The Fall of Man

death

They found him. Gunshot wound to the chest on his birthday. Although, it makes sense, his heart was what hurt the most. His wife passed away four years ago in a car accident. He was the one driving the car… He had sold his house two weeks before he took his life. He wanted to move out of the city and on with his life. But, with no job prospects and no real friends anywhere else, he must have lost all hope. Deep down, we all knew this day would come; we just thought it would have happened shortly after she died, not now.

My uncle Steve is was an introverted, angry man. He didn’t like the outside world. When he met and married my aunt, his second wife, new life was pumped into his veins. He turned himself around, started going to parties, meeting people, and he even thought about having children! He said and did things he, and we, never thought he would do. But, when he accidently hit the other car that caused her death; he also died. The spark she implanted in him was gone; he went back to his old ways, hating the world and everyone in it. Each year that he remained alive, we considered ourselves lucky.

The last time I saw him was the day before his birthday. We were at a family gathering at my grandmothers. It was to celebrate her birthday, as well as his. He retreated to the living room for most of his time there, and when he was in the kitchen, he wouldn’t talk to anyone. All he wanted to do was play with his smart phone. When my grandmother talked to him, he answered her with a strong tongue and boiling anger in his eyes. No one could say or do anything to please him at this point.

I didn’t even bother trying to talk to him for fear that he would lash out at me. In fact, in all the years that we’ve been family, I’ve never said more than a few sentences to him. He wasn’t the type of uncle to show up at your high school play, take you out for ice cream, or make small talk. He was a man who just wanted to be left alone.

Sure, I could cry my heart out, take off of work for a few weeks, and preach to everyone about how you need to, “hold you loved ones close.” But, I can’t. I’ve never loved this man. To me, this isn’t a heartbreaking loss.

In fact, this isn’t a loss at all. My uncle did not die; he’s very much alive. Today he turns another year older…and colder, that is true. And, as I sat near him the other day, not speaking a word, I was reminded of how awful of a person I truly am. I realized in that moment that the man sitting near me is a man I’ve known my whole life; but he’s been nothing but a stranger. I realized that if he died tomorrow, even from suicide, it would not have a major impact on me. Sure, I would feel awful. No one deserves to die, no matter what the cause! And, no one deserves to feel alone. But, to me, it wouldn’t feel like a major loss. I can honestly say that it would hurt more if my dog died than if he passed away.

Four years ago, this was where my family found themselves; on suicide watch for my uncle. It’s awful to admit that someone who is supposed to be such a huge part of your life doesn’t matter to you. Writing those words, “It would hurt more if my dog died than if he passed away” makes me feel like a terrible person, but I know deep down that I’m being true to myself. Although, sometimes, we have to admit that even those people in our lives who are supposed to be family and the closest humans to us, mean zilch. That is why we all must create our own “families.” “Families” that are made up of blood relations, friends, acquaintances, dogs, cats, etc. “Plant your own seeds and grown your own garden because you have the power to choose who you become and who is allowed to influence you along the way.”

Granny Smith – over and out

I’m Poor

poor

“I’m poor” is a phrase that I’ve been hearing a lot lately from friends, especially when I’m trying to plan a nice evening for us outside of our apartments. Every time I hear that phrase, I cringe and hold my tongue. For many individuals my age, it can seem like we have no money. Student loans, renting our first apartment, car insurance, renters insurance, pets, cell phone bills; it all escalates quickly. But, are we really “poor?”

Different images can pop into our minds when we think of the word “poor” or “rich.” When I think of “poor,” I think about a homeless person sitting on the side of the street, or a single parent who only works a few hours a week and is about to lose his or her house…and possibly their child(ren). When I think of poor, I don’t think of people in their early-mid twenties. Sure, we don’t have a lot, and we haven’t even started thinking about saving for retirement, but most of us have an amazing support system, like friends or family, or other financial resources (financial counselors) that can help push us in the right direction.

When I think of poor, I think of individuals whose family members left them to fend for themselves, put them into foster care, went to jail, died without saving a single penny to give to their children (who are already homeless with nothing), the list goes on. When I think of rich, sure I think about individuals that have mansions in California, nice cars, wear Gucci, etc. However, I also think of people who have enough money to pay for their own car, provide food for themselves (and possibly another family member), have a pet or multiple, go out to eat with friends, but most importantly, I think about myself. When I thought I had nothing, whenever I’ve felt like the world is falling apart around me, I have my family, friends, significant other, and my dog. I have a plan B; I have a backup system. This helps me know that even if I don’t have much in the end, everything will work out.

