Some days I thrive and some days I just survive

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“It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.” ― Leon C. Megginson

Leon Megginson was talking about business on the quote above but I think it fits in every area of life.  I am strong and intelligent but what will help me now is how quickly I adapt to my new normal.

I often say that I can adapt to anything, but at some moments I catch myself dragging my feet.  I realize I am going through the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  Sometimes I go through all the stages in the same day and in different orders.

I am grieving my normalcy, my routine.  I am mourning my freedom.  The freedom of coming and going without worry.

Denial: At first it didn’t seem real.  Up to 2 weeks ago I was still going to the office every day.  Still taking the train as if all is business as usual.  Pretending or perhaps just trying to believe that all was fine.  Then I realized that I was not doing my part to help contain this virus.  I decided that only people that need to go out should go out. So I stayed at home. Denial helps us handle things slowly and on our own terms.  

I wonder if being sane means disregarding the chaos that is life, pretending only an infinitesimal segment of it is reality.”― Rabih Alameddine

Anger: I am angry for the loss of my freedom.  My anger is directed towards our leaders that don’t know how to lead. Trump has done what he always does: make excuses, blame others and say how well he is doing.  Bolsanaro, the president of Brazil is even worst. Changing his mind at every second, yelling at reporters, blaming the media, calling this pandemic a hype.  It is hard to feel safe and secure when our leaders behave in such a way.

“How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.” ― Marcus Aurelius,  Meditations

Bargaining: I have been doing a lot of that.  Every night when I pray I ask God to let me be the one to get the virus instead of any of my family members.  I am volunteering that if anyone in my family is supposed to get this virus, please let it be me and not my parents and siblings. If my family escapes unscathed I promised to live more and worry less.  I will have more fun. I will live more.

“When you’re lost in those woods, it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost. For the longest time, you can convince yourself that you’ve just wandered off the path, that you’ll find your way back to the trailhead any moment now. Then night falls again and again, and you still have no idea where you are, and it’s time to admit that you have bewildered yourself so far off the path that you don’t even know from which direction the sun rises anymore.”― Elizabeth Gilbert

Depression:  Some days I can see glimpses of depression.  Some days it is hard to see light at the end of the tunnel.  The feeling of powerlessness overwhelms me.  At those times is when I have to tap deep inside and turn to gratitude.  To me, gratitude is the antidote to depressive thoughts. I realize that the light I look for is not at the end of the tunnel or in some other abstract point in the future.  The light is inside of me and it is here now.  

“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Acceptance:  I accept the situation more than I rebel against it.  What is the alternative?  It is right here staring us in the face. Nowhere to hide, nowhere to escape.  Acceptance allows us to move on, to create new habits, to even find joy in our days. When we accept the situation we can start to see the future and to plan tomorrow.  I can accept but I don’t have to like it.

It is time to adapt, reflect, be patient and persevere.  I know I am blessed and have nothing to complain about.  But still, I remind myself that all my feelings are okay.  I don’t need to feel sorry or ashamed for feeling scared and defeated some days.  It is okay not to feel like a superwoman every day.  Some days I am just a frightened little girl, and that is okay.

For now I pray, I love, I say thank you. I am kinder and more patient.  For now I am trying to clean my house and my mind.  I am getting far from people (physically) and closer to God.

And this, too, shall pass.  And we will be stronger than ever!

“Your whole life is inside your mind.  Your mind is the prism that refracts the entire universe.  Everything around you and within you comes from your mind.  You are your state of mind.  Your state of mind creates your view, or your window, on life.”-  Frederick Lenz

 

Birthday, Bagels and Chocolate Cake

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My sister and I celebrated our birthdays today (March 28).  We turned 54 years old.  It is just so strange, so foreign to verbalize (write) that I am that age.  It doesn’t fit.  It doesn’t feel right.  Yet, that’s how old I am.   

No matter what age I am, I will always gratefully celebrate the gift of life.  The gift of another day.  We didn’t do anything special, we are choosing to observe the quarantine and stay inside.  Being alive, healthy and safe is special enough. 

We spent the day cooking, baking, watching movies.  We did some yoga poses and answered the several phone calls we got.  

For breakfast my sister made bagels from scratch.  She loves bagels and eats them every weekend.  We didn’t have any and didn’t want to go out to buy it.  So she got a recipe online.  It came out pretty tasty.

