Thursday, August 27, 2009

Brush with Camelot

As I write this, Senator Edward Kennedy's motorcade is passing near my office building in Boston. There are lots of people that have lots of strong opinions about him and his past. He did a lot of good for this country, but his legacy will be forever marred by one event that took place in his life. I won't dwell on that because it doesn't have anything to do with me. I will talk about one specific memory I have of him. In 2002 he was endorsing the Massachusetts Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Shannon O'Brien. As part of that endorsement, he stood outside the entrance/exit of the Park Street Green Line subway station in Boston greeting people and encouraging them to "Vote for Shannon". I took the Green Line to work every day and got off at Park Street on the morning that Senator Kennedy was out there. As I came out the doors, I saw him standing there. He looked me right in the eye, held out his hand to shake mine and said "Vote for Shannon". It was a very surreal moment. There I was, a small town girl from rural Georgia and I had just shaken the hand of a man that was a member of one of the most politically influential families of the 20th century. Six degrees of separation and all that. Small world, huh? And it's getting smaller every day. Regardless of what his faults may have been, he is no longer with us and there are people that are saddened by that. His judgement will not be in our hands. As always, a higher power is at work and things will be as they should be.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

They Grow up so Fast (Or at Least They Try To)

Some of you who have read my blog before know that I have an 11-year old niece. She just started middle school, and as I'm sure we all remember, this is the time when we struggle with being not quite a child, but not quite a teenager either. One of the rites of passage for girls is wearing makeup. My niece's two closest friends wear makeup. Of course they don't leave the house with it on, but they do wear it at school. My niece lives with my parents, so any time she wants or needs something, she has to ask them. A couple of weeks ago she asked my mom if she could start wearing makeup. She wanted eyeshadow, mascara, and lip gloss. Like any good mother should, my mom said no. Ever since then, my niece has been trying to weasel her way into wearing makeup. A couple of nights ago she and my parents went to Target, and she asked if she could have some mascara. Once again, my mom said no. This was my niece's response "Well, Aunt Shelly (me) wears mascara." My mom comes back with "How old is Aunt Shelly?" "33", says my little girly. My mom's final words on the subject, "Do the math and then tell me who can wear mascara."

Although the story has its cute moments, it's a serious subject. Girls are trying at younger and younger ages to look older. I didn't start wearing makeup until I was 13, which, upon reflection, was still way too early. My mom has never really worn makeup so she wasn't sure what an appropriate age would be. It blows my mind to see little girls all tarted up in heavy makeup and and wearing short, tight clothes. They're exhibiting sexuality that they aren't equipped to deal with yet. I'm not going to make a broad generalization and say that all men are dogs, but quite a few are and they're just waiting to prey on young girls who are trying to assert their independence by making a foray into womanhood. These girls are too immature and too naive to realize that those men will tell them anything they want to hear to get what they want.

I know that times change and that we need to change with the times, but it never has been and never will be okay for a young girl to parade around looking like a prostitute or a stripper. There's nothing wrong with a young girl wanting to look good, but she needs to be taught the difference between looking good and looking trashy. As the past 20 years have gone by, I've worn less and less makeup. Most people don't even know that I wear makeup because I use it only as a subtle enhancement, which is what it's meant for. I'm sure that my niece will find another way to broach the subject of makeup with my mom, because kids are persistent, but I know that my mom will stand firm.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Best Laid Plans

There are a couple of adages that come to my mind today that, I think, apply to many people's lives. Those are "The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry" and "The road to hell is paved with good intentions". We've all been in a situation where we plan to do something, have it all laid out, and the result is nowhere near the one that we had hoped for. Why? Because we never accounted for the intangibles. In a perfect world, everything would go as planned. Since we don't live in a perfect world, we have to contend with those things that derail our plans. We can either walk away, or make adjustments. Personally, I'm someone who likes to make adjustments. Adaptability is a good trait to have. It will help you in many aspects of your life.