I used to be the type of person who took on everything, who thought she could figure it out on her own, who was afraid to ask for help, and who was used to having other adults “taking care of” it for her when it was physically apparent that she was struggling. Now, I’ve learned to say “no.” I’ve learned to ask for help directly and from multiple resources. I ask for help because I am rich. I am rich because I have a strong support system. I have a strong support system because I’m attracted to people who know what it means to care. I am not poor. I am the opposite of poor.

Granny Smith – over and out

Special Treatment for Those with Special Needs?

Image

Now, before you think this post is going to be some hateful rant, calm yourself and read on. My brother was diagnosed in 1995 at the age of 3 with Autism, and I’ve been an advocate for the rights of special needs children ever since. However, about a week ago I found myself re-evaluating how I react to those with special needs.

Long story short, my brother has been participating in the Special Olympics for the past couple of years, and every year I try to attend his regional competition, which is located at one of our local high schools. This year, as my family and I sat down in the school’s cafeteria to relax before heading to the gym, a young, special needs athlete named Cole from one of the other teams walked up to our table, introduced himself, and started carrying on a conversation with me and my parents. Cole was hilarious, but at the same time he was very nosy and kept apologizing for asking questions. After awhile, he began to solely ask me personal questions, and it seemed he wanted to be friends (or something more) and know every detail of my life. I can’t lie, even though I spend a lot of my time around individuals with special needs, I was uncomfortable around Cole. Hell, I’m uncomfortable around all strangers! Finally, Cole’s dad realized that his son was talking our ears off and came over to our table to introduce himself and redirected his son to the gym.

The weird and sad part of all this was I felt a sense of relief and a burden lifted off my shoulders when he walked away. Phew, don’t have to deal with him again, I thought. But, I was actually wrong…Turns out, as luck would have it, Cole’s group ended up sitting next to my brothers, so I had to pass him on my way into the gym. Once Cole saw me, he immediately stood up and rushed to my side.

“How are you doing, ma’am?” he said as wrapped his arm around my shoulder.
“Great!” I said, mustering up every ounce of pep I had.
“Would you mind if I sat with you for awhile?” he proceeded.
“Um, I think we’re supposed to sit with our teams,” I replied.
“Well, I don’t have to sit with mine, that’s the point I’m trying to make,” he shot back.

Thankfully, before the moment got any more awkward, one of Cole’s coaches called him over to sit with his team. And, of course, the fun didn’t stop there. After the opening ceremonies, I noticed Cole coming over to my brother’s team. To avoid another uncomfortable encounter, I used my brother’s larger build as a barricade and hid behind him until Cole was finished talking to my brother’s teammates. Seriously, this kid would not let up. He seemed to be doing everything to try and get my attention.

And, of course, once I thought I was free of him, it turned out he was competing against my brother under the same division…that meant I was going to have to run into him again at the awards ceremony after the competition.

Flash forward to the awards ceremony and my brother took first place (of course he did, we’re related). So, after all of the pictures are taken and everyone disappears, Cole came running up to my family, and that’s when I decided to make a break for it. I grabbed my things and briskly walked down the hall to hide in the women’s restroom. Cole saw that I was busting my ass to getaway and yelled after me, “DON’T YOU WALK AWAY FROM ME YOUNG LADY!” And then..he proceeded to ask my dad what my name was. Of course, my father thought this whole thing was hilarious and told Cole…who ended up screaming my name down the hallway until I disappeared.

Just at the point where I thought I had gotten rid of him, I realized that the exit door was at the other end of the building, which meant I would have to walk past the cafeteria where I last saw Cole. After a few minutes, I stuck my head out of the bathroom only to find him talking to someone right outside of the cafeteria. Well, eventually Cole’s new found friend decided to head back towards the gym and get some popcorn, which prompted Cole to follow him. I realized then and there that it was now or never. I swiped up my stuff and RAN towards the exit. FREEDOM! I thought as I reached the parking lot. And as my family and I drove away, all I could think was, I’m safe now

As I reflect back on the day that I had with Cole at regionals, of course I feel awful, but I’ve realized that even if he didn’t have special needs, I would have treated him the same way. With this situation, I’m reminded of the VERY FEW TIMES I’ve ever been “hit on” at bars while I was in college by guys that I had absolutely no interest in getting to know. And, what did I do in those situations? I politely blew them off, just like I did with Cole. I had no interest in hanging out with Cole that day. I was there to watch my brother kick ass and take names. And, I have a boyfriend. I’m not looking for any more male companions. And, did Cole suffer? Of course not! Being the friendly guy that he is, when I wasn’t around him he ended up talking to so many more people who were willing to engage in a bit of a conversation with him.