Homemade Bagels

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh

I haven’t baked a cake in a long time, but wanted to make one for our birthday.  I made a chocolate cake with two fillings.  One filling was a coconut cream and the other was a chocolate cream.  I covered it with chocolate ganache. 

Chocolate Cake

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes. All is a miracle.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh

It was a combination of 2 of my favorite Brazilian cakes:  Bolo prestigio (with coconut filling) and Bolo Brigadeiro (with chocolate filling).  The pictures don’t do justice.  It was absolutely to die for.  I wish you guys could taste it. It was not overly sweet.

Slice of heave, I mean chocolate cake

“Around us, life bursts with miracles–a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops. If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere. Each human being is a multiplicity of miracles. Eyes that see thousands of colors, shapes, and forms; ears that hear a bee flying or a thunderclap; a brain that ponders a speck of dust as easily as the entire cosmos; a heart that beats in rhythm with the heartbeat of all beings. When we are tired and feel discouraged by life’s daily struggles, we may not notice these miracles, but they are always there.”― Thich Nhat Hahn

Far away family and unfinished floors

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“None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, yet still we go forward. Because we trust. Because we have Faith.”― Paulo Coelho

My friend, and fellow blogger, David from Life and Random Thinking https://dfolstad58.wordpress.com/ asked me 2 questions while commenting on a post.  Here are the questions and answers:

David asked: How is your mom in Brazil? How did your reno turn out?

My family in Brazil.  My family lives in a town in the state of Sao Paulo.  The population is about 85,000.  As of this moment there are no confirmed cases of the Coronavirus there, but I think it is only a matter of time.  

Healthcare in Brazil is really bad.  Too often hospitals lack equipment and space.  I cannot imagine what will happen if they become inundated with cases. On top of that, our president follows everything Trump says and does.  Right now he is arguing with governors and mayors over what he calls “overreaction”. 

My parents don’t seem too worried about themselves, or at least they don’t show.  They worry about the economy and the people that cannot afford to stay at home until this is over.  Mom is also sad that all our travel plans had to be canceled.  She was coming to NY in April.  Now all is on hold.

I remain positive that my mother, who is turning 85 years old on May 1st and my dad who is 83 will be okay.  They are homebodies anyway so it is not hard to keep them at home.  I worry about the people that normally come to the house.  

“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.” ― George Burns

My brother, who is 62 years old, is the one that oversees the care of my parents.  He lives in the little house in the back of their house, so he is always there.  There is a lady that cleans the house twice a week and there is a nurse that comes once or twice a week to check on my dad issues with his leg (he had one leg amputated due to cancer). 

On our daily phone call, my sister and I have been stressing to them the need to use hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes everywhere.  At this point we need to trust that they will do their best to keep my parents safe.

Living far from my parents for the past 36 years I had to learn to come to terms with many things.  There is not a lot I can do being far away, other than helping them financially.  Time doesn’t stop for anyone, they are getting older and will eventually part.  Every time I visit them it could be the last.  So I do all I can from here and every time I am there I make the most of it.  No regrets.

“All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Apartment Renovation:  Don’t ask!  Just kidding, you can ask, but you just reminded me that my renovation is unfinished.  Not that I don’t see it every day. I have just been avoiding thinking about it.

The painting is done.  So are, the light fixtures, some removed and some hung up.  The flooring is another story. 

At this moment my sister’s bedroom has the new floor but the shoe moldings hasn’t been finished.  A friend who is a painter was doing the floor for me.  He said he knew how to do floors and he had done a few before.  Clearly he didn’t know anything about padding. 

When I mentioned wanting to keep the same padding that was under the carpeting that was removed he didn’t fight me on it.  Clearly it was the wrong call. When you step on the floor it moves.  He wanted to redo it right away, but I didn’t have the mental energy for it.  I got so frustrated that I halted everything.  

The picture below is my sister’s room.  Because the moldings weren’t finished the planks are moving, so the gaps are starting to show and become wider.

My sister’s room

My bedroom has only padding on the floor, as you can see on the picture below.  Even though my carpet wasn’t that bad I went ahead and removed it, thinking that the floor was going to be installed right away.   

All the flooring and the padding material are now hidden under my bed waiting until my mind is clear so I can choose what to do next.  I put some rugs down for now.

