Forgot Who I Talked to, Sorry

Forgot Who I Talked to, Sorry

All my coworkers and managers at my job get along well together. We have a really small staff and we all seem to enjoy each other’s company. We have good conversations and I love that when I go to work I can be excited to work with people I can also call my friends. I think I have more friends at this point in my life than I’ve ever really had previously. I have coworker friends and long distance friends and friends at church too. I’m so blessed to have all these people in my life!

Something that happens though, when you do talk to a good number of people on a semi-regular basis, is that you forget who you told what. Or maybe it’s just me that happens to. I forget who I talked to about some things. I can’t count the number of times I’ve started discussing something and I suddenly stop and look at my friend and ask, “Did we talk about this before?” and waaaaayyyyy too often they say yes. Then we laugh about it and lapse into silence unless I have some kind of update on whatever it was.

Obviously, I don’t have my life together enough to mentally keep track of what I tell people. There’s always so much to say to everyone in my life. I care about a lot of people and I want them to take part in my life. I want to have meaningful conversations about current events or drama or about pop culture. So often, I end up talking about the same things and telling the same stories to the same person. But on the flip side, sometimes a semi-major event in my life never even reaches a person I consider very close to me because I tell someone else and then think I told them already. Then sometimes the same friend listens to me tell the same story a hundred times without me realizing I’d told them it 99 times before.

Personally, I don’t get frustrated hearing the same story over again from my friends. If I recognize it early enough on I often try to mention, “Yeah, you told me about this” because I appreciate when others do that for me. I actually get much more frustrated with myself for doing it than others doing it to me. I think it’s just me being me. I don’t like endlessly repeating myself. One of my friends told me she really doesn’t mind hearing the same stories over again, which is very gracious of her! But then again, I just said I don’t mind hearing the same stories from others, because I don’t. I only mind that trait in myself.

I don’t know if my memory is just the worst or if I just get excited to tell my friends things that I mentally gloss over who I talked to before. If I’m looking for advice I think I remember better who I talked to. Because they give a lot more input. But if it’s just a story or an update about something in my life then my brain must go straight into autopilot.

Does anyone else do this? I remember telling the story multiple times but not who I told. I get flustered when my friend tells me I told her already because then I think back and can’t figure out who I did tell. Maybe that’s the more frustrating thing for me. Not so much that I’m repeating information but that I become so unsure about how many people have the information. Or maybe it’s just that it makes me acutely aware of how bad my memory is and I wonder if it’s possible to work on that or if I’m simply doomed to never figure out my life… I’ll have to look that up later, if I remember.

 

the disappointment between us

I read The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks/Sarah Pekkanen and I was disappointed.

***SPOILER WARNING***

The back of the book says,

“When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing.

Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen’s The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage – and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

Read between the lies.” (I copied this directly from the Amazon listing)

Sounds interesting, right? That’s what I thought. I wasn’t overly excited about reading it but I wasn’t dreading it either. I knew it wasn’t exactly the book I’d pick up on my own (book club pick) but I was optimistic. I like the occasional thriller and I like books that subvert my expectations. According to the back of the book that’s exactly what I was getting into, right?

W R O N G

I was only a few chapters in when I realized it wasn’t going to be good. We spend a lot of time with two characters: Nellie and Vanessa. Vanessa is the jealous ex-wife and Nellie is her replacement. The biggest problem is they’re SO BORING. We spend EIGHTEEN CHAPTERS with these two and they do NOTHING INTERESTING THE WHOLE TIME. It’s all little details about their lives and intimate inner thoughts that might be interesting to someone but not to me.

But wait, you ask, (if you haven’t read the book) isn’t there… a TWIIIISSSSTTTTT??? A twirl? A moment of subversion?? Maybe… MULTIPLE MOMENTS OF SUBVERSION????? SOMETHING???

I’m getting there.

The first “twist” is 161 pages into the book.

161 pages of 389…

ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-ONE PAGES

H A L F   W A Y   T H R O U G H   T H E   B O O K

HHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLFFFFF THHEEE BOOOOOOOKKKKK

(I know it’s not technically half the book but boy-howdy did it FEEL like half the book)

The twist is that Nellie and Vanessa are the same person. Nellie is just Vanessa before she married Richard. That’s it. That’s the twist that’s supposed to keep you reading. That’s what you’re supposed to cling to. Except the twist DOESN’T MATTER. It’s literally there to be like “Oh you THOUGHT this was one thing, BUT ACTUALLY it’s completely DIFFERENT! HA! Such a clever book!”