Personally, I think there’s this argument out there that we have to treat individuals with special needs as a “special case,” or be nicer to them than we would someone who doesn’t have special needs because they “unfortunately can’t be normal functioning adults in today’s society.” And most days, I think that’s a bunch of crap. With all of the special needs individuals that I’ve gotten to know through my years of volunteering and meeting my brother’s friends, people with special needs don’t want to be treated as “special cases,” they want to be seen and treated as though they don’t have a disability. They want to be treated how we want to be treated…like a human being. So, if you’re not interested in forming a connection with them, don’t! They rather have a genuine connection than put up with something that is forced….and wow, what does that sound like? Hmmmm, how about something that everyone wants, no matter age, race, gender, etc. So, at the end of the day I’m not advocating for everyone to go out there and treat individuals with special needs like shit. Of course not! Treat them as they are, human beings, and form a genuine connection that the both of you will benefit from.

Granny Smith – over and out

Missed Connections

Image

You’re probably thinking this post is going to be about a funny ad on Craigslist or a lovely dovey shoulda coulda woulda story, right? Wrong! Gotcha! This post is actually about losing the Internet connection in your house.

Long story short, last week there was a crazy storm in our neighborhood and my parent’s lost the Internet connection in their house. And, since my parents don’t believe in cable or smart phones, and don’t have AT&T or Charter, they’re left to rely on a dinky ma and pa computer place to supply their Internet. So, the next morning when we called the company to ask them what was wrong, we found out that lightening had apparently struck a service tower, and it was too windy outside for someone to safely climb up the tower to fix the problem….grrrreat.

Now, me being me, I’d like to think that the Internet doesn’t rule my life…at least not to the extent that it does some of my other friends. In fact, I’m really not a big technology person in general. Sure, I use the computer to surf the Internet and I work a bit with Word and Excel, but as a millennial, most people my age think there’s something seriously wrong with me because I don’t have a smart phone and I’ve never touched an Ipod. Do I resent technology? Not really, but I’ve seen what it can do to a person!

But, the Internet at my parent’s house was out for 3 WHOLE DAYS!! I had to resort to taking my laptop to the library to get work done, and when I came home, I tried to leave and find other activities to fill my time as soon as possible. But, even when I wasn’t in the house, I found myself thinking about how many new emails I had, or who had new updates for me on Facebook. I think that because I’m a job seeker, I’ve become more attached to my email and personal websites. I don’t want to miss a posting, and I certainly want to respond to a potential employer sooner rather than later!

Times like this make me think back to the 90s, before the Internet, instant messaging, and so on was really a big deal. It’s hard to imagine what I did during the day to fill my free time, but I think I need to start writing some ideas down in case a situation like this happens again!… Ok, even reading that last sentence made me cringe. Really? The Internet has become so important to me that I need to make a list of things to resort to in case I lose my connection? Ugh!

So, I guess one of my resolutions this year is to make certain that I pull myself away from the Internet more often every day, and not become so flustered if someone tries to get a hold of me and they can’t because I’ve lost my connection. I think that at this day and age, it’s important for all of us to leave the Internet alone when we have some free time and try to resort back to what we did pre-Internet days in order to help us all stay active. I mean, you can be connected without an Internet connection, right? It’s called talking to people!! Most of the best days that I’ve ever had in my life happened in the 90s and when I’ve been out and about doing things with people. Sure, Internet time can be a great way to wind down, but do we really need to be buried in it during our free time?

What’s your stance? How has the Internet changed your life? Am I crazy for wanting to disconnect more often?

Granny Smith – over and out

Go Ahead, Celebrate!

Image

 

So, now that Valentine’s Day is long gone, I want to bring it back into the realm of conversation…I know, sorry! But, it’s not what you think! Give me a second to explain…

My birthday is August 14th, so Valentine’s Day is a big day for me because…it’s my half birthday. Check: If you’re not rolling on the floor laughing by now, what’s wrong with you? I can only imagine what all of you are thinking, who the hell celebrates their half birthday? Trust me friends, I didn’t come up with this; I was suckered into it by my mother when I was a little girl.