Please note that my friend was not doing me a favor, I probably paid him more than the going rate for the job. I don’t blame him.  I blame myself.

My bedroom

“The true genius shudders at incompleteness — imperfection — and usually prefers silence to saying the something which is not everything that should be said.”― Edgar Allan Poe

Thank you for asking David! You probably didn’t intend on getting such a long answer.  Be careful what you ask for/about! 🙂 ♥♥

Be blessed and safe everyone!

Gratitude is my panic room

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“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers
but to be fearless in facing them.

Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain
but for the heart to conquer it.

Let me not look for allies in life’s battlefield
but to my own strength.

Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved
but hope for the patience to win my freedom.

Grant that I may not be a coward,
feeling your mercy in my success alone;

But let me find the grasp of your hand in my failure.” – Tagore

This was my third day working from home. I feel out of sorts.  I am a creature of habit.  Without the routine I feel lost.  Working from a desk in my bedroom I am busy the whole day and yet I don’t feel productive.  

My comfort zone is my routine and the accomplishments at work.  As I battle these uncomfortable feelings I focus on the potential growth hidden in these feelings.  

I think that at the core of this discomfort is fear.  Fear of tomorrow’s uncertainty.  I like order and I like having an idea of what the future may bring.  Now it is hard to tell.

As I put these thoughts out in the open I feel embarrassed at my silliness and even entitlement. How dare I feel lost and out of control?

“Man is not to fight with other human races, other human individuals, but his work is to bring about reconciliation and Peace and to restore the bonds of friendship and love. We are not like fighting beasts. It is the life of self which is predominating in our life, the self which is creating the seclusion, giving rise to sufferings, to jealousy and hatred, to political and commercial competition. All these illusions will vanish, if we go down to the heart of” ― Tagore

Today I woke up in my cozy bed, in my big bedroom.  I woke up safe and sheltered.  I don’t have to worry about where my next meal is coming from.  If I miss a few paychecks life will not fall apart. 

If I catch Coronavirus I have insurance and I am in the US, where, although healthcare needs improving it is still much better and more available than in a lot other countries.

Although I worry about my elderly parents far away in Brazil I know they are being well taken care of by my brother.  I really have nothing to complain about.

Living in the US, specifically in NY state, it is easy to take everything for granted.  For so many around the world, and even here in the US, Coronavirus is not even a thought as their daily struggles are as basic as food, shelter, clean water, electricity, etc.   

Feeling lost because I am working from home is a luxury.  Many would give anything for a home and a job. That thought slaps me in the face.

“Perhaps the new dawn will come from this horizon, from the East where the sun rises; and then, unvanquished Man will retrace his path of conquest, despite all barriers, to win back his lost heritage. ” ― Tagore

I return to gratitude, a space that I inhabit well.  A place where I belong.   Gratitude grounds me.  It provides me with the perspective I need in uncertain times.

Although there are moments I forget,  I am blessed and I know it. And so are you.

Be safe, be grateful and be blessed!  Above all, be kind!

All the poems/quotes here are from Tagore.  In 1913 Rabindranath Tagore was the first non-European person to win a Nobel Prize for Literature. He was born in Indian 1861 and died in 1941. He was a poet and scholar. 

“Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high,
where knowledge is free.
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls.
Where words come out from the depth of truth,
where tireless striving stretches its arms toward perfection.
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost it’s way
into the dreary desert sand of dead habit.
Where the mind is led forward by thee
into ever widening thought and action.
In to that heaven of freedom, my father,
LET MY COUNTRY AWAKE!”― Tagore

 

 

I made my favorite food: Kibe

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“Humor keeps us alive. Humor and food. Don’t forget food. You can go a week without laughing.” -― Joss Whedon

One of my favorite foods is kibbeh (quibe or kibe in Portuguses).  I used to eat it every chance I got when I lived in Brazil. You can find it in any bar or restaurant there. Here in NY I rarely eat it unless I go to a Brazilian Restaurant.

Kibbeh is a Middle Eastern dish.  A friend, knowing I love it, made it for me Lebanese style since her family is Lebanese. Unfortunately I didn’t like it.  She made it with lamb and it had a lot of nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and cloves.  I don’t eat lamb and those spices are too much for me.  In Brazil it is made with ground beef and it doesn’t include those spices.   