If I’d picked this up on a whim I would’ve quit right there. But this was a club pick and I knew I could get through it so I pushed myself. That twist though. I had two characters I didn’t like, had little to no sympathy for, and dreaded spending time with and the “twist” is that they’re one character that I’m stuck with for the rest of the book. So now all the stuff I hated about each of them is combined into a single entity that compounds all the terribleness into a neat little package of boredom. Great.

So I was just continuously disappointed from there. Because no matter how much suspense was built up, nothing actually happened. Even in the end, Vanessa provokes her ex-husband to violence in an attempt to keep his new fiancee (Emma) from marrying him and you’d THINK that might be exciting but it was over so fast and it’s so little payoff for wading through this entire novel. Richard gets the help he needs to stop being an abusive, manipulative piece of trash, Vanessa moves on with her life finally, and Emma doesn’t marry Richard. That’s pretty much the end…

BUT WAIT

THERE ARE

“TWISTS”

Because we find out Vanessa met Richard’s first wife who works as a therapist (who she had like, two sessions with and never mentioned again until the end when the truth is “revealed” as if it matters) and Emma is actually the daughter of a professor Vanessa had an affair with in college and Emma was trying the whole time to break up Vanessa’s marriage because she resented that her own parent’s marriage went up in flames due to Vanessa and her father’s affair BUT ALSO Vanessa was orchestrating the demise of her own marriage THE WHOLE TIME because Richard was an abusive jerk who beat her up SO she actually SET UP Emma to replace her BUT THEN she felt bad because (SHOCKER) she was purposely luring another woman to a completely abusive person SO THEN she had to backtrack and try to warn Emma.

But as the song goes, in the end, it doesn’t even matter. Because all those “twists” happen in the last, like, 25 pages of the book. Not a single piece of that information has any bearing on the story at all. Not one of those twists changes a single thing we read in the previous 350 pages. NOT. ONE. THING. CHANGES.

If a twist doesn’t change anything about your story, then it’s not a twist. It’s an “Aha!” moment that, while fun, doesn’t instantly make your story any more clever or witty. In my opinion, you betray your readers. Because the twist that isn’t a twist is ALWAYS one that a reader cannot put together themselves. There are no breadcrumbs to follow. There are no hints. It’s a twist for the sake of the author so they can feel like they’re smarter than their reader. And to me, that’s dishonest and arrogant.

As an aside, a reader doesn’t HAVE to figure out a twist beforehand to make it worth it, that’s not what I mean when I say to trust the reader. It’s more about building up the details in a way that when a reader does reach a twist they think “Ah! That’s what all those little moments were about!” Because a good twist is hard to predict but once known, easy to see how it came about.

I really felt like this could have been a great book. But instead of trusting the reader they went with the cheap “plot twists” and because of that, the story falls flat for me.

Friendship is Not Transactional

Friendship is Not Transactional

According to Google, Transactional means “relating to the conducting of business, especially buying or selling.” In business, you’re trying to get the most reward with the least amount of effort. You want to make sure that you pay as little as possible and get the best value out of it. Sometimes, we think of our relationships with others as transactional, which is definitely a mistake. Because a friendship (or relationship in general) isn’t about keeping score. No one should be tallying up all the times they helped a friend. We might keep a mental note of these things in a way, when we think back on our times as friends, but it should never be what drives the friendship.

I was thinking about this as I was reading The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. In the book, we’re in one of the character’s heads a lot and every time something threatens her relationship (be it a minor mistake or a major misstep) she thinks “He’s done so much for me” and sometimes even goes through a shortlist of things this man has provided for her. It got me thinking about my own relationships, how I see them and maybe how my friends see them.

My friends are great. I tend to put a lot into my friendships. I want to invest in my people. Sometimes that investment is financial. If/when my friends are in trouble, I help them as much as I can. I don’t want to see them struggle and if I can do something to assist then I will. Sometimes that investment looks like time and acts of service. I spend time with my friends and I help them when they ask for it. I helped my best friend move in high school. I help one of my friends wrap presents around Christmas when I can. I enjoy our time spent together, even if that time is just getting grocery shopping done or doing some cleaning at their house.

