Unconditionally Conditional

Recently, I wrote a post where I stated love should be unconditional.  My friend SF (FYI- a conversation with him led me to that particular post) said that the thought of unconditional love was a concept of fairy tales.  That in the harsh reality in which we reside, there is no such thing as unconditional love.

Therefore, the question I pose today is: Does unconditional love exist? For the context of this discussion, we are going to think about romantic love between two people.  I’ll tackle love of family  and friends in a different blog.

I tried (unsuccessfully) to define love, but we’re going to give it a crude definition today: love is having intense feelings for someone. So, if you have intense feelings for someone, are there conditions to it, or does it just exist? Do you not love your partner if they do a, b or c? Do you only love them when they do x, y or z?

I think love should be unconditional.  To me, true love is when you see a person’s faults and you still love them, when you accept the person as they stand in front of you, when you  don’t expect them to change because you want them to. You acknowledge that your partner has faults and issues, but they are still the person you want to wake up next to. In my personal definition of love, unconditional is key.

That’s theoretical.  What about the practical application?

I’m what is often considered an ambivert: I can hold my own in a group, but I prefer being alone or in small gatherings.  If one is to be with me, they must accept this fact.  If my partner where to get mad at me because I don’t like big parties would this be fair?  If it drives my partner crazy that I don’t like parties, and they want me to start liking them “or else”, is this fair?  More importantly, if my partner doesn’t like this fact about me, something so intrinsic to my personality, can they actually love me? Do you love someone if you want them to change? Need them to change? If you are putting conditions on the relationship?

Do we marry someone because we “love” them, and then complain about their habits for the rest of our days? Do we constantly taunt them to change their evil, and not so evil ways? Is that the reality of out day to day existence if we are in “love”? Is love, and relationships, a change or else proposition?

Or, if you don’t like certain things about your partner to the point of distraction, do you simply not love them? Are they just a person that you share a bed with?

As we are reasonably far removed from Valentine’s day, I ask the question:  Is love conditional or unconditional? And, more to the point: should love be conditional or unconditional?

Is there a difference between love and a relationship?

And off you go….

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Middle Brow

Here’s a sample of things that I like:

  1. indie, art house movies about esoteric subjects
  2. big, thrilling blockbusters
  3. 19th century British Literature
  4. silly love stories
  5. 10 course tasting menus with wine pairings
  6. cheeseburger, fries and diet coke (no ice)

These are all things that make up who I am.

Here’s some random comments that people have said to me:

  1. How could you go to Graceland? It’s so tacky.
  2. Opera?  Why would you want to see a bunch of people scream in foreign languages?
  3. I don’t understand how you can enjoy music produced after 1980- it’s all junk.
  4. I don’t know how you can call this a good restaurant- a good restaurant serves a pieces of chicken parm the size of your arm
  5. I would never spend time in a museum.  My toddler could do that modern art stuff.
  6. TV?  You watch TV? I don’t even own a TV.
  7. Why should I go to a movie with subtitles?  Who wants to read a movie?
  8. Food served out of a truck?  I would never.

Etc.

Conclusion: I am too high brow for some, too low brow for others.  What this also means is that I am judged, unfairly, by many.

When you hear that someone has a hobby or enjoys something, like it or not, you are going to make an assumption about that person.  You are going to think specific things based on what they like or do not like, do or do not do. No matter how evolved we think we have become we still label, categorize and judge. We still sort people into groups.

So here’s my message for today: Do the things that make you happy.  Don’t judge others by the things that make them happy. Accept that people have habits and interests that you may not like.  Don’t expect that person to change the things that they like, or the things that they do.  A person’s habits, likes and interests are the things that make up that person, make them special and make them unique. Do not assume that because someone likes to see plays that they are overly intellectual and snooty.  Do not assume that a person who likes a musical with catchy lyrics is trite and shallow.  Do not assume that someone who likes to go to live theater is pretentious. Don’t think that a person who doesn’t see live theater is a Neanderthal.  Don’t assign a personality trait based on one small detail of a person. Find out all the little things that go into a personality, and then still don’t judge.  Accept that all people are different and all people are the same.

In short: Don’t Assume

All By Myself

Today- I am not starting with a thought or a question (G Sandwich- I glanced at your comment before writing today)  Today is a day about introspection.  And whining.  FYI- I may whine a little.