I use to make it often, but for some reason or another I haven’t made it over 10 years.  A month ago I bought wheat to give to a friend and accidentally over-ordered. With the quarantine in mind and with people over buying I decided that I would not do that.  I live across the street from a market, so I am buying what I need for one week and I am going to use all the foods in my pantry before buying more. 

Yesterday I decided to use the wheat and make Kibbeh. The way I make it is very easy.

I soaked 500 grams of bulgur/cracked wheat in cold water.  After 2 hours I squeezed the water out and mixed the same amount of meat. I added finely chopped garlic, chives, parsley, mint, salt and pepper.  I also add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Above are the ingredients and below is the mixture.  Most people will mix all the ingredients and chop them in a food processor.  I don’t.  I mix and chop the greens by hand.  I like to see and taste the larger pieces.   

I love to really taste the greens , specially the mint so I put a lot of it but be careful with it not to overdo it and have it come out tasting like a tic-tac mint or mouth-wash. 

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.”-― George Bernard Shaw

It can be filled with catupiry cheese ( Brazilian soft cheese)or with sauteed grounded beef. I don’t fill it with anything.  Mold it in the shape of footballs. 

It is normally deep fried but I wanted to be a bit healthier and I didn’t want to get my small apartment stinking of fried oil, so I drizzled with olive oil and baked for 10 minutes 400 degrees.

There is a recipe specifically for making it baked, but I just chose to make the recipe used for frying.  I like to eat with a squeezed lime on it.  But it can be served with plain yogurt or some other dip.

I also love to make tabbouleh – a delicious salad with mint, tomatoes and cucumber.

It came out so delicious, soft and moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside.  My sister, that can be my worst critic, loved it.

Keep busy, keep happy, keep doing!

“Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE.”― Joss Whedon

While I wait for the miracles, I reflect

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“I am realistic – I expect miracles.” ― Wayne Dyer

I always believe in finding the good in everything.  Normally that means finding some redeeming quality in an ex-boyfriend or some lessons in a failed relationship.

Now I am trying to find the good in Coronavirus. What is good about something that forces us to halt our routines, that inspire fear and panic, that kills people and let’s not forget what it will do to people’s finances and to the whole economy in general? 

Nothing, you may say.  But still we have to believe in a light at the end of the tunnel.  Even though it now seems like a never ending tunnel.  It all will get much worst before there is any relief in sight.

At times such as this I remember something I heard in a Kabbalah class.  The instructor said: “After every tragedy there is a miracle”.  He didn’t say after “some” tragedy, he said after “every” tragedy.  He added: “The bigger the tragedy, the bigger the miracle”.

I believe in that.  There are hidden miracles here too.  

“Miracles are like pimples, because once you start looking for them you find more than you ever dreamed you’d see.” ― Lemony Snicket, The Lump of Coal

Tragedies can be wake-up calls and force change.  This virus is forcing us to hit pause on our lives.  It is time for reflection and change, instead of fear and complaining.

It is time to have less arrogance and egoism and more humility and humanity.  Life is fragile.   To this virus we are all the same, all of flesh and bone, all vulnerable. We are not better than our Chinese or Italian friends.  We are united in fragility, fear and uncertainty.

We human beings don’t like changes.  If left to our own devices we would never change, so life is forcing us.  We are forced to stop and regroup.  

Is everything that we are doing out of sheer habit really necessary?  Do we need the latest gadget?  Do we need a brand new car?  Do we really need a 1K bag or pair of shoes?  Can we live with less?

“You are in prison. If you wish to get out of prison, the first thing you must do is realize that you are in prison. If you think you are free, you can’t escape.” ― G.I. Gurdjieff

Let’s tap into our inner strength.  We are fragile, but we don’t have to feel like victims.  We can tap into our inner strength for that extra support.  We are all stronger than we think. Even if you are not spiritual try to give it a chance.

I become stronger and empowered when:

  • I smile and have a positive outlook. I believe that the future will be bright. This too shall pass.
  • I pray and meditate (mostly pray).  I will, once again, give meditation a try.
  • I am grateful.  I make a mental list of all I am grateful for, big and small.
  • I help others.  I try to make someone else’s life or just a day better.
  • I embrace fear.  I analyze and dissect the situation. I take small bites of it and make it my ally.  When fear is my friend it is no longer unknown and scary, it becomes a weapon.
  • I am active.  I exercise, take a walk, I clean my apartment, I move my body. When I am doing, I am building strength.
  • I believe in something bigger than myself.  The belief I have in God, a Superior Being, the Universe, that resides within myself empowers me.  I believe that no matter what I will be okay, we will be okay, because there is a God guiding and protecting us.

