Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Perception

“I know tomorrow brings the consequence at hand. But I keep living this day like the next will never come,” Criminal, Fiona Apple

The idea of perception, and how others perceive the same thing, has always confused me. People will see things the way they want, and because of that, issues will always arise. You may not have intended something one way, but as soon as someone perceives it that way, you are screwed. No matter what you say, once their mind is made up, nothing will change it. So what would Laura Bush do?
It seems that for a while, I have perceived something much different than another person. What I thought was simple kindness was taken as flirting. Sadly, that was never my intention. I am sorry, but it wasn’t. While it is true that I am so clueless and na├»ve in this area, my intention was one of niceness and nothing else. That will teach me in the future for sure. It makes me sad that people no longer recognize genuine kindness. Have we all become that egotistical that simply talking to someone about their life has to mean they are into them? Really, really sad.

Apparently this was the perception of others resulting in me being the topic of a conversation. While no one likes knowing they are being spoken of untruthfully, I look at it this way, at least they are leaving someone else alone. Fast forward to me being told some cruel things and me basically wanting nothing to do with this person for the foreseeable future.
As I have said before, no one wants to be blamed or told how horrible they are. Never did I do or say anything that would make someone think this about me, but their opinion of me is theirs, not mine. If they have an issue with me it is their problem and really none of my business.
So how would Laura Bush have handled this? Would she have just ended any friendship with the person or would she have tried a little harder? I am not sure she would have just walked away like I am deciding to do, but maybe she would have. How do I know? While kindness is first and foremost in both our lives, that doesn’t mean we will be doormats either. There is only so much one person can take. Even the nicest people have their limits. If you are going to say cruel things to a person, why would anyone want you in their life?

Sometimes people take their own issues out on others because it makes them feel better. They will talk about others in hopes others won’t find that person appealing. But even knowing this, why would you keep that person around? What good can come from that?
I am not sure that this entry is exactly how Laura Bush may have handled the situation, but I still think picking being nice over interacting with someone who has shown they can be cruel is the way to go. Not feeling any remorse for wanting no contact with them is helping me think I made the correct decision. I just don’t need another person blaming me, especially for something they perceived differently than intended.

This entry does, however, showcase a sort of growth in me. A few months ago I would have never posted this since I am so extremely private, but I felt it was time to open that door just a bit. As hard as it is for me, and as hard as it will be for me to hit the publish button, if I can help another person experiencing this, then it was worth it. I may receive backlash for it, but that is the price I am willing to pay to possibly help another person. It’s a tough world, and us lost in the world need to stick together.
I will succeed and I will fail, but I will always ask, what would Laura Bush do?

Author’s Note: This was the song playing as I was heading home tonight. It is a great song. I also thought it fit because while I don’t feel I did anything wrong, the perception of others’ may be that I did. You decide.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Laura is everywhere!

“It’s not too hard to figure out, you see it every day. And those that were the farthest out have gone the other way,” Hip To Be Square, Huey Lewis & The News

Last week for me was just chaos. There really is no other way to say it. I was so beyond busy, I was a mess. Graduate school work was intense and I worked a couple doubles on top of it. Just when I would catch my breath, someone else was asking something of me. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to everyone and everything. Some understood, some didn’t. Fortunately, I was reminded of just how amazing people can be by a few very Laura Bush-ish actions.
Two of my friends always want my presence at a weekly event, but it isn’t always possible. I have to pick and choose when I can make it, and when I just can’t. Both are understanding, but they still want me there. Well, last week everything lined up and I was able to spend a few hours with them. When I met them I told them I wasn’t sure how long I could stay, and the response was so Laura Bush. They told me, “we just want to see you, doesn’t matter for how long.” It made me happy inside. They both know how busy I am and are appreciative of any effort. To them it wasn’t the amount of time we were together, all that mattered was that we were together. Both know it won’t always be this way, and for that I thank them. I think Laura Bush would approve.

Later the same week, I had to tell someone that I just didn’t have the time they deserved. It is hard living the starving artist life, and for the next two years it is most likely not going to get better. It just wasn’t fair to them, or me. I felt guilty for my lack of time and it was a strain on both of us. After I said what I needed to say, the response was one of compassion and understanding. The final response was, “it’s worth the wait.” A situation that could have gotten ugly didn’t. It could have easily gotten childish, easily placed blame and pointed fingers, but that never happened. The high road was taken, and for that I will always cherish the time. Plus, who doesn’t want to hear they are worth it? Taking the high road, now that just screams Laura Bush.
A close friend of mine experienced an illness in their family recently. As scary as the event was for them, watching our friends rally around them was truly moving. It didn’t matter what any of us had to do that day, weekend, or month, we were there for them. Not that my friends are not a caring group, but watching how everyone rallies around each other reminded me why I choose to spend my little free time with these people. All of them have a little Laura Bush in them. They show kindness above all else.

I don’t know Taylor Swift personally, but the more I learn of her, the more I respect her. As I have written before, I get her and believe in her honesty. I still don’t really love her music, but I dig her. Anyway, she was on the cover of my Rolling Stone magazine recently and I was impressed with her class in the photos. The photos were of her at the beach wearing jeans and a white tank top. Being a white shirt, in the water, the photos could have been completely trashy (Rolling Stone has been known to go that route), but they weren’t. You never saw too much of her. You never saw anything you wouldn’t want her young fan base to see. She showed the world that you can be beautiful without being cheap. Well done Miss Swift. I think Laura Bush would approve.
So remember to take a look around, you will see Laura Bush in everyone. Essentially meaning, you will see kindness everywhere. And when faced with a situation that isn’t showing Laura Bush, stop and simply ask, what would Laura Bush do?  