For as long as I can remember, every Valentine’s Day, my mother would sneak into my room before I woke up and leave a few small gifts, candy, a card, and a balloon. And, at the end of the day, my family and I would gather around the kitchen table and enjoy some cake! I was always reminded on February 14th that not only was it a national holiday, but I was exactly 6 months away from my birthday. Now, why did my mother constantly remind me that Valentine’s Day was also my “half birthday?” I secretly think that my mom has always wanted to share her birthday with a holiday and when that dream obviously did not work out in her favor, she hoped and prayed that one of her children, hell, even one of  her pets, would have a birthday on a holiday. When that didn’t work out, she studied the calendar and thought of the next best thing. I mean, we don’t celebrate anyone else’s half birthday in our house ….lucky me!

The point of all of this is that when I told my boyfriend about my family’s crazy Valentine’s Day tradition…he didn’t even flinch. Sure, he thought it was weird. But each Valentine’s Day he makes sure that he treats it like my second birthday. I receive half a cake, half a birthday card (tehehe), flowers, my favorite food, and most importantly, love. The crazy part about all of this is I hate Valentine’s Day and so does he. But, the dumb Hallmark holiday has actually brought us closer together because of my mother’s interesting calendar observation. We don’t look at February 14th as another stupid holiday, but a funny reason to have something to celebrate. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world because I get to celebrate two birthdays a year instead of one… and I don’t age twice!

In the end, everyone should have the opportunity to feel like they’re the most important person on the planet! And it doesn’t have to be on Valentine’s Day or just your birthday. It’s important to find someone in your life that wants you to feel amazing about who you are, what you believe in, and everything in between. The fact that my boyfriend picked up this ridiculous tradition of mine and ran with it means wonders, and I don’t have to cringe every time Valentine’s Day rolls around!

But, the main reason why I brought this up is because I want to hear from you guys! Is there anything that you significant other, family members, friends do for you that makes you feel special? Are there any holidays in particular that you love more than the rest because of an awesome tradition you have?  Let me know and be well!

Granny Smith – over and out

I’m An Author?

Image

So, while embarking on a journey to figure out who I really am and what I’m really good at, I decided to begin writing a book about my life a few months ago. I know, I know, it seems like that’s what everyone is doing these days because their lives are sooooooooooooooo toooootttallllllllly interesting, right? Yeah, not so much. But, I thought, if Kris Jenner can do it, why can’t I? Thus, I’ve begun my journey. The book, properly titled “Ignorant Bitch,” is about different moments and people that have come through my life that I thought I knew all about..but was definitely proved wrong. And, I think a lot of people can relate to that…because I’m assuming none of us had lives or situations that turned out EXACTLY the way we thought they would. Needless to say, the ultimate goal is for individuals to laugh at my stupidity. Below is an excerpt from the section of the book regarding relationships. I broke it up into guys I have dated in the past or came “close” to dating, our background, and what I learned from being a part of their lives. Enjoy!

Justin

Let me start with my experience in elementary school. From an early age, I thought that all boys were just naturally attracted to girls, and if a female worked hard enough, she could land any man that she wanted. I made this my mission as I went through all of my awkward moments as a pre and regular adolescent. Now, of course, I’ve always been attracted to the most expensive item in the store, so I set the bar high in elementary school and only went after the popular guys. My personal favorite was a kid named Justin. Justin was the class clown of my grade and went after anything that moved (seriously, he had ADHD). I thought that Justin was an easy first attempt at my man-handling goals, so I began plotting my attack. I studied hard! I took every move, cheesy line, and style cue that I could from popular movies, television shows, and even video games. Justin came into my life in the early 90’s, so, I naturally stole a lot of my tricks from “Saved By the Bell.” Now what seemed like a long, hard journey to the perfect plan probably only took me a day, but I was a kid! And when you’re a kid, everything seems to take too long. But finally, I meshed together the perfect plan, and as the night before my attack set in, I prepared my outfit, took a bath, and plotted out each move. I was ready!

  Luckily, Justin and I were in the same core class, so even though we sometimes went to different rooms for our reading, math, or English lessons, we were in the same room for the majority of the day. For this man plan, I decided that I would perform my execution closer to the end of the day so that Justin wouldn’t have a lot of time to become distracted by other things (like I said, he had ADHD).