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Let’s reflect on our life and goals.  It is a good time to reflect on the direction our life is going.  Some questions I am asking myself: (and answers)

  • Am I leading the life I want to lead? 
    • Not really.  Works is beyond stressful.  It is about time I take steps towards changing that.
  • When this is over will I go back to being exactly the same person, doing the same thing day in and day out?
    • I hope not.  I hope to slow down and be less robotic. I want more meaning.
  • Will I continue spending money on the same things?
    • I need to re-think my finances.  It is okay to spend money on things that will enrich my life.
  • Will I spend time with the same people?
    • I plan on reaching out to some long lost faces.  I also plan on making new friends.  There are some people that I am happily leaving behind.
  • Will I have more experiences and make more memories?
    • Absolutely!!! I am not sure what that is going to look like but I am going to make it happen.

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ― Rumi

Please remember the following:

  • More gratitude, less complaining.  Perhaps we have been taking too many things for granted.  We take our health, our bodies, our family, friends, jobs, money, freedom, all for granted.  
  • More caution, less fear.  Let’s be cautious.  Be prepared and follow the guidelines, but lets not let fear paralyze us.  Let’s act in a way that we help ourselves and others.
  • Alone, not Lonely.  Even though we have to practice social distancing physically, it doesn’t mean that we cannot connect with others.  We can call, text, email, video call, etc.  No reason to feel alone and not reach out.  Try to think of the elderly or not so elderly people that you know that would love to hear your voice, or just any voice.
  • Not in control but not out of control.  We are not in control of the situation but still we can control out actions and reactions.  We don’t have to act out of control.  We can still practice kindness towards others.
  • Stock up, but don’t be greedy.  Let’s buy only what we need. Let’s be considerate of others. Can you share some of what you have? 

At the end of the day we still don’t know all that is going to happen.  This is a world crisis, not just NY, not just US.  I hope that there will be miracles flourishing all over the place. 

I read that people can now hear birds sing in Wuhan, and that canals in Venice are so clean that fishes can now be seen. I am not sure it is true, but I know that we humans are constantly altering and destroying all around us.  We pollute.  We pollute cities, streets, rivers, minds, our bodies.  It is a good time to pause, breath and do better.  We can do much better.

More kindness and grace! Be the miracle!

“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.” ― Maya Angelou

Why Not You? Why Not Me?

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In these very uncertain times it is easy to feel powerless and paralyzed by fear.  Today I am looking to the skies and asking for guidance and strength and most importantly I am saying a prayer of gratitude.

I am thankful for life. I am grateful because I perspire, bleed, cry and breathe faith and hope!  I am positive, optimistic and more hopeful than ever.

You have a choice.  Choose to be grateful.  Choose to be kind.  Choose to be human! Remember the less fortunate.  Remember the weaker. Remember the elderly.

Help and give thanks!

Thank you for coming here and gracing me with your always so supportive words.  You make me stronger.

***

I love the way Steve Maraboli thinks and writes.  He is a motivational speaker and author.  Today I came across this awesome passage.

“Why Not You?

Today, many will awaken with a fresh sense of inspiration. Why not you?

Today, many will open their eyes to the beauty that surrounds them. Why not you?

Today, many will choose to leave the ghost of yesterday behind and seize the immeasurable power of today. Why not you?

Today, many will break through the barriers of the past by looking at the blessings of the present. Why not you?

Today, for many the burden of self doubt and insecurity will be lifted by the security and confidence of empowerment. Why not you?

Today, many will rise above their believed limitations and make contact with their powerful innate strength. Why not you?

Today, many will choose to live in such a manner that they will be a positive role model for their children. Why not you?

Today, many will choose to free themselves from the personal imprisonment of their bad habits. Why not you?

Today, many will choose to live free of conditions and rules governing their own happiness. Why not you?

Today, many will find abundance in simplicity. Why not you?

Today, many will be confronted by difficult moral choices and they will choose to do what is right instead of what is beneficial. Why not you?

Today, many will decide to no longer sit back with a victim mentality, but to take charge of their lives and make positive changes. Why not you?