A few weeks ago I went to the beach with Husband and friends.  We had a lovely day.  No one talked about colonoscopies or doctor visits.  And I was on.  What do I mean by that? I can be very charming and funny and witty. I have the ability to be the life of the party.  But to be frank- this pretty much exhausts me.  After clever commentary and dry jokes for HOURS, my mind is fried.  And. as I was at the beach, though I wasn’t burnt, my body had still built in the heat. I had been up at 630am, hour and a half train ride to our friends, arriving at the beach at 10am, leaving the beach at 5ish- train ride home, walk to my apartment from Penn Station, ordering in chicken shawarma….by 8pm I was toast, physically and mentally and emotionally.  I wanted to sit on the couch and stare at the wall.  Literally.  That is what I wanted to do.

But instead- my very independent daughter decided to become very needy.  She had taken a practice SAT under proctor conditions that morning, and she knew it was not her best performance. She was having what we refer to as a “piglet”day (when she was little and didn’t know how to verbally express how she was feeling, we used the Winnie the Pooh characters and their characteristics to explain emotions) She was trying to cuddle and she needed sympathy.

And I pushed her away.

Because I needed space.

And of course, after the incident, I felt horrible.  I’m the Mommy.  I’m supposed to take care of her emotionally, especially when she’s reaching out to me.

But how can I take care of her if I’m not 100%?

But aren’t I supposed to push away my own feelings and take care of my child?

Mom guilt never ends.  It’s been two weeks and I still feel bad that I let her down.  I have devoted countless hours to meeting her needs, often pushing my needs aside.  And I have done that willingly- that is the way that I chose to parent. And I know there are instances that I haven’t been #worldsbestmom, but this one seemed worse because I know her days of asking for hugs are fleeting. I know that a year from now I will be in a very different place. And I question myself: why didn’t I just hug her right at the moment?

To be fair, I did sit with her the next day and take care of her emotional and mental needs.  I did give her all the love and support and pep talks she needed.  Sometimes a kiss (both Hershey’s and on top of the head) are all that is needed.  But I’m going to continually replay my actions in a loop in my mind.  Yes- I am that kind of crazy, but it’s my particular specialty.

I am amidst the land of the last firsts.  The last first day of school is rapidly approaching.  And I’m going to click my heels and she is going to be in a cap and gown.  I have to remind myself that this ride is almost over.

 

A Different Angle

A few weeks ago I asked the question: Do you tell your partner that they don’t look good?  Comments were all over the place.  Some thought- no way.  Others- yes, but must be done with kindness.  Some people said that if an article of clothing didn’t flatter them, or a hairstyle was off, they would want to know.

Today, I want to change the direction of the question just a little: Do you tell your partner that they’ve changed since the first time you met/got together?

Think about it:  is your partner the same person that they were when you first met?  Physically?  Mentally.? Emotionally?  Sure, some changes are good: people mature, which is usually a good thing.  But….should you say something like the following:

  1. The gray hair doesn’t suit you
  2. I don’t like the fact that you’re balding.
  3. When we first met you were a size 2
  4. When we first met you had a six pack, and now you just drink a six pack
  5. You used to be so much fun when we dated
  6. You used to like dancing

You get the idea.  People change.  Do we have the right to comment on it?  Should we? Do we have an expectation that they will/should change back to the way they were before? Are we still obligated to love someone even though they no longer resemble the person that we married/partnered with?

I know.  I’m throwing a lot of questions at you for a slow Tuesday morning.  Working under the assumption that you should tell your partner that they don’t look good, is it fair to bring up nature’s inevitable changes?  I used to be a size 4 brunette: now I’m a size 10 blonde- should my husband tell me I looked better as a size 4?  I mean- let’s get real- I looked much better as a size 4: should it matter? If he doesn’t like the larger version of me, should he tell me to lose weight? Should I care that he thinks I should be thinner? (assuming it’s not a health issue) Should I try to lose weight to please him?

I’m interested in how perspective changes when we alter the hypothesis just a little.  When I wrote the last blog, I was fascinated by people’s thoughts on the subject, and I couldn’t help but think a little deeper. I want people to think of it from this angle.

So: what do you think?

