Talk Doesn’t Cook Rice

Have you ever had someone apologize for their behavior only to have them repeat the behavior later? We probably all have. The words are meaningless. The behavior that is the only way to know someone is sorry. If they say the words yet do nothing about it, they are not sincere in their apology.

People who are familiar with AA are told the only apology is changed behavior. I’m only familiar with them through a relative’s long-term relationship with them. He has truly changed his behavior, apologized, and made amends. The saying has struck me deeply. Once I heard it, I thought, “Yes!” Remember it next time you apologize to someone. Mean it when you say it. And don’t behave that way again. By keeping your word and acting out your apology, you become trustworthy.

Saying and doing are two completely different things. A person who keeps doing the same things over and over has no true remorse. If you choose to believe them, then are treated the same way, you need to think deeply about what you really want, how you will allow people to treat you, and if you can believe someone who doesn’t keep their word. You are the only one who can come to that conclusion.

Yes, we want to be understanding. Yes, it’s an admirable trait and very healing. Understanding must not used as an excuse or reason to allow unacceptable behavior. You do yourself no good, and you do the other person no good by tolerating less than acceptable behavior. Don’t let them tell you they’re sorry and never fix their actions. You will make miles of progress yourself in calling them out.

I did this exact thing a couple weeks ago. I was disrespected by someone in a public way. I told them they would never talk to me that way again. It was not acceptable. They apologized. I did not accept as I’d seen them behave that way before. I told them the only apology was changed behavior. I hope it made a difference.

I’d like to thank my youngest brother for teaching me this. It has made a huge difference in what I’ll tolerate and what I won’t. What have you learned today? Is it something you can share? Did it make you believe in yourself more? Do you stand taller for practicing it? I hope so. Have a beautiful rest of the day. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday Words

A new friend gave me a gift when she asked if I’d read “Bird by Bird”. I hadn’t. I purchased the book and enjoyed Anne Lamott’s take on writing and life. So many similarities. I recognized some of her phrasing as that of 12-step program talk. Interestingly, she is a recovering alcoholic. She didn’t go into detail about that. I recognize the jargon because of the number of books I’ve read over the year to understand my family better.

The book has a great deal of humor, and it made me laugh at how we writers are in the pursuit of a complete book. I could laugh at the scenarios I will find myself in. It is a ridiculous idea on some levels. But the end of the book, the very last chapter called, “The Last Class” was the best. It was full of aha moments for me It told me why I want to write.

Writing should be about being real. I need to bring that to the forefront. I need to stop the concern about the reality of the situations and the fallout and tell the damned story. Readers will resonate with things that are universal. If your mother burned your hand on a hot stove as punishment when you were a child, you need to tell about it. To protect yourself from libel, you need to make the character who does the despicable act not even resemble your mother or crazy Uncle Fred. If you were an only child, make the kid one of six. Change it up. The characters don’t matter as much as the relatable story around them. I want to do this. I must do this.

Every marvellous story has its share of sadness, bad things that happen to the protagonist, and good things that leave you cheering on the last page. We should leave the reader with the sense of having spent it all on the field, and by some divine intervention, good things result from the struggles. It’s about the growth, struggles, and what results.

Becoming a writer has indeed changed the way I read. There are scenes I notice now. Two years ago, I did not. There are subtle changes I didn’t notice before. I am more invested. There is a place for me now. I can tell the story of the painfully shy little girl who tried so hard to make everyone’s life easier. When she grows up, she learns it wasn’t her job. Now, she can tell others it isn’t their job. I love where I come from, and I deeply love where I am now. The next ten years are going to be the best. The thing of it is, by writing, I will deal with the things I’ve had on my mind all my life. I’ll weave stories others can learn from. It’s the same with a songwriter or a playwright. The grit from real life makes stories we shape and form and tell the truth as you understand it. (Some AA jargon, right?)

Anne Lamott tells writers they should be lighthouses. Lighthouses don’t run around finding people to illuminate; they stay in place, share their light to whomever needs it, and invite people to rest with them. Thank you, Barbara Madden.

