what’s the point? We see things differently, that’s all.”
Ah, yes — and isn’t that true about everything?
Haven’t you ever been on a first date that you thought went great, and then you never hear
from him again? I’m guessing he obviously didn’t share your version of reality (although there could be many reasons why he disappeared).
We see the world differently. But it’s not just a guy or gal thing, although, granted, the sexes often see things waaaay different. She thinks the weekend they spent together having sex every which way in every possible location is one step closer to relationship status; he thinks, “Wow, I can’t believe how much sex we had!”
Each of us has different needs and perspectives, and whatever we experience is filtered through that, as well as whatever other distractions are going on in our head at the moment — which is exactly why we can’t see things quite the way other people see things, even though we think we’re seeing or experiencing the same thing.
That’s why when you’re hanging with others and there’s an “incident,” you’ll have as many versions of “the truth” as people who were there. Whose version is “right” or “real”?
Not to get all Rashomon on you, but wouldn’t they all be?
Makes you question whether “reality” is really real.
It can be frustrating, and sometimes I feel like, “wow, you’re not really understanding what’s going on here.” But maybe I’m not!
That wouldn’t be a problem if we approach each other with an understanding that we’re not all the same. The problem is when we start insisting that out interpretation is better than another’s or it’s the “right” one, or if we judge others for their experiences.
And we do that all the time, sometimes in big, dangerous ways, and other times in tiny ways.
“Ugh, I never want us to be like that couple over there,” I recently said to Sean, jerking my head in the direction of a couple sitting at a restaurant table in silence across from each other, seemingly lost in their own thoughts and joyless in their relationship. “How sad that they have nothing to say to each other!”
“Really?” he said, sounding totally surprised. “I was just thinking how peaceful they look, content in their quiet togetherness.”
And so it goes …
- Ever had a shared experience with someone whose perception was vastly different than yours?
- Has someone insisted that your perception of something is “wrong”?
Photo © Christopher Hall – Fotolia.com
Mia and I were wrangling over the “special” thing last week. Was it wrong, greedy or needy to want to have someone make us feel “special”?
Do we need to feel “special” past the age when our Moms and Dads told us that we were?
Do we abuse the idea of what we “deserve”?
I don’t know on the “special” thing, and I’d say, sure, we probably can and do abuse our notion of what we “deserve.” Still, most of us don’t want to be with someone who makes us feel like crap. So, why do we tolerate it?
So I felt somewhat validated when I read this:
“If you want true power and control over your love life, it’s about breaking that pattern of trying to fix relationships with broken men who treat you like crap, and making healthier decisions about about men. … (Y)ou’re going to realize that you don’t want a guy who doesn’t make you feel special. You’re going to be free to have a relationship with a man who actually gives you the love you deserve.”
Disclosure: I was approached by Katz to become an affiliate in the book, meaning I could stand to profit from its sales. I have nothing against making money, but I won’t endorse anything I don’t believe in. So, I asked if I could read it first, and I have.
Do I believe in it?
I’ve read my share of self-help books, and so many of them are filled with stuff we already know!
But do we follow through?
Not so much. And that’s the reason why we keep making bad choices in our life when it comes to relationships and other things.
Perhaps it isn’t bad to have a reminder now and then; it’s kinda why we read some blogs anyway, right? To check in on
whether what we’re feeling is “normal” or not.
So, there are a few things Evan’s got going for him.
- Evan’s blog is on my blogroll — not something I take lightly.
- He’s a guy; as I’ve said before, most of your gal friends are going to be “yes” women; they’ll tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to hear — which is whatever responsibility we may have in a guy’s disappearance. Not because they’re being manipulative or disingenuous, but because they’re women, too! If you want to know how you rate as girlfriend material, ask a guy. Blowjobs, too.
- Evan gave Lori Gottlieb dating advice, and, boy, does the girl need it — she rejected a guy for his name! His advice is part of her book “Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough.” Now, I didn’t love the book (too long, self-absorbed, blah, blah), but some of it makes a lot of sense to me (although I still shudder, as so many others do, at the word “settle”; it’s a loaded word), and I’ll bet the parts that make sense to me are the parts Evan’s in.
- Just the other day, I wrote how we gals have it all wrong; we’ve accomplished so much, we’re making big bucks (well, not me, but others are!), we’ve got fancy titles at work and maybe we have the coveted corner office. You go, girls, But, guess what? Women’s degrees and ambition aren’t aphrodisiacs or turn-ons. Evan has been saying that, too: “Ambitious, successful, strong — the qualities in which you may take the most pride — are not your most desirable assets to most men. It’s not that they don’t matter. It’s that what most men want on a first date is a woman who is easygoing, fun, and appreciative.”
He is so right about that!
Other things he says that I like:
- The qualities that attract us to each other also repel: “We love your feistiness. We tire of the battles; We love your active mind. We tire of the arguments; We love your passion. We tire of the drama.” (OK, guys can have drama, too, but whatever.)
- If you want a masculine guy, embrace your passive feminine side.
- Most guys aren’t bad guys, some are just clueless; cut them some slack.
- Don’t live by arbitrary rules, like you’ll only have sex after x-number of dates. All we have to do is figure out if a guy is interested in us or sex. If we don’t know the answer, don’t get naked!; go ahead if we think we do.
- Don’t rush through a relationship as if we’re trying to get to the end of a novel; let things develop organically, not with insecurity and fear of what’s next.
- The best we can do to keep a guy around is by enhancing his life — “making it better, easier, and more pleasurable than if he was single.” Kinda like wanting to feel special.
- It’s not like Evan wants us to be doormats, but choosing the battles — as any mom of a teenager knows — is key; “by letting go of control of the small things, you get to win the big ones.”
- When it comes to a man accepting who we are — Meredith Brooks’ declaration that a guy should “take me as I am; this may mean you’ll have to be a stronger man” isn’t always the right way. “Alter the perception of who you are.” We all tend to focus on our own needs, not always our guy’s needs. Hey, he has them too.
Ultimately, here’s the book’s take-home message:
“(I)f you were dating a good, solid, relationship-oriented man who suddenly disappeared, chances are not that he’s threatened; but that he’s looking for someone who makes him feel better about himself than you do.”
That’s hard to hear, but hear it we must. Guess guys like to feel “special,” too.
So, do you need to read “Why He Disappeared“?
If you can figure this stuff out on your own and stick to it without downing numerous pints of Ben & Jerry’s or Lemon Drops, and burning out your girlfriends as you “process” for the umpteenth time, probably not.
If you want to have a comforting “I know what you’re going through” voice to keep you true to yourself, then by all means, buy it.
Here’s the link to “Why He Disappeared“; the ebook, audio and video package is on sale through Sunday (with a one-year money-back guarantee, longer than many relationships!).
Just tell him you were sent by Kat …
… who probably should be writing, “Why She Disappeared.”
- Do you believe your partner should make you feel “special”?
- What does feeling “special” look like?