Editor’s Note: If you think Huey Lewis & The News needs explaining, stop and give it another listen. Or just watch Back to the Future.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Time

“I’ve been crushed by tumbling tide. And my soul has been psychedelicized,” Time Has Come Today, The Chamber Brothers

So I came to another realization recently, I no longer seem to have any time. Seriously, every moment of my life now seems to be filled with work, school or training. It’s a good thing I don’t require a whole lot of sleep to function. Well, that is until it catches up with me. Making it worse is the sense I am being pulled in a million different directions by many different people. So, what does it take for me going forward to just say no without the fear of disappointment or retaliation?
I would like to believe 100 percent those that truly support me will understand. That when I just can’t make it somewhere or tackle another project, they will understand. Unfortunately, this is not the case as of late. The times I have said no have upset people. So what would Laura Bush do?

There are some that understand and don’t get mad, but ask if there is anything they can do to help. My best friend is one of those people. When I need to do homework and cancel plans, she never gets mad. Sometimes she is the one that suggests it. But others sure like to throw it back in my face.
For example, the passive aggressive text along the lines of “I know you are just so busy, but can you…” I get these often. Another favorite, “you are just so popular, I need to get on your schedule in advance.” I really wish me being busy was a sign of being so popular as opposed to the truth, being so stressed. Newsflash, you aren’t helping by adding to it by making me feel guilty.

I am partly to blame since most of my life I have been the person that is always there. Always available for every project, every party, every meltdown, every graduation, every wedding, every…you get the point. I am always happy to be that person, but by being that person, I fear I have created a monster. Now the shock of me saying no is making others mad. It is made worse by the fact I don’t feel it necessary to explain myself. And contrary to popular belief, rarely is my reason exciting. Yes, I would much rather go to a movie than write a paper, but this is my life now. That graduate degree isn’t going to earn itself.
The times I do decide to say yes and put a commitment on the backburner since “it isn’t due yet,” something always happens. I don’t blame others when something gets in the way preventing me to finish, it is just my dumb luck sometimes. But it has made me realize I really need to put myself first. Get all my commitments taken care of. Get those papers graded, get those emails answered, get that paper done, then do the things asked of me.

So going forward, how do I stay true to myself while not disappointing others? How would Laura Bush?
I am going to begin by reminding myself why I am doing what I am doing — working two jobs (sometimes three) and going to graduate school. I am doing it for me. This isn’t for anyone else, it is for me.

Next, I am going to politely decline offers. This will be hard for me at first since I will feel guilty. I know I shouldn’t, but I will. It is too late to change this trait about me. But with every decline I give, I will be kind. I will be Laura Bush. I am pretty sure she can’t do everything asked of her.
I will still be to as much as I can, and help with all I can, but will remind myself that I need a break. To remember just how beat I was this past weekend when I was running that I just couldn’t go on. I was walking dead in a sense. I don’t want to be that person, it wasn’t pretty or fun.

Finally, I will remind myself I am happy. Yes, I am crazy busy, tired most days, stressed beyond belief, but still happy as amazing as that is. This is my life, this is how I am living it for a while, and it is Ok with me. Being happy, being me, and working toward a goal, how could that not be Laura Bush?
Author’s Note: On my ride home from work I was thinking of possible lyrics to use with this entry that involved time. There were numerous options that came to mind, but this one was the one I kept coming back to. I have always loved this song. Plus, I love any time an artist creates a new word.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What to do?

“Are you wanting inspiration? You spill your secrets on me,” Thorn In My Pride, The Black Crowes

After over a week of what can only be described as the plague, and a little Labor Day fun, I have made my way back to my keyboard. And more importantly, back to Laura Bush.
Even though I was away from writing for some time, I was still faced with different what would Laura Bush do moments. Today I am going to focus on one that will hopefully result in some much needed guidance.  

I friend came to me recently to share some news with me. It wasn’t good news. Aside from the problem at hand, I had no idea what to say or how to be there for them. Seriously, it is a topic that I have absolutely no experience with and I am pretty sure I failed miserably helping my friend talk about it.  
Amongst those closest to me, they have instructed me to just not give advice ever in certain areas. Apparently, my advice isn’t always the best. But that said, what do you do when they come to you, only you, and they need you? I know how to be there for people, but I don’t always have the words. What would Laura Bush do?

This isn’t a problem that will go away overnight for my friend. It is a problem that we will face together for as long as we need to. But how do I make sure I help and don’t harm? Having no firsthand experience will limit anything I can say. I understand some venting time may be in order where I really don’t have to give advice, just listen, but what do I do when asked, “what am I going to do?” Do I let the call go silent or do I make something up? Do I research what experts say, or do I speak from the heart? I have no idea.
I hope that Laura Bush would do what I am trying to do, be there. So as I try to help a friend get through the next phase in their life, I will remember to channel Laura Bush. I will listen. I will be there. I will try to find the words. And I will be kind.

I will fail sometimes, but also succeed in being there. I will let my friend know I am trying, I love them and we will get through it. And I will continue to ask, what would Laura Bush do?
Author’s Note: The Black Crowes are one of my top bands (ever) and this song is my favorite. Today just felt like a Black Crowes kind of day.