 

I’m Curious…

I recently read about a study about intelligence in children.  The study said that children who are curious are more intelligent than the ones that are not.

Wow.

In a million years I never would have deduced that.  Seriously, who knew that “why” was such an important word.  (FYI- where can I get paid to study the obvious…)

So, why is why so important?  Because why makes you think.  Why makes you look at possibilities.  Why leads you to the next theory or the next question. Why opens up your mind. And anything that allows your mind to go a step further automatically makes you more intelligent because you are furthering your knowledge and starting to form conclusions and beginning to see patterns. Why opens up the mind.  Opening your mind just lets stuff creep in. Guess what happens when you begin to accumulate knowledge?  You get smarter.

There’s a parenting theory that you are never supposed to say “no” to a child.  And if you’re like me, you know that this is not often practical, or reasonable or logical.  Though the interpretation of this school of thought has been a little skewed, the theory behind it is decent.  If your child is asking why, or how, you should let them explore, or you should explain to them why they can’t, and give them concrete examples. EG: Your kid wants to stick something in the light socket.  You say no.  Then, you find an age appropriate discussion about currents, or electricity or anything like that.  Make it a teachable moment- tell them why you shouldn’t do that, but give them more than “You’ll get hurt”.  They’re not stupid for wanting to stick something in a socket: they see you do it all the time.  They’re curious- they think, well, if mom puts this plug in there, the light goes on.  What happens if I stick my doll hand in there, will the doll light up? Their brain is searching for the next step.  Help them get to the next step.  Teach them to think.  Remember for a three year old, considering what happens when you stick something in a socket is thinking out of the box.  It’s not safe, but it is creative…

So the next time your kid is haunting you with “Why, why, why”, remember that they are just trying to expand their knowledge.  They are trying to learn.  Teach them. And, remember, learning doesn’t stop just because you leave formal school: learning is forever.  Every blog I write starts out with a question in my mind:  why is that so, how does that happen, when did it begin, what caused it… My blog is a testament to my thought process- whether or not I’m intelligent doesn’t matter- I keep trying to learn.  I am constantly educating myself.  Will I ever become intelligent? Who knows.  But I’m going to keep asking questions and trying to find answers.

I’m curious that way…

 

 

My Week in Review 8/26

As I continue to work on what format I like best for these posts that encapsulate my week….and I look ahead the my official last week of summer:

  1. I went to the mall. Now, I know that some of you are like, “Gee- so what- you went to the mall.  Big deal.” Here’s the thing- we only have 0ne very paltry mall in Manhattan, which I never frequent- we just have neighborhoods and stores.  And- as a mall requires traveling- I only go once, maybe twice per year, and it almost always has to do with my daughter reading about the only store in the world that can’t be found in Manhattan- in this case it was Garage (which I continuously called Garbage) and was located in the mall near my parents- so it was a two birds, one stone sort of deal. And she got a first day of school outfit- Halleluiah. It was a close one for a second- didn’t know if she’s have the right outfit….phew…weight off my shoulders…
  2. Writing Group- my fellow groupies liked my revisions! They liked my main character better, which is good because I was sort of having a likability problem (gee- who could my main character have traits of…hmmmm…if only I could rewrite my personality on the computer)
  3.  US Open Qualifiers- Here’s my secret- if you happen to find yourself in NYC the week before the Open, check out the qualifying matches- (these are the players vying to get into the draw) Some really great tennis, you’re practically on the small courts, and free… And my daughter caught the game ball of Hurkacz, and got it signed- so…good day
  4. NY Mets Game- Citi Field- We win!  Enough said!
  5. My daughter had no cavities….yay good teeth
  6. Lot of friends reruns- why?  I don’t know…my daughter got a hankering to start binge watching friends!!
  7. SAT- it’s over.  I think I am happier than my daughter.  She said science reading passage was ugly…but math appeared OK- here’s hoping
  8. Goo Goo Dolls Live album- I may have listened to that once or twice on spotify…
  9. 20180822_211554583692098.jpg
  10. “Rich People’s Problems” the final book in the crazy rich trilogy- or what it supposed to be a trilogy.  I think Kevin Kwan left the third book off with lots of potential to build on the franchise.  My daughter differs.  Let’s see who’s right.  Fun book though…