I’ve used the word “invest” which never sounds right but I don’t have another word to describe it. Does that tell me that I am thinking of my friendships as transactions? Am I keeping a score and expecting my friends to repay every little thing I’ve ever done for them? No. Absolutely not. I say I invest in my friends the same way you might invest in a pet or invest in your family members. I’ve certainly invested in friendships and gotten nothing in return. There’s definitely something to be said of knowing where to draw boundaries and when it’s right to pull away because of investing too much but that’s another post entirely.

I’ve watched people in transactional relationships before. It’s always a disaster. It’s always a lopsided friendship where one person is putting significantly more into it than the other. There’s always a manipulator. One person is keeping score. If the other person tries to leave the friendship (or relationship) the one person puts them through a guilt trip about all the things they’ve done for them. The one person has invested in the other so the other person has to repay them. That’s not healthy. No one in any kind of relationship should be listing off all the things they’ve done for the other person. Because if you’re friends then you’re friends for more than what you can get back from that person.

I’m friends with Charlotte not because she helps me edit blog posts or because she gives me really cool Christmas presents. I’m friends with her because we connect with each other. We know each other and we think similarly. We have history together now and we work out our problems together. We’re there for each other and we are valued by each other. That’s why I’m friends with her. Our friendship is not transactional. I do not keep track of every penny I spend on her. I didn’t keep track of every ride I ever offered her in high school. I don’t count out the minutes between each text to make sure she’s responding to me quickly. I don’t do those things because our friendship, and friendships in general, are worth more than “being even” with each other. If you feel like your relationships aren’t worth more than the sum of money and time you’ve put in, then you need to take a step back and reevaluate that.

Being Sick

I was going to write a post whining about how I’ve had a cold for a while now but I’m not sure it’s worth it. It’s such a first world problem. Like, I’m tired and uncomfortable and that’s basically it. That’s the inconvenience on my life.

Besides, everyone is sick right now. It’s that time of year (I feel like I say that year round, with absolutely no regard for any kind of realistic sickness-timeline). So everything is going around and making everyone miserable. I’m not the only one who’s dealing with a cold and it’s not even that bad, honestly. I just feel pretty slow and I’ve lost my train of thought a lot in the last couple days.

Sick as a kid is easy. It’s definitely miserable, but the only thing making you miserable is usually just being sick. Sick as an adult doesn’t matter. You still have to do things. Whether you have a family to take care of or you still have to work or whatever, the world doesn’t stop around you. You can slow down a little, but I don’t think adults ever get to actually stop because of being sick (obviously I don’t mean the sicknesses that land you in the hospital, those ones you’re forced to stop and rest).

I wish I had more to say this week. This post feels a bit disjointed but I hope you understand, I’ve just been tired and dealing with this stupid cold.

Am I too Hard on Myself? Probably.

Am I too Hard on Myself? Probably.

Recently, a friend of mine told me that when she reads my blog she often feels that I am being too hard on myself. I paused in the moment, considering the genuine concern in her voice. I also had to take a moment to consider I sometimes forget how personal my blogs are and also what kind of image I’m projecting through them.

Obviously a blog post will never perfectly encompass who I am as a person. There will always be something left out or something accidentally misrepresented. I try very hard to be balanced in my posts and to represent myself as realistically as I possibly can. Sometimes, that means being a little harsh, whether to myself or to others. I’m a somewhat harsh person. I call things like they are. I can be very compassionate but I don’t sugarcoat many of my beliefs or opinions. I want to be genuine and real with my audience here.

I get the idea from my friend that sometimes that harshness, toward myself, lacks the compassion that I extend to others. The biggest reason for this, I think, is that I am inside my own head. With others, I only know what they tell me and what they show me through their actions. I am not privy to their inmost thoughts and feelings so I tend to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I don’t always give myself that same benefit because I know my own thoughts and emotions. I know when I’m making stupid excuses or being lazy about getting things done. I am fully aware of many of my own shortcomings and I am frustrated when I allow them to rule me and my life.

I take my life pretty seriously and what I do with it just as seriously. It’s why I make new year resolutions and why I’ve been trying to build good habits this year. It’s why I want to feel productive as much as possible. It’s why I want to work on myself. It’s why, yeah, I can be a little mean to myself.

Well, don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly mean to myself. I’m not doling out “punishments” or getting into ruts of negativity. I get frustrated, sure. I can beat myself up a little internally, sure. But I also know it’s better not to dwell on mistakes. I’ll never move forward if I’m stuck on making myself miserable over not doing enough in my life or making mistakes. I only have one life to live. God put me here for a reason and I will not waste the time given to me messing around. I have a purpose here. When I’m not fulfilling that purpose, when I’m, I guess failing at life, I can feel pretty useless. I am not useless though. Not ever. I know my own worth and I don’t forget it, which just rolls into high expectations for my life.

