Friday, June 26, 2009

To Those Who Insult Michael Jackson

Just had to share this "Open Letter To Those Who Insult Michael Jackson." Thanks, MJ, for telling me when I was eight that it didn't matter if I was black or white and for debuting your music videos on the regular TV stations, so everyone could watch.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Routing Resentment: Talk to each other!

I clutched my Beloved last night watching Jon and Kate Plus 8 as the parents explained their decision to separate. It was sad, of course, but also frightening. Could that happen to us if we married? The answer is, of course, yes, it could. Any couple could go from this:

to divorced without caution. I'd heard all the gossip blaming the fame and the show or the multiple children or one spouse or the other, but none of those theories hold water. The paparazzi complicate their lives, but unfamous couples have complications, too, like layoffs, ailing relatives, sick children, or mental illnesses. Children are challenging, but plenty of big families stay together.

The episode opened with a disagreement about where to put the children's playhouses, which could have been discussed in the planning stages in place of broiling silence and resentment. Then, in the separation interviews, Jon said, "I've never been a good communicator," and she said, "He won't talk to me." How long had they been like two workers on the Tower of Babel, unable to communicate to move a single brick? Today, I haven't found a single commentary blaming the breakdown in communication, perhaps because we want to believe that only "freakishly" large families or reality TV exhibitionists can end up so far from where they thought they were going. (In my searching, though, I found plenty of people calling them gook and bitch in Youtube comments. Sigh. This blog's got work to do, so please share it with all the ignorant Youtube members you may know.)

May you, dear reader, nor I ever choke on our anger or resentment so much that we swallow it until it swallows us. In that spirit, I want to clear the air with My Beloved: I'm sorry I didn't replace the toilet paper roll when I used the last square last night. I must be hard to love when my brains scatter about your tidy abode. Though I forget a lot of things, know that I never forget that I love you even when it seems like I scorn your structure. Really, I think your structure's great! Love, Ivy

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

If there is only one lesson we can learn from our parents, it is forgiveness. They know their children will hurt them, and they have them anyway. Then, we hurt them, but they keep loving us. They COULD put up a wall between them and their children, and perhaps some do, but even those who do will simultaneously give up their parent title, as if it is written in our DNA that forgiveness is integral to parenthood.

Sometimes, parents make mistakes by their children, and if we learned well, we forgive them back. As this blog's not about easy love, if you have a hard time loving your parents, I hope you take some time today to enumerate the things your parents did out of love, even if you didn't get the love message at the time. I would even champion a letter detailing your resulting list. Something along the lines of, "All the times you did [blank], I understand you were doing it because you loved me." As a friend has said, we spend plenty of time measuring each other by our failures. Even if they abandoned or abused, were addictive or incarcerated, what harm can come from acknowledging that no one is completely evil nor completely good?

Happy Fathers' Day!!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Wedding Guests as Witnesses

Right before the birthday in Germany, I had the privilege of attending an intimate wedding, about 45 friends and family members, in Mexico. The couple walked down the aisle hand-in-hand, and also skipped the bridal party and groomsmen traditions. Instead, each guest was given a calla lily boutonniere, as if we were all in the wedding.

And we were: the officiant asked us all to take a vow to protect their union just as they had to promise to love and protect each other. Their love has survived continents apart, the swine flu, and so much more; I can't imagine what marital trouble I could help them through after all that. Alas, do we ever know what trouble will come? Every guest was a witness, and we all gladly answered, "I do." Congratulations!!! May this day be the day you love each other least for the rest of your lives.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Stop Frontin'

I had a chat with a friend yesterday that I could have had with thousands of other women. Do you recognize yourself anywhere in this conversation?
Friend: my guy friends tell me that I come off demanding and hard to approach, and my girlfriends tell me that I'm too hard on guys, but I don't want to be a pushover
Ivy: do you feel that people don't really know the real you when they first meet you?
Friend: yes, and many people have told me after knowing me for awhile "when I first met you I thought you hated me"
Ivy: hahaha! so what do you think people think about you at first? and what do you think people realize after they finally get to know you?
Friend: I think it's in the look I give them. I developed the look to turn off scrubs, but I think it turns off stud muffins as well.
Friend: at first, they think I'm very serious
Friend: once they get to know me, though, they realize that yes, I work hard, but I have maybe one serious bone in my body
Friend: most people also think that I'm quiet when they first meet me, but then realize the exact opposite is true
Ivy: so what should your ideal man love about you?
Friend: the fact that i have my own mind, that I have goals and opinions, that I'm there no matter what
Ivy: ok, so you're loyal, you're opinionated, independent and you have a sense of humor
Ivy: if a guy isn't in love with those 4 things, he needn't apply. Right?
Friend: Correct!
Ivy: ok, so how is the man who is scouring the earth looking for you, the loyal, opinionated, funny, independent woman of his dreams supposed to know you when he sees you, if you're scowling and keep your opinions to yourself when he meets you?
Ivy: you're wearing camo! how's he supposed to find you that way?
Friend: I never thought about it like that. I need to stop making it so hard for the hunter
Ivy: if the scrubs come, just say no, which you have no problem doing.
Ivy: luckily, the real you is awesome, and your laugh and smile are gorgeous!! so if you're just you all the time, people will just come.
Ivy: it's so awkward when people ask for advice, and all i can say is "stop being a douchebag"

Women today, we're strong. We have to be. Who has time for a breakup before a major client presentation? Sometimes, though, we misinterpret braggadocio for strength. For example, I met a joyful woman at a bachelorette getaway last weekend who declared loudly that all she wanted was a boytoy to pleasure and dine her and be disposed by her when she goes to grad school. Then, in other moments, she quietly suggested she might really want to love and to be loved - which she'd be great at, I think - and she wondered why that eluded her.

We put up walls of bombast and bitchiness to protect ourselves from those who might break our hearts, and we're afraid that people will see through these disguises, but the worst thing that can happen is that no one does. There is no valor nor gain to be had in hiding. In Eleanor Roosevelt's words, "You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do." And it can be terrifying to simply be your humanly vulnerable or goofy or imperfectly beautiful or malaproptastic self, but love's looking for you -- just as you are.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Back from Germany

Sorry for the long hiatus, my six dear readers! I'm back from Germany, where my Beloved and I went to celebrate his grandmother's 92nd birthday. We grilled out, we went to Holland for lunch, we packed up the family and some beers and took kiddo (niece, not daughter) to the playground. No, really, we were boozing in the sandbox.

Grandma had a ball, and I even got to see more of Germany this time around. In Berlin, we went to the Old National Gallery, a dignified repository of hundreds of years of German paintings and sculptures. Notably, I saw dozens of naked German men's butts, more German butts than I'd ever seen, like this "Waterboy" sculpture by Adolf Von Hildebrand:

I don't know why I was so surprised, though, because I had to walk through this courtyard to get to all the museums:

For all our cultural differences, I found that our two families actually have a lot in common (beer, BBQ, babies, zB). And I'll stand by that, until he meets mine in July. Stay tuned!


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