Gratitude Saturday 8/25

This week- let’s see.  For the most part was a fine week, except for the raging fight I got into with my Husband (which was entirely his fault, and he tried to make me feel bad about it and make it into my issue- but that’s a whole blog you’ll read about in a few weeks) So shaking off my cranky mood- let’s try to find the silver lining…

  1. Today is SAT day- the second and final time my daughter will take the test
  2. We can throw out the fifteen SAT study guides
  3. At US Open exhibition matches, my daughter caught the ball and got it signed
  4. egg and cheese sandwiches (I never realized that this is a NY thing until I got to other parts of the country and realized they don’t have them like we do)
  5. My friend got her surgery date approved and all the SNAFU’s taken care of
  6. Home Design (stupid puzzle game app that I am a little bit obsessed with)
  7. options
  8. my ability to stay somewhat reasonable when I really wanted to go off the rails
  9. My Mom for buying my daughter a whole bunch of clothes so I don’t have to
  10. low humidity
  11. When Alexa transposed the verbal message “buy No 2 pencils” to buy hairy pencils (yeah- I got nothing)

LA Tries a Book Review

After a truthful one line criticism of a book that I had read, The amazing Ann from muddlingthroughmymiddleages.com suggested I try my hand a book review.  So here goes: SPOILERS… There will be SPOILERS

“The Kiss Quotient” by Helen Hoang Published June 5, 2018

Everyone was talking about this book- magazines, blogs, etc. The teaser for this book had me intrigued: Woman with Asperger’s hires an escort to teach her how to be in a relationship.  I thought to myself – Oh- this is going to be like “The Rosie Project” which is about a man on the spectrum who hires a woman to help him become more normal. I loved that book.  It’s charming and sweet.  That’s the hope that I had for TKQ.

Boy was I wrong.

SPOILERS

First off- porn.  There is no other word to describe the beginning of this book other than pure, unadulterated sex scenes.  Now, I’m no prude, but I don’t need to read about THAT MUCH SEX in a book.  Secondly- the  book is intimating that people with Asperger’s can only have a relationship if it involves sex, and they must pay for it because no one else is willing to sleep with them.  I’m pretty sure that was not the author’s intention, but that’s how I viewed it.

OMG- all the sex.  Licking, biting….seriously- there was so much of that it could have been mistaken for a food review.  And it was gratuitous sex- it didn’t enhance the novel in any way, it just detracted from the main point.

What was the main point?  To show that people on the spectrum (mainly women) often  mask their feeling and quirks in an attempt to make themselves appear more “normal”.  They figure out how to navigate society and hide their “differences”. This is a pretty noble cause for a book, and I would love to read a book about this.  Alas, this was just not the right book.  The message of the author in the book comes across as shallow, trite and just not enjoyable.

Now to the love story angle- because of course these people fall in love.  Well- I like to see how two characters fall in love.  I did not see two characters fall in love.  I saw two characters (who were apparently the finest and hottest specimens of humankind ever) have a lot of lusty sex.  I saw two characters lust after one another.  There was a little conversation thrown in, but really it was peripheral.

And- they were hiding things from one another.  They were “falling in love” yet, they weren’t falling for the actual person- they were falling for the masked version. She was trying to hide her Asperger’s from him, he was hiding details of his family/father.  How do you fall in love with someone who is hiding things from you?  Doesn’t make sense to me. By the time they told each other the secrets they were “in love” and these secrets didn’t bother them.

Yeah right.  That’s totally how it would happen in real life.

After I read this book, I thought “What was this author thinking when she wrote the book?” So I read the author note: this was the only redeeming part of the book.  The teacher of her five year old daughter told her that she thought the child was on the spectrum.  Hoang thought “No way” and had her daughter tested and such.  Doctor did not find any reason to declare the child on the spectrum. Hoang was intrigued though, and started reading more about autism and Asperger’s.  What she found out started to surprise her- many women on the spectrum try to act “normal” and hide their differences (see- that’s where I got that point I made above) She began to wonder about her own behavior pattern, how many times she acted in a certain way in order to fit in. And she wondered how many undiagnosed cases of autism there are amongst women, because women are able to mask themselves.