Today, many will take the action necessary to make a difference. Why not you?

Today, many will make the commitment to be a better mother, father, son, daughter, student, teacher, worker, boss, brother, sister, & so much more. Why not you?

Today is a new day!

Many will seize this day.

Many will live it to the fullest.

Why not you?”

― Steve Maraboli,  Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Loves Trump, hates immigrants and is clueless about sex: not my match! (the mistakes I made and lessons I learned in this short-lived relationship)

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This was written on Friday, 3/13/2020.  Sorry, another lengthy post.

My relationship with M was lukewarm, now it is dead cold.  Wake and burial details will be announced soon, for now I am explaining the cause of the death.  Last night was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.  Before I talk about last night, I want to state a few mistakes I made. The relationship was already showing ill signs from the beginning.

Even though he was always calm and gentle with me there was an underlining bitterness and negativity that I attributed to his stressful work.  I thought that once he retired, he would become more laid back.  Mistake no.1 – Thinking that he would change.  I know better than to think that I can change anyone but I thought my happiness and positiveness could rub off on him.  Circumstances change but people rarely do. 

“Even if you cannot change all the people around you, you can change the people you choose to be around. – Roy T. Bennet”

I thought that once he retired and had more time, we would be spending more time together.  We spoke and texted every day, but he seemed to be getting too busy or tired to get together. Mistake no.2 – Thinking that I was going to be a priority. If someone doesn’t make you a priority when they are busy, they won’t make you a priority when they have more time either.

“Action expresses priorities.” – Mahatma Gandhi 

Bluntly, sex was lackluster! It seemed promising in the beginning.  The chemistry was there so I thought that as we spent more time together things would heat up.  Mistake no.3 – Staying in a relationship that is so-so when I want/need fireworks.  I want scorching hot but was settling for lukewarm.  I have been waiting too long for the right person to just settle for uncertainty.  

“Sometimes I get real lonely sleeping with you.” – Haruki Murakami,  A Qild Sheep Chase

I knew he liked Trump so I avoided talking politics.  When talking about politics and also about his work he would get more agitated. He seemed bitter about being a cop for 20 years and dealing with crazy people and situations.  He blamed politics/the democrats/Obama for the issues at work, for the increase in crime in NY and the disrespect to police officers.  That was Mistake no.4 – Thinking that if I avoided certain things and subjects, they would not be a factor and/or it would go away.   Because I avoided talking about it, I didn’t know how much he really loved Trump. 

In the future I will not avoid certain subjects and things.  I will talk about whatever I want and address disagreements and difference of opinions head on and right away.  Knowing how to work through disagreements signals the potential of the relationship.

“The first duty of a man is to think for himself” ― Jose Marti

He seemed like a gentleman, hard-worker, honest, didn’t have much baggage.  He looked like the perfect match for me.  But as time went on bad sex and Trump love were dark clouds looming over my head. 

And then last night happened.

It was the 2 month anniversary of our relationship.  During his nightly call after some chit-chat we started talking about the coronavirus.  I asked his opinion about Trumps’ oval office address.  I knew it would be a touchy subject, but I was tired of walking on eggshells and was interested in knowing his opinion.  I somehow was still believing that he was capable of independent thought.

He said he didn’t really watch it.  I call bs on that.  Of course he saw it.  I said that I didn’t think Trump did a good job of reading.  I asked him if he knew why was the UK excluded from the travel ban.  Why was the UK an exception? 

He responded sarcastically: ” May be it is racism, because the Left says everything is about racism”.  I was shocked, not as much in what he said, but by his tone of voice and anger.  I didn’t really know how to reply to that.

Somehow my question and comment on Trump’s performance unleashed something in him.  He alternated between defending Trump and attacking, as he puts it, the Left.  I wish he was that passionate in bed.

“Men in rage strike those that wish them best.” ― William Shakespeare, Othello

I wish I could have recorded all he said. It included:  “What did Trump do?  Did he kill anyone?  Because people call him Hitler. That is ridiculous.  What about Obama?  Obama could kill people and no one would say anything.”

He kept going on and on about the fake media and terrible Obama. He was speaking fast, not giving me a chance to say anything, not that I would know what to say to all that garbage he was spewing.

I wondered why I was being attacked.  Finally I was able to get a word in. I wanted him to know that he didn’t need to go on and on because no matter what he said I would not change my mind. 

