The fog has
just cleared, from the mountain, not my
head. That's still fairly foggy.
I've just not been sleeping enough, either
in hours or quality. I hope to make
up for that this weekend. Eric has a
full day of work today and (I think) is
off this weekend. On Tuesday, he
starts 2 weeks of a particular training.
It's full time, plus he'll do his usual
work on the weekends, so I won't see him
much at all. I'll really miss him,
but he gets paid good money for taking the
training, plus he gets the training, which
it started raining, big ploppy drops.
Eric got up in the wee hours and went out
to the balcony to sit and listen to it.
It was still pouring when he left at
4:30am. It let up around 7am and the
kids only had a few drops when they went
out to catch the bus at 7:15. Today
is the last day of school for the year!
Hurray! By 8am, a dense fog was
outside. Nathan came running in and
said, "The clouds came down from the sky
again!!" It burned off by lunch
time, but my head is still sleepy and
surprised me yesterday with a wonderful
glider (the swing kind, not the airplane
kind). I really wanted one for out front
and he found a good buy on one at
Wal-Mart. We couldn't afford it, but
he got it anyway and I loved him for it.
He also bought bamboo torches for the
circle out back. I miss the wrought
iron ones. :( These will get
the job done, though. I wanted to
sit outside and glide today, but it's
still damp and icky out.
months ago, I started chewing around on
something and thought it was so dorky and
flaky and sappy that I didn't tell anyone.
I finally broke it off to Eric last week
and he has been thinking about it since
and seems to think it has merit. I'm
going to explain it as well as I can, but
it's still a work in progress, so it isn't
completely fleshed out by any means.
A couple of
years ago, I challenged myself to not
swear for a month. I don't have
anything against swearing. Rampant
swearing is annoying, just like rampant
anything is annoying. My son, Josh,
can't say a sentence without having a "k"
in it somewhere. I LOVE words and
think they are delicious. There
aren't really any that offend me and I
have trouble giving some words more power
than others just because they have a
different consonant at the beginning (like
"duck," for instance). I HATE
hearing people swear at children.
That does bother me. I find swearing
to be marvelously cathartic and impressive
when done well.
So since much
of my life was spinning out of control, I
decided to control something I could
control. I would go a month without
It was longer ago than I thought. I found
the journal I did on it. August 10,
2001. Almost 3 years ago. If
you want to read about it, scroll down to
that date. It's long.
I did it.
I went the whole month without swearing.
I was surprised at how difficult it is to
control habits and autoresponses.
Since I refused to say dumb shit like, "Oh
FUDGE!" I was also surprised at how hard I
had to work to come up with other ways to
express myself and convey whatever I
wanted to say at the time. It was a
definite exercise in self control. I
also found myself pausing before I spoke
and thinking about what I was going to say
before I said it. It was a wonderful
learning experience. Afterwards, I
went back to swearing, having accomplished
my goal and learned a good deal.
Now, I told
you that to tell you this part of what I
cursing, there is something that we, as
humans do automatically, most of us,
anyway, that I call into question here and
I'm in line at Albertsons (West Coast
grocery store). The guy behind me in
line knows the checker guy. Checker
guy looks up and smiles, "Hey, they'll let
anyone in here, won't they?"
We just got our new puppy. Eric and
I were outside when the kids got off the
bus from school. Delena says,
"Where's the new puppy?" I answer
with a solemn face, "I'm sorry, Delena, he
ran away." pause for a beat
"Nah, he's asleep inside."
You're out with a single girlfriend, who
is chatting up some guy. You hang
around while she giggles and flips her
hair and acts all stupid, then she leaves
with you. She's chatting animatedly
about him and you said, "Yes, he's
GORGEOUS! Too bad you started your
period on your white pants and have a huge
spot on your ass." She blanches
white and screams. "I what?"
"Nah, I was just kidding."
Eric is calling home from work, which he
is always good about and says, "The guys
and I were thinking about going over to
Mike's and hanging out for a while. Are
you OK with that?" I say, "What I'm
thinking is you've been working all day
and I've been stuck with kids all day and
you'd best be getting your ass home
instead of going out playing with your
boyfriends." silence "Nah, I'm
just kidding. Go, have fun."
Joe was only 2 weeks old and we found out
he was born with bilateral hernias in his
scrotum. He had to have surgery
right away. He was so little and I
was only 16 and was terrified. I
called a friend of mine who was kind of a
mentor to me (she was the mother of one of
my schoolmates) and I said, "I'm so
scared! Joey has to have surgery for
hernias and I'm so afraid I'm going to
lose him!" She replied, "Well, I
told you not to let him move all that
heavy furniture." As ludicrous as it
was to think of a 2 week old baby moving
furniture, the feeling that washed over me
was, "It's your fault."