“The Kiss Quotient”- don’t waste you time.  Ridiculous waste of words. Authors note- totally worth reading

 

Rom Com

I’ve been thinking entirely too much lately…about romantic comedies…I love romantic comedies- if I were stuck on a desert island with only one Netflix genre to choose from, I would definitely choose them above all else.  They make me laugh and they make me feel good- nothing more, nothing less.

So, in no particular order except the order in which they come to my mind:

  1. The Cutting Edge
  2. The Sure Thing
  3. Bridget Jone’s Diary (1, not 2- 2 was awful)
  4. Bridget Jone’s Baby
  5. Crazy, Stupid, Love
  6. Notting Hill
  7. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (though rom com is somewhat debatable)
  8. The Philadelphia Story (kate and cary…seriously)
  9. Bringing up Baby
  10. When Harry Met Sally
  11. Amelie
  12. What’s up Doc (aka Bringing up baby two)
  13. Sabrina (the original)
  14. High Fidelity
  15. Four Weddings and a Funeral
  16. Say Anything (though comedy may not be the right word)
  17. Groundhog Day
  18. Enough Said (don’t get me started on James Gandolfini)
  19. Some Like it Hot
  20. The Shop around the Corner
  21. You’ve Got Mail (or shop around the corner two)
  22. Roman Holiday
  23. The Big Sick
  24. Sleepless in Seattle
  25. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
  26. The Holiday
  27. The Proposal
  28. My Best Friends Wedding (romantic? not sure)
  29. Love, Actually
  30. Pretty Woman (yeah- I know. I just don’t care)
  31. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  32. Crazy, Rich, Asians

I’m sure there are more that I’ve forgotten about – but these are my faves!  May need to watch one tonight!

What Do you Do?

This is one of those strange coincidence times.  A few weeks ago, I wrote about an experience my friend had when she gave a service provider a bad rating- how the provider began texting her, etc.  On Sunday I was visiting my parents at their over 55 complex.  One of the residents was recently on the ABC show “What Would You Do”, which is a realty type show wherein actors stage an incident (like appearing to be drunk and about to drive) and they basically see how bystanders react- ie- would you step into a situation and say something.

Ok- so that’s the worlds colliding part.

When I wrote my blog, one person commented “You have to write the bad review.  you have to call out the guy who reacted angrily to a bad review.  We can’t let the bullies win.” Which I agree with- we can’t let the bullies win.  But at what cost can we not let the bullies win?  At what point do we risk our safety in order to prove a point?

Now, I’d like to say that I would be the person to stand up to bullies, to always do the honorable thing no matter what the cost…but in reality- I don’t know what I would do in a situation like that. If speaking up meant putting my daughter in danger, I am pretty confident I would not speak up.  I’m not that strong.  I will protect my daughter at all cost, and while I would gladly give up my freedom, safety and life for her, but I don’t know if I would give it up for someone else.  I just don’t know. After I read Kristen Hannah “The Nightingale” I really confronted myself with personal what if’s.

Now- let’s bring in the TV show.  I once watched part of this show (for the record- I hate this show because I think it promotes vigilantism, and makes people enter situations where they are only seeing part of a story.  Unless I see someone in physical danger I am not confronting anyone based on words alone- I do not know the backstory).  The particular scene I watched took place at a water bar I guess you’d call it.  To visit this bar you had to drive your boat up to it.  The actor appeared very drunk and looked as if he was about to get into his boat and drive.  I agree that this was a life threatening dangerous situation.  I agree that this man needed to be stopped.  But I would contact the police, 911, coast guard, navy- literally any outlet I could think of- but I would not go up and try to take this guys keys away.  Call me a coward, but if this guy was drunk and belligerent, what was I going to be able to do about it?  He was probably twice my size. Now, the way the show is set up, anyone who stands to the side is a wimp, called out for not taking a stand.  Is this fair?

Now here’s my audience interaction part: How far would you go to help someone?  What are you willing to risk?  Do you confront a bully?  What would make you risk your life? When do you put yourself on the line?

OK- I’m adding this incident to the post, so this section did not appear to anyone who read this early- but I realize it probably belongs.

A few weeks ago I was at the supermarket- long line, and I had finally reached the front.  I saw a man enter the store and immediately go to the cashier.  I said calmly that there was a line and I pointed behind me.  The man got belligerent, told me to mind my own business and started yelling at me.  if someone could get so angry over me pointing out a line, what else is someone capable of?