I said: “I respect your opinion but I didn’t like Trump before he was the president and I like him even less now.  My opinion is not going to change”. 

“Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States. Ask any Indian.” ― Robert Orben

Before I had the chance to numerate the reasons why I don’t like Trump, he cut me off and said: “It is not about the president, it is about the country.  What about the country?  Do you like the US? Before I had a chance to respond, he added: What really makes me mad is the disrespect to the US specially from the immigrants.  If you don’t like here, leave.  Go back to where you came from.”

Dead silence from me!  I felt I was punched in the gut. I was too shocked to have a reaction.  He immediately said: “I don’t mean you”.

Really?  What other immigrant did he mean?  My face was burning by this point. But I chose not to reply to his stupidity with anger.   I chose to separate myself from the situation.  I took a deep breath and said: “Listen, I need to take a break. Let’s talk later” and I hung up.

By “later” I meant NEVER  And he knew it.

“The truth is, immigrants tend to be more American than people born here.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Choke

I decided that it was best to save my breath and energy.  I realized in that moment that this is a person that I would never be able to be with.  Some of Trump supporters are incapable of having a civil discussion.  They are incapable of allowing for the man to be wrong. So they go on and on defending the indefensible and attacking whoever disagrees.   

Making such a comment to me regarding immigrants is hitting below the belt.  He intended to offend me.  Instead he just made me mad and aware of his ignorance.  This “go back to your country” rhetoric that Trump supporters use is just getting tired.   

“He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool.” ― Brigham Young

I am thankful that he showed me who he really is.  Actually,  I am grateful that I finally acknowledged who he is.  He has been showing me who he is all along, but I was not seeing.  I didn’t want to see it.  Mistake no.5 – I was selectively only looking at his good qualities.  I was focused on his potential and the ideal that I had in mind.   In the future I will look at the whole package instead of only on the positive and what I like.   

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” ― Joe Klaas, Twelve Steps to Happiness

As I have mentioned before I am not against people that voted for Trump.  I respect people’s opinion, and just wish that people would respect mine and not try to force Trump down my throat.

Why would men that have a problem with immigrants contact me on dating sites?  I specifically put it on my profile that I am one.  He is not the first one that has attacked me in such a way. 

“Life is a succesion of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”― Helen Keller

I have learned a lot with this relationship.  I am so grateful for the lessons.  In this relationship I have tried to be patient, keep an open mind and have no expectations. I feel freer and stronger for doing that but have learned that I need to find balance. 

I will:

  • Keep an open mind but will not betray my convictions and beliefs to just keep someone by my side. 
  • Be patient but will not wait around if the relationship is not going in the right direction or if the person is not who I thought he was.
  • Have no expectations but will not accept less than I deserve/want/need

Life is too short, my time is too precious and my energy too positive, to hang around stupidity, mediocrity and negativism.

I dodged a bullet and I know it. I am so grateful for my guardian angels for keeping me in the light, safe and aware.

To my readers that commented that they couldn’t deal with a partner that likes Trump I say: “You were right!  It doesn’t work!”.  You tried to alert me, but I had to learn the lesson myself. Thank you!

Be safe and healthy out there. Be cautious but not paranoid.

“You’re never perfectly safe. No human being on Earth ever is or ever was. To live is to risk your life, your heart, everything.” ― Rick Yancey,  The Last Star

Coronavirus is too close for comfort

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“Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.” ― Roy T. Bennett

My city is in the news and not for a good thing.  New Rochelle has the most cases of coronavirus in NY state.   All the cases are tied to an orthodox Jewish community. An attorney that attends that synagogue first contracted and passed it around.

I am curious to know how he contracted.  It has to come from somewhere.  My co-worker attends that synagogue.  The moment he heard about it he self quarantined. 

Today governor Andrew Cuomo deployed the National Guard and created a 1-mile contained zone around the synagogue in New Rochelle.  I live 2 miles away in the downtown area.

For now, for me, is still business as usual, but should it be?  I have trips scheduled.  I am bringing my mom to the US in about one month.   Should I cancel everything?  Should I stock up food? 

What I am doing is washing my hands more often and cleaning everything in sight with alcohol wipes.

I actually ordered masks for when my mother travels here, but they say that masks don’t really do much.

I go from not caring to being worried.  I will wait and see…and wash my hands again.

