We Need A Little Christmas?

we-need-a-little-christmasIf you don’t know, the 1958 movie Auntie Mame by Rosalind Russell is one of my favorites of all time.  There’s also the 1966 Broadway Musical Mame which starred the incomparable Angela Lansbury.  (There is also a 1972 musical movie version of Mame that stars Lucille Ball, which I’m told is great – but it’s hard for me to watch because of my love for Ms. Russell’s version).

Either way – it was the Broadway version of Mame that first brought us “We Need A Little Christmas” – a song I also love.

Mame has just lost her entire fortune in the Wall Street crash of 1929.  She has no way to provide for herself or her young nephew Patrick, or her faithful household help – her own little family.  Things are the bleakest they have been, with no hope of change any time soon.  Mame declares they “need a little Christmas” even though it’s several weeks too early – and insists they all open their Christmas presents right then.

The tune itself is deceptively cheery – and when I first heard it – I had no idea of the deeper meaning behind it. The forced gaiety, the permission to laugh and smile for just a while, to shake off the burden and stress of the moment – knowing there was still a hard road ahead – strikes a little close today.

Don’t tell me to cheer up – don’t tell me to shake it off – don’t tell me to get over it.”  I’ve seen this dozens of times in my Facebook newsfeed this morning.  And I get it.  And I’m not telling anyone that their fears, their concerns, or their sadness needs to go away.  That’s not my right, and that’s not my point.

But the burden of this new reality is exhausting. We will break our own spirits before anyone else does if we don’t give ourselves permission to find joy amid the rubble.  Maybe not even joy – just time to renew and rebuild so we have strength to carry on.

Don’t pretend this isn’t happening.  Don’t give up the fight.  But when you can, give yourself comfort and lean on each other for a little Christmas in the midst of crisis.  Because we need a little Christmas now.

I Stalked a Boy and I Liked It

I saw him first on Tinder – a dating app that incorporates Facebook to compare your common interests, mutual friends, and location. If you and your match select “yes” for each other, a chat message feature is unlocked. I’ve been told that some people only use it for a hook up system – others use it to find someone to date. Me, I was using it for research. Yeah, research. I swear. No really. Uh huh.

I’d had a few chat messages with folks, some I already knew, but nothing magical. One guy’s idea of flirting with me was to assure me “I’d blow ya” repeatedly. This was after informing me he was a professor at UNC-Charlotte teaching classes in public speaking and writing. Really? That’s the best shot you’ve got?

Most people answered back within a day or two of matching. Well, except for one. Every time I received a heads up that there was a new chat message, I kept hoping it would be him. But alas, no: it was the “I’d blow ya” guy with another eloquent come on.

In frustration, I clicked on his profile again to see if there was something wrong with him that I could use as salve for my bruised ego. I mean, c’mon, I’m a catch y’all. He still didn’t have any flaws, except one. He hadn’t logged in for 3 weeks.

AAUUGH! How can you not log in when I’m waiting for you to reply?? How dare you!

But wait. We have mutual friends! On Facebook! I could find him!

I asked my friends if this was creepy, and they looked at each other and said “Yes!” but I didn’t care. It was at least worth a shot.

So I stalked him off a mutual friend’s page, friend requested him and he added me back almost immediately. We started chatting and I confessed that I had stalked him from Tinder. (I mean, what if he logged in to Tinder after and then saw that I had messaged him weeks ago – now THAT would be creepy). This way all the creepy was right up front and he seemed okay with it.

Long story short? We met in person and have hit it off really well. To quote a phrase, we are smitten. Indeed, we are in “deep smit.”

I’ve broken several rules this time around, including my “not-declaring-a-potential-new-relationship- before-90- days” rule. Sometimes, rules are meant to be broken. Or at least tested for validity. For research. Yeah, research. I swear. No really. Uh huh.

*dances off happily*

Thanks For Breaking Up With Me

We broke up in 2005 and then again in 2007.  It was strange to see his name come popping up on my Facebook friend request list again this week.  But a lot had changed in 6 years, and I was just as curious to find out what had changed for him.

I was amused to see that most of his pictures showed him wearing his standard “uniform” that I had always seen him wearing:  baggy jeans and a solid broadcloth button down short-sleeved shirt, usually green.   His hair was the same military buzz cut as well.

The biggest difference?  He was married.

At first I was a little surprised, but once the initial shock wore off, I could honestly say I was glad.  I went back in to message him my congratulations, but no sooner had I accepted his friend request than he was gone.   He had friended my work Facebook, maybe he thought he got the wrong one.  I also noticed that his niece had hacked his Facebook once – maybe it was she who had sent the request.   Whatever the reason, the connection was broken as quickly as it had come.

I logged in to my personal Facebook, and sent him a request, realizing he may not accept it.  And then I sent him this message:

I saw you come up on my work FB, and was glad to see that you were happily married. I wanted to thank you for all you did for me while we were together, and also for not staying with me when we weren’t right for each other.

I’ll always value our time together. You taught me the value of connecting with a person on multiple levels – you were the first guy that had really happened with. You raised the bar for me – and I’ll always be glad.

Looking back, I realize I had so much to do to get myself together better – that I wasn’t ready for an equal partnership. And even though I’m still searching for “Mr. Right” – I know I’m now a better Ms. Right than I ever was. Thanks again!

Whether he ever reads it or not, I’m glad I finally got to tell him.

We had started dating back in 2004 – about a year after I had decided to divorce my husband.  At first, everything was great.  But during that time, I dealt with the death of my sister, a bout of depression, losing my job, and being evicted from my apartment.  I had no car, not much in the way of personal belongings, and was very lost at sea.  In short, I was a mess. I can say this now, looking back.  At the time, I was just trying to hold on.

He wasn’t the perfect boyfriend – we both had issues.  That’s the point though.  The good that we had, I cherish that.  I learned from it.  The bad that we had – well, I learned from that too.

Timing is everything.  This past week, I felt myself travelling down a similar path:  bills all coming at me at once, things breaking down, and my safe little world crumbling. The people I would normally turn to –  gone or not an option.   Defeat felt like it was just creeping in from all sides.  It would be easy to shut down and let the worst that could, happen.

This time is different.  I’ve learned now. I can do this.  And if I can’t do this, I will get up and start from where I fell and try again. 

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

–Rudyard Kipling