Why do we DO
this? I know most of you are saying,
"Oh PLEASE, give me a BREAK!
EVERYbody teases! It's fun!
It's how we communicate!"
Or is it a
way that we exert power over one another?
Is it a way that we elevate ourselves over
each other for just a second? If we
can give someone a brief second of
humiliation or fear or sadness, for that
moment, we hold the key to their happy
box. We can take it all away by
saying, "Nah, I was just kidding."
We can draw it out as long as we want.
We are in control. Even if they know
it's bullshit, they know that we are
attempting on some level to manipulate
them. Many will say that I'm reading
too much into this, but really think about
it. Cast aside your protectiveness
of this common practice and exam it a bit.
Part of it is
survival of the fittest. In our
hearts, no matter how altruistic and holy
we may be, we're out for ourselves.
It doesn't matter how much we love another
person or how many acts of selfless
heroism one performs in their lives,
overall, a person's drive from a visceral
level is for self-preservation.
Since the average person doesn't have time
or tools to build themselves up on an
ongoing basis, to be better every day than
they were the day before and take
confidence in that progression, the
natural opposing force of that is to cut
down and control the people around us.
This is just one subtle way that we do it.
Even if the
teasee is in on the joke, like the guy in
line at Albertsons who accepts what the
checker says as an affectionate greeting
(as it truly was intended to be) and takes
no offense at all, on some level, the cut
down is there, even if it is not
perceived. It's processed.
particularly impressionable with this.
How many things can you remember from your
childhood that were said to you and were
what Dr Phil calls "defining moments" that
the person who said them to you cannot
even remember? When I was six years
old, my mother sat me on a three-legged
stool next to her stove and said, "Girl,
you aren't much to look at, so if you're
going to get a husband when you grow up,
you're going to have to learn to cook."
Until the day she died, my mother would
swear she never said that, but her words
burned onto my heart. I am an
incredible cook. Ironically, both of
my husbands have been very attached into
my cooking. I used to fly into a
panic whenever Eric would want to fast for
a couple of days. I'd have the
feeling in my spirit that he didn't love
me when there was nothing to support that.
Because of my mom's words, I put my
self-worth into a frying pan.
I used to
LOVE to sing. I have a terrible
voice (no, really, I do - ha. I can
definitely admit it is not one of my many
talents), but I loved to sing. It
felt wonderful. The second year we
were married, that would be 1980, my first
husband said to me, "If you can't carry a
tune, please don't torture the rest of
us!" That kept me from singing out
loud for over 20 years.
I tried to be
sexy once when he asked if I'd make him a
cup of tea. I stripped down to a
transparent white apron, white high heels
and nothing else. I weighed about
125 then and had 3 babies. When he
saw me, he started laughing and said, "You
just look so silly with your flabby belly
and thighs!" That was in 1982.
I still can't wear negligees or pretty
frilly things without feeling the rise of
pink shame going into my cheeks and I
disempowered Paul years ago. The
imprint is still there and I weigh 100
pounds more than I did then. I
used to go the full route of corsets,
seamed stockings, teddies, lace gloves
When Eric and
I first met, the attraction was
incredible. We really, really dug
each other. He lived in Sacramento
and I lived in Idaho. After I moved
out here, Eric felt like I was asking for
more than I was. He felt trapped by
me moving here because our feelings were
so strong and I was so much older than he
was. He was only 20 and definitely
and understandably not ready to hook up a
35-year-old divorced woman with 4 kids.
His mother was very against us being
together and he was really attracted to
Barbie doll-types. I knew that and
was at peace with it. In order to distance
himself in that respect, he told me, "I'm
just not attracted to you sexually.
Your weight is a turn off and you're just
too old. You might be able to diet,
but you'll always be too old for me."
It cut me to the bone. He was trying
to be honest with me about his feelings,
but now, even after being married to him
for just under seven years and hearing
lots of reassurances, I still hear his
voice saying, "You're too fat and you're
How often do
we hear ourselves saying thing to our
children that can hurt, just because we're
fed up and frustrated or scared? My
son, David, remembers his head being held
in his father's eyes while his father
looked him straight in the face and said,
"Son, you are an asshole. Don't
No matter the
range of heinousness of what we say to
each other (and my examples show quite a
range from friendly banter to deeply
scarring shit), we at best take delight in
cutting down others or given them moments
or minutes of fear or shame or
embarrassment and at worst, don't care
about the damage we do to them.