But I can appear a bit hard on myself. I expect a lot from me. I think I strike a decent enough balance for the most part, though, between high expectations and realism. I know I won’t ever be perfect but I do know I can keep working on myself and be the very best me possible.

i watched frozen two, and i have a problem with it

****SPOILERS AHEAD****

This is really for people who have already seen the movie because I’m not going to explain much about the actual “plot” because I don’t care to sit around talking about it. Because I have problems with this movie and I really just want to focus on the biggest issue I take with it: the spirits of the enchanted forest.

The ENTIRE premise of the movie relies on the idea that these spirits got angry about the violent fight that broke out so they walled off the forest and that was that. Except that, okay, ALL THE SPIRITS ARE VIOLENT???? Also the spirits are all animals, except maybe the wind spirit that’s just wind and the earth spirits who are humanoid but not intelligent so first off WHY do they even care about the violence? The water spirit tries to kill Elsa, the earth giant spirit things literally just crush things and throw boulders at people, and the fire spirit sets everything on fire without any regard for who might be in the way. So, like, violent much??? Plus, being animals, they act like animals and are nice to people who are nice to them so in theory, you could just befriend an spirit by giving them treats and then they’d do all your destruction for you.

Secondly, if the spirits are aware of violence being bad, and they’re also able to make exceptions to their anger for  those who are “good” in their eyes (because they let two people go), then WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY would they punish the Northuldra people when THE SPIRITS KNEW THE WHOLE TIME IT WAS ARENDELLE THAT STARTED IT??????????????????? What was the actual point?? First the spirits are portrayed as wise and benevolent and that they understand things but then all the interactions with them they’re animals that act like animals. Not evil, not super good, just kind of in the middle. So why, all of a sudden, are they interested in punishing Arendelle?? It’s been YEARS since the initial incident and they’ve essentially punished the innocent group of people ALL THIS TIME but suddenly Elsa needs a calling so NOW the spirits are like, “It’s time!”

But then the spirits run everyone out of Arendelle because they want to keep the people safe from the inevitable destruction of the city when the dam breaks? But why do the spirits care about Arendelle at all? It’s just ANOTHER instance of inconsistency of these spirits that are CENTRAL TO THE WHOLE MOVIE. They don’t follow any rules and they don’t have any consistent character traits yet the whole plot of the film revolves around them. It’s frustrating.

Not to mention, the spirits could’ve just destroyed the dam when the original fight broke out????? Like they knew what was going on, obviously, because Arendelle was the aggressor but nooooooooooooo they literally cut off the victims from the rest of the world and allow Arendelle to go on and be prosperous for YEARS. IF the spirits were more consistent. IF they had reasons for what they were doing. IF they could’ve come up with even just the idea that the spirits were wrong for punishing the victims because they DIDN’T know or because they DIDN’T understand. BUT NOPE.

The way the spirits work and think and behave with the world around them is basically never addressed. There are no rules for them, they just do whatever the plot needs them to do at the time. Elsa interacts with the spirits like that’s supposed to mean something but really, it doesn’t.

To pull back a bit, the movie as a whole was fine. I’m not mad that it exists and actually I’d probably watch it again. I just found that there were some major issues with the plot that I couldn’t ignore. It was a totally passable sequel for a movie that also had plot and consistency issues so I suppose I should’ve expected it. The animation was actually pretty incredible so there’s that.

The spirits are not the only issue I had with the movie but it is definitely my biggest gripe.

Anyway, if you want me to do more posts like this then let me know in the comments because I like ranting about things that don’t matter but I don’t always want to make it my… I guess “official” blog post for the week? I like the idea of doing these just for fun from time to time and publishing them randomly when they come to me instead of specifically on the weekend.

Disturbed Earth

Disturbed Earth

A track of dirt along the road’s edge

where yesterday I passed a red pickup

sideways in the ditch.

Two men, two cars, parked nearby,

hazards blinking.

I silently chastise myself

for the relief I felt knowing

I would make it by before the ambulance came

and clogged the road with lights and sirens.

My drive to work undisturbed

by the man in the red truck,

his leg hanging half out the door,

alive or dead?

Now I pass the scar in the road’s shoulder,

torn up sod turned pools by rain

that reflect my own unease,

because I don’t know the answer

and I don’t want to find out.