Our conversation helped me figure out a few things to do and led me to another fantastic book (newly published) “Ordinary on Purpose.” Mikala Albertson, MD, shares her story of ditching the perfect life and admitting out loud all the things that were wrong. Her husband, addicted to drugs. She barely scraping by with her Med School Studies. Her two little boys, so deserving of a perfect life. None of us have one. Do we even want one?

I have a date with Mikala Albertson’s book tonight and tomorrow. I’ve read a mere 20 pages and I am enthralled. The truth shall set you free. That never changes, does it?

We have a couple things going on – St. Patrick’s Day at the Post tomorrow and Mom adjusting to her schedule since the daylight savings time changeover. It’s hard for a person who is low-sighted. I have a few things to work on for the Honor Guard Banquet on Saturday. Life is full if it is anything. Let’s see each other tomorrow and be careful out there. Thanks for reading.

The Truth and Nothing But the Truth

Cartoon character Garfield is quoted as saying; “The truth shall set you free but first it will make you miserable.” I would modify that to say, “YOUR truth shall set you free but first it will make you miserable.” Yes, I’ve been miserable by my truth; my first marriage was never a good one, I lied to myself about everything and was not one to raise my voice and say, “This isn’t right.” I went along to get along. People were shocked when the Ken and Barbie of the neighborhood split up.

Denial is powerful, especially when your world is small. You may have few new friends, your friends are family, if you don’t have a job or career. You live in an old neighborhood, with retired folks who are your friends. I would see how unhappy their lives were. They complained about their spouses, living or dead. Is this what life is? I couldn’t believe it. I was so unhappy, I rarely smiled. “This can’t be right,” I thought.

Yes, the Babe and I are far from perfect. But we are perfect for each other. We are blunt but not hurtful with each other when things aren’t going well. Yes, the truth hurts sometimes. We check ourselves and learn from the kerfuffles of living with another human. Isn’t kerfuffle a great word? I heard Judge Judy say it, It just isn’t used that much. It’s a commotion or fuss, especially by conflicting views.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

Humans often want their own way. I find myself tamping down disagreement; not to “go along to get along,” but to check my ego and realize two people live here, and we both should be able to decorate, garden, whatever we want to do. My truth now is pick my battles. The Babe does the same. It’s called being a grownup. It’s also what you do when you love someone. It’s part of being a couple. Equality in marriage is possible, and it’s wonderful. It’s now part of my truth. And the Babe’s.

If you embrace the truth you find a way to deal with whatever problems are around you. You have to make decisions that may hurt. Change and growth do indeed hurt. Rejecting the old truth for the new real truths creates room for growth. It’s scary and exciting at the same time. The insights you gain help you dissect your current life and learn the skills to make the hard choices. With choice you begin to have a voice. We talked about Choices and Voices this week if you missed it.

Don’t get me wrong; I had to experience life as it was for me in order to learn and grow to where I am now. My soul is satisfied with life. I loved the part of my life when I was a Mom. My kids were the best job I ever had. They grew and left! No one told me what life would be like without them. I also knew I couldn’t keep them from having their own lives. Letting go of them was painful. And now, I’m learning how to fill that void. Writing has opened my eyes and given me a clear direction of how I hope to spend my next thirty years or so. Lord willing, of course!

It’s a warm but very windy day today. The Babe and I are both working on projects today. I love it when we’re both here, doing our own thing. He often comes in my office studio and announces, “Break time.” We both stop, sit down and have some water or other beverage, and talk. I enjoy that so much. Sometimes the break lasts all afternoon, but that’s OK. Whatever we’re doing, it’ll still be there tomorrow. I’m hoping it’s less windy downstairs on the patio. I can listen to the rest of my Kid Lit training. Then Cartney McGuigan (my illustrator), and I will conquer the Kid Lit World! We meet again in a few weeks, so I have some work to do – after I learn what to do! Busy and productive is always good!

BTW, Happy Birthday to Cartney! She turned 18 this week, and the world is now before her. She has a sound plan to begin. I’m excited for her. This young woman is considering all of the possibilities before her and planning how to get there. This is how life should be approached, my friends.

Thank you for reading today. You know how I appreciate it. Have a beautiful spring-like day today. Hope you’re not dealing with the wind, too! It’s brutal. Our new flag is snapping in the wind. What a great sound, though. The sound of our freedom. God Bless America, and all of us! See you tomorrow!