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”― The Dalai Lama

A Dozen ways to improve in relationships and life

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“It’s quite an undertaking to start loving somebody. You have to have energy, generosity, blindness. There is even a moment right at the start where you have to jump across an abyss: if you think about it you don’t do it.”― Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea

New relationships are so fragile.  Any little thing can be the end before it really had a chance to begin.  I want to do my part to give this relationship a chance.

I am being diligent about:

  • Having no expectations.  This one I have been working at it and I have seen amazing progress.  As a result I get to enjoy every little surprising detail.  Life has a new flavor: surprise!
  • Avoiding miscommunication. I go out of my way to make sure that I understand him clearly and he understands me.  When in doubt I repeat what I have been told to make sure I understood it correctly.  The result is I never walk away from a conversation confused or unsure.

“Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost.”― Khalil Gibran

  • Giving up too soon. One of my prior patterns was to run anytime something didn’t please me, or didn’t correspond to my expectations.  Now I am staying and talking about it.  I am making more of an effort before throwing in the towel.
  • Making assumptions.  In the past things that seemed so clear to me were later revealed to be the total opposite.  Now I don’t assume, I ask.

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”― Isaac Asimov

  • Being more trusting.  I was cheated on, but it doesn’t mean every man is going to cheat on me.  I am being alert not to be suspicious and paranoid.  In the past I would look for signs of deception and of course I would find it more often than not.  Now I trust until there is a reason not to. With time all things are revealed.
  • Not making the relationship a priority.  Everything else came before the relationship.  He was always an after thought, a distraction. Now I am trying to give him and the relationship more attention.

“Life is short. Focus on what really matters most; you should change your priorities over time.” ― Roy T. Bennett

  • Focusing too much on him and forgetting about everything else.  The flip side of the above.  There were instances where I made the relationship the center of my world.  I forgot about me.  It was too much.  The key word is balance.
  • Being okay with receiving compliments and love.  Anytime someone likes me I start to lose interest.  Anytime someone pays me a compliment more than a couple of times I start doubting their sincerity and assuming they are needy.  It becomes a turn off.  I am working on being open and receiving without suspicion.

“Sometimes I think the difference between what we want and what we’re afraid of is about the width of an eyelash.”― Jay McInerney

  • Letting everyday frustrations interfering in the relationship.  Lately I have been having some frustrating days at work, so I find myself being short tempered and not in the best moods.  I am making sure that I don’t take out work frustrations on him.
  • Respecting his opinion.  We don’t have to like the same things, but we have to respect each other’s likes and dislikes.  My way is not always the right way.  I am closing my mouth and opening my ears.  I am trying to learn and understand his reasons why and being respectful of them.

“Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact.” ― George Eliot, Impressions of Theophrastus Such

  • Being okay with silence.  I have being working on this one; on choosing silence more often.  So often I talk just to fill the silence.  Often I say things that are not necessary and just confuses the situation.
  • Showing appreciation. Everyone wants to feel appreciated.  So I am making sure to let him know that I appreciate the things he does for me.  I am grateful for any visit, any drink, any dinner, any time he fixes something in my apartment, or gives me a great suggestion.

“Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.”― H. Jackson Brown

I want to pay attention to all of the above not because I want to have a man by my side, but because this is the year to break old patterns. This new attitude is about life.

I have been too comfortable in my old habits for too long.  It is hard to realize that I have certain tendencies that are not very positive.   I need to change and give people/me a chance.

It is about time I let things happen instead of running into my shell and playing it safe… alone.  Alone is so much easier, comfortable and predictable.  Relationships are hard work. They take trust and vulnerability.

I want someone and at times I want to be left alone…go figure!  I am still trying to solve that equation.

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”― Albert Einstein

M so far hasn’t been a challenge or hard work. So far he is a welcome surprise.  We have different opinions about a number of things: politics, NY city, retirement, etc.  In the past I would predict doom and say good bye.  This time I decided to enjoy him and the moment and let things develop as they may.

By being better I will attract better… it is the law of the Universe.

For now is one day at a time.  Embracing the unknown and unexpected.  Having and open mind and an open heart.  Kicking and screaming.

“Love is not a state, a feeling, a disposition, but an exchange, uneven, fraught with history, with ghosts, with longings that are more or less legible to those who try to see one another with their own faulty vision.” ― Judith Butler