Just as I had
to, for that month, stop and think before
I spoke and find another way to express
myself, can you imagine how it would be if
instead of automatically slamming one
another with insults (awww, it's just how
I show I love ya!!) and put downs, we
showed our affection by saying wonderful
things? What if we used our words to
elevate each other and make the people we
love and encounter in our day feel good
about themselves instead of putting the
negativity out there? Wouldn't that
greatly increase the overall positivity in
came back to our site. You wouldn't
BELIEVE the welcome home he has received
from the fans. Before he left, he
got more letters than I can count from
people who said, "You know, when you call
me darling in your column, even though I
KNOW you aren't talking specifically to
me, I can feel it and often, it's the only
nice thing anyone says to me all day.
When you tell me you love me and you're
talking to all of your readers, I feel
like you're talking to me and no one ever
tells me, 'I love you.'" People love
Sage because Sage loves them. He
tells them how beautiful they are and how
happy he is that they are in his life.
The thing is, he really, really means it.
I remember his reply to one of the women
who wrote something similar to him.
He said, "Now why do you think I'm not
talking specifically to you, darling?
How many of
you who enjoy Sage's columns read them
with the feeling of slipping into a warm
tub of bubbly water because you're
surrounded by his essence of love and joy?
It's how I feel when I read his work.
It's how I
feel when I'm with him.
I have a
friend, a really dear friend, who I ADORE
who is wonderfully sarcastic and flippant.
She's a ton of fun to be so little. :)
"Her way" of expressing affection is
sometimes the put down way and when I
would be feeling sad about something or
having a bad day, it hurt. I finally
told her about it, that I knew it was how
she communicated, but that it hurt me and
I wish she'd love me in some other way.
She IMMEDIATELY stopped and ever since,
her communication has been 100% loving and
supportive. If I'm having a bad day, I no
longer cringe when I see her e-mails. I
get excited because I know she's going to
be loving and funny and make me feel
better, even if she doesn't KNOW I'm
having a bad day. My respect for her
is through the roof because she cared
enough about me to go against the nature
of her personality and change the way she
communicates with me. THAT'S
friendship!! I love her so much for
doing that for me.
There is no
denying that words have incredible power.
They can uplift our souls and give our
heart wings or they can cut us to the core
and scar us forever. I think all of
us, myself included, must be so very
mindful of how we speak to people and the
energy that we put out there around the
words we say. Yes, it's a pain in
the ass to stop and censor what you say.
People take great pride in the right to
just babble anything that comes into their
heads at any given time without being
encumbered with the filter of whether or
not the words should actually be said.
That's the biggest trouble with words.
There is no "undo" button. You can
never take them back. Once they're
out there, the damage or the glory has
been done. With that degree of
permanence to something as fleeting as
words, one would think we'd be more
If we all
were to take the time and the
responsibility and the grace to
think before we speak, to give value to
our words and work to make people feel
good about themselves in even the most
subtle ways, could it hurt? Sure,
it's easier to just say, "That's just the
way I am, I don't mean anything by it,"
but what if we all went the extra mile and
actually changed how we interact with each
other. What if we tell the people we
love how much they mean to us and the
things we admire about them? What if
we become a person that people love to be
with because they like who they are when
they are with us?
that's what I'm working on these days.
I know it sounds hokey, but I believe it
has merit and Eric didn't laugh out loud
at me (he's the king of sarcasm), so he's
thinking about it too. I am reminded
of what Dr Phil said in his book
Relationship Rescue. He proposed
that we wake up every morning and plan
three things we can do that day to make
our marriage better and our spouse happy.
Why stop at marriage? What if we did
it for everyone in our life? I give
a great deal of merit to the energy that
we carry around ourselves and how we see
ourselves. Some people thrive on
being a martyr and that's not what I'm
talking about here. Some are the
eternal victim. Some give off a
constant air of hopelessness. I am
talking about doing this from a position
of empowerment of being in charge of what
you say and what you do in a positive way,
making the world a better place.
What if YOU are the only one who says
something nice to a particular person
So if we're
being mindful of the energy that we carry
around with us and we carry around the
sense of empowerment over what we say and
the effect it has and the ability to make
others feel good about themselves, I think
that is what will come back to us.
You probably know well that if you are a
martyr, you'll attract people who are
eager to nail you to the cross or other
martyrs who want to hear you talk
endlessly about your trials and
tribulations on the cross. If you
are a victim, you'll attract users and
other victims. If you are a bully,
you'll high five with other bullies and
attract in the victims. If you are
confident, calm and empowered, you'll very
seldom if ever find yourself surrounded
with whiners or rage-babies. It's
amazing how when you change yourself and
the way you exist in the world, the world
changes around you. People begin to
shift here and there, new people come into
play and your whole life changes.
It's incredible. Isn't this a good
place to begin?
That's me hopping off my pulpit.
I hope you
have an amazing, wonderful holiday
weekend. The angels are enroute to
your house as we speak here with arms and
wings laden with miracles for you.
Throw open the door and offer them a beer.
They all look like this:
Memorial Day. Make it... memorable.