As for the road to hell being paved with good intentions, in your heart, you know what you are trying to accomplish. What problem could that possibly cause? Well, unless you express yourself and your intentions in a clear manner that can be understood by all, your actions can be misconstrued. The hell part comes in when you try to backtrack and explain yourself after the misunderstanding has occurred. At the root of this is communication. We've been conditioned to hold in how we really feel about the things that other people do if what they're doing rubs us the wrong way. Wouldn't want to upset the apple cart! Unfortunately, we can't hold it in forever and there's always something that manifests itself as the last straw. Once the dam has been broken, the feelings come spewing out, unfiltered and oftentimes in a very hurtful way. When that happens, it causes more of a problem than the other party may have originally believed existed. Tact and diplomacy are two things that are essential in effective communication. They eliminate unnecessarily hurt feelings and help an issue to be resolved in an expedient manner.

If you have a problem with someone or something that they've done, let them know as soon as you possibly can. Don't let it fester until it boils over. Of course emotions will be running high, but try to keep them in check and discuss the problem in a calm and rational way. Taking jabs at the other person may make you feel better in the moment, but it will continue to escalate the situation, when it should be moving in the other direction. I'm a very sensitive person who cares deeply about other people, which causes me to be hurt more than most. I used to wonder how anyone could do or say the things that others have to hurt me, but then I realized that not everyone is like me. Maybe I didn't communicate my wants or needs clearly and effectively. If I did, then I know that nothing I do or say is going to change the situation, so I just move on. Learn from the experience; put it behind you; and you'll be ready if it happens again.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Two Causes Near and Dear to My Heart

Although I don't have much money, I still like to donate to worthy causes when I can spare a few dollars. There are 2 in particular that I have an affinity for. Those are The Least I Can Do and GA Funny Farm. I've blogged about both of them before, but I wanted to bring them to the forefront again. The Least I Can Do is a concept developed by Gavin DeGraw fans to pay tribute to him by raising money for a charity that he supports. It's a yearly endeavor and we pick a different charity every year. This year's charity is the Wounded Warrior Project. Go to to find out more.

The GA Funny Farm is an animal sanctuary whose primary focus is rescue cats. They currently have 59 and are trying to raise money to fence in a large portion of their property so that the kitties can roam free without fear for their safety. Learn more at They are almost halfway to their fundraising goal and every little bit helps. If a large group of us band together and give whatever we can, no matter how small, we can make a big difference.

Monday, August 3, 2009

How I See Myself vs. How Others See Me

From the title you might gather that I'm going to write something deep and philosphical about mental self-preception, but this time I'm going to keep it on the surface and talk about physical self-perception. As some of you may know, I've been doing Weight Watchers since January. To date, I've lost 46lbs. and am the healthiest that I've been in about 5 years. Although 46lbs. is a lot of weight, I weighed over 200lbs. when I started Weight Watchers, so I'm actually starting to get into a more healthy weight range. According to BMI calculations (which I find to be arbitrary), I'm still overweight, but when I measure the ratio between my height and waist size, I'm considered to be at a healthy weight. It's interesting to see the reactions of people that haven't seen me since before I started Weight Watchers. I've dropped 2 sizes and will probably drop one more before I get to my goal. I know that I am by no means skinny, but compared to how I used to look, other people think I'm really small. The phrase one person used is "skin and bones", which I'm not, not by any stretch of the imagination. When people are used to seeing you a certain way, it can sometimes make them a bit uncomfortable to see that you've made a big change. My Weight Watchers leader said that sometimes it makes people think of the changes that they need to make that they might not be ready for. As humans, we tend to project our own feelings and fears onto other people. This causes those other people to question what they're doing and whether it's right. This isn't the first time that someone has told me that I'm getting too skinny, which is ridiculous. I still have plenty of padding covering me, there's just less than there used to be. When I get to my goal, I'll post "Before" and "After" pictures. Until then, I'll continue to take it day by day as I work to give myself a better quality of life.