And finally, the moment came, it was perfect. Justin’s assigned seat was near the front of the room, mine was near the back. As the clock quickly inched forward, I stood up and slowly waltzed my way to the front of the room. Once I neared his desk, I lengthened my pace, thinking that he would look up if he felt that someone was standing close to him… But, as I dillydallied my way across the front of his desk, no such luck. For once in his life, Justin was paying attention to the work he had in front of him instead of focusing on others in the room. Fuck, I thought, now I just look like an idiot wasting time. But, I decided that I wouldn’t just go back to my desk because part one of my plan had failed. I would finish what I had started! So, I inched my way over to the water fountain in our classroom and lightly pressed down on the knob. I slowly drank the water that came out, making sure to keep my lips pursed and some of my hair near my mouth, just like in the movies! And, as I finished my 45 minute drink, I mustered all of the adrenaline that I had in me and flipped my hair from one side to the other. And what do you know, out of the corner of my eye I saw Justin looking at me! Success, I thought. But, I still had to complete the walk back to my desk. So, I lifted my fingers to my lips and wiped away the “extra water” that was left and elongated each step past Justin’s seat and beyond. At this point, I was feeling very talented and proud of myself because I was watching him watch me from the corner of my eye and still acting like a total babe. Damn, I thought, I do have this in me. As I began to slowly drop down into my seat, I noticed that Justin had fully taken his eyes off of me and began staring at two other kids in the class who were probably having an in-depth conversation about boogers. My heart immediately sank. All of the planning, practice, blood, sweat, and tears that went into this; wasted. He wouldn’t even come up and talk to me? He’d already forgotten about me? “Fuck you, Justin” is what I wanted to scream. “You’re supposed to be paying attention to me!” “I just pulled a “Save by the Bell” move on you. What the hell?”

Needless to say, Justin never did get up and talk to me that day…or ever for that matter. So, what did I learn from this experience? Sexy, slow moves that you pick up from TV shows will get a man’s attention. But, if he has ADHD, these moves won’t keep his attention for very long.

Update: I have no idea where Justin is now. Shortly after this incident happened, he moved to a different school district. But, do I think my efforts to get his attention were a complete waste of my time? No. I just look at this instance as a practice session for the next hunk I tried to reel in. If I had to guess, I’d have to say that Justin’s current journey is probably no different than a lot of other former class clowns that I know… a technical college dropout trying to make it as a musician. So Justin, wherever you are, thanks for the practice session! 

Granny Smith – over and out

Happy Birthday?

Image

 

I tried something new this past week..going to work on my birthday. I’ve been pretty fortunate with the fact that my birthday is in August, so I’ve never had to go to school on my special day. And, if I worked, I’ve always had the option of taking off. However, I recently started a new, grown-up position, and I only have so many PTO days before the year ends! So, I decided to go to work..yippie skippy..

But, the fact that I did recently celebrate a birthday really made me wonder, why do some people absolutely despise their birthday, and want no mention of it what so ever, and others, like myself, feel that their birthday is the one day of the year where they need to receive 100,000 compliments, too many presents to know what to do with, love and affection from their closest family and friends, or even strangers (I don’t know how other people roll), and their name screamed from the rooftops?..Too much? But you get what I’m saying, right?

So, what is it with these different feelings? Do we develop these feelings about our birthdays because of how our parents or guardians taught us to treat them?  Or, is it an age thing? I’m assuming that when I get older, I won’t want my birthday publicized nearly as often as I do now…but I can’t help the fact that when I was growing up, birthdays were a BIG DEAL!

So, usually, when a birthday comes up in the office, I don’t say, “happy birthday” unless the person brings in a treat, or sends out an email saying, “hey everyone, it’s my birthday”…which is what I did this year…of course. I guess I’m still in that “I just started working here, I want everyone to like me” phase, so I try not to get too obnoxious about other people’s birthdays. But, I can’t help it! I want them to feel as important as my friends and family make me feel on my birthday.

This year, I brought in a cheesecake, and my parents delivered balloons that I obnoxiously displayed on the top shelf in my cubicle, so that everyone walking past could see them towering over my work space. And, you can bet I left those balloons there for an extra day so that people who “forgot” my birthday could be reminded the following day (it’s ok, I accept late wishes).  And when I took those balloons home, you can bet I left at a time of day when I knew everyone would be crowding towards the elevators. It’s not that I’m completely in love with myself or crave attention, I’m actually more of an introvert, but it’s just the celebration part that gets to me. I mean, I love a good party!

What are your thoughts on birthdays? How do you approach the “issue” of a birthday with someone that you don’t really know, or a friend or family member that HATES their birthday?

I’d love to hear from you!

Granny Smith-over and out