Bagel Boss Incident – Oh Twitter

I’ve been on Twitter having conversations with people about this whole “Bagel Boss” incident. If you don’t know what it is, simply, a man had a complete freak breakdown in a bagel shop, someone recorded it and posted it on Twitter and the Twitter-verse did it’s thing and mocked him, bullied him further and… well it just went down the rabbit hole from there… 

Now, in all fairness, he did freak out in a public place. Regardless of how it started, he screamed about how he had a difficult time dating because he’s short and he seemed hell-bent on saying how “all women” were the same and mean. He thought the women there were secretly hating on him, though they did seem to be just going about their business. 

I watched it and winced the entire time. At one point, someone – maybe a manager – tackled him to the ground.  I’m no lawyer or law enforcement, but it seemed appropriate. He was full of rage and pretty explosive.  But what happened next, is difficult to wrap my head around.

Someone recorded it, of course, and posted it on Twitter. And then Twitter went to town mocking him, bullying him – making fun of him.  I called a few people out  – people I actually respect on Twitter for reposting the recording and they diligently justified, without skipping a beat, why they thought it was fine to repost it, mock and bully him. 

Ugghhh. 

Here’s the point I’ve been making all night:   when someone gets a bunch of guns and walks into a school and kills people — we’re all stunned. We’re saddened and “tweeting” for something more than “thoughts and prayers” to be done.  By then though, it’s too late.

Mental Illness always comes up.

“Why didn’t anyone help him?”

“How could no-one have noticed he was so upset?”

The Twitter-verse is then filled with all the compassionate people who would have known if it was their neighbor, their family member, if their friend was in trouble. 

But, here in this moment, in full display is clearly a man in pain. He’s suffering.  And what do all the people in the store and everyone online do?  Bully him further.

Surely, he was out-of-line and absolutely inappropriate.  He did get kicked out of the store and rightfully so.  But what happens when this man, clearly distraught goes home and sees he’s being mocked on Twitter? What happens when a fragile human being who clearly hasn’t dealt with some issues notices his own outburst on his Twitter feed and reads what everyone is saying?

We’ve lost our ability to be compassionate.  More importantly, we’ve lost our ability to connect the dots.  Someone in that much pain, is about to burst.  Clearly he’s calling out for help.  Instead of instigating the situation, wouldn’t it have been amazing if someone had offered him some help instead? A bit of kindness. 

Now, I’m not saying everyone who has an outburst is going to go grab a gun and kill people – but that’s kind of irrelevant, isn’t it? I mean we don’t really ever understand why people do these things – but regardless, shouldn’t we be better people?  Shouldn’t our humanity keep us from harming someone else even further?  Is there really some sort of joy in watching someone in so much pain? 

I think what I’m most upset about this evening, is all the people who replied to me being upset that I called them out on their own behavior.  Instead of just admitting they might have made a mistake, they then tried to make it about how he deserved to be mocked for acting so badly.  They found ways to justify their bullying.  It was sad actually. 

I believe that our true character, the true test of who we are is not measured when things are going perfectly well.  It doesn’t matter that you have compassion AFTER a massacre – that’s expected. In tragedy, it is expected that people will come together and help each other. That’s how most humans behave, that’s how most humans survive. But the true test of who we are is really measured when things are hard.  How do we behave when it’s not easy?  Do we show courage when no one is looking?  Can we see pain and react accordingly even when everyone else is bullying?  Can we stop being part of the mob-mentality?  Can we even see it happening? 

I hope that guy figures it out. My prayer, my wish for him tonight is that he has a loving family or great friends that saw what happened online and intervened to walk him through.

I just hope he’s not alone. 

And for people on Twitter and social media in general – I pray that we do better – and that we err on the side of compassion. That we find a way to be better than we used to be. 

Single and Breathing

Okay, I want to share this:After picking up my Lotto Tickets

I walked down to the gas station so I could get a Lotto ticket and also to just get a little workout in.

I was sweaty and gross and as I was finalizing my lottery ticket (which I’m sure is going to win) when this young man came up to me and asked me if I was single.

Continue reading loose transcript below or listen to the podcast:

.

I was a little bit thrown.  Good looking young man, very well dressed and he was buying gas or something.

I looked behind me to see if he was talking to somebody behind me and he said, “No, I’m asking you. Are you single?”

I still couldn’t answer him because I was in shock.  He said, “I’d love to buy you a drink or maybe lunch or coffee…”.  He was so elegant and quite fantastic actually.

But I just looked at him and I just said, “You know, I can’t do that — my boyfriend’s waiting for me at home but thank you.  I appreciate it.”  And I just pivoted and walked away.

I started thinking about how embarrassed I was that he asked me.

Also he probably was half my age?  – Maybe not half my age, but it doesn’t matter –  he was young enough to be my son.  And although I was flattered by that, there’s a part of me that knows I have some very strict standards.

I feel a little bad that I lied to him, but I’d rather have lied to him, than have made him feel stupid or made him feel bad.

I am single.

I am single because I have had two great loves in my life and I was so disappointed when they ended that I think it’s been very difficult for me to even consider the possibility ever again.

It’s not that they ended badly or that they were horrible, it’s just that when you really do love someone and you care for them it’s really difficult to lose that friendship as well as the relationship.

I’m not sitting here pretending that I could have been friends with these people ever again after what happened between us, but it was so disappointing, and it hurt me so much that I think it’s really hard for me to ever even consider anything less than what I want now and what I deserve.

It’s almost as if having those relationships have now set the bar really high.

So, I am not going to spend any more time on “finding love”.  Any more than I do on anything else in my life because I believe there is something very organic in relationships.

I don’t go looking for friendships.  I don’t go looking for new girl-friends either to hang out with.  They either happen or they don’t in all of the things that I do in my life.  And I think that’s kind-of how the next step has to be for me.

I’m also not crazed about this idea that I have to be married.  Or that I have to be in a relationship.

I do believe we are social beings.  I do believe we are better with companions and friendships and partners and spouses.  But, I also think we can be worse with those things too if it’s not the right fit.

So yeah, I’m single.  But it’s a good thing, not a bad thing. It’s not preferred or something that I don’t like – it’s just where I’m at today.

In order for me to ever really consider ever dating someone again, he’s going to have to at least be in his 40’s – or at least turning 40 – and then all my other standards that I have.

I guess the reason why I’m sharing this post is because I wanted to say this:

I think it’s OK to have standards.  I think it’s OK to want what you want!

What I don’t want is some of the relationships that some of my friends have.  They are in so deep with children and mortgages and their businesses are tied in and they feel like they can’t breathe.

You know what? Right now I’m single and I can breathe.  And I love it. And I don’t want that to change as much as I want to find someone that kind of fits into that puzzle pretty easily (if that makes any sense).

I just wanted to share that. I would love to hear your thoughts.

As always, have a sweet day. Thank you again for always stopping by — I appreciate it!

I’ll be back again soon.

Bye.

Carmen

Relationships Are Hard

Relationships are hard.

All kinds of relationships – between you and your parents, your friendships, siblings, co-workers and yes those romantic ones too – all relationships are hard.

I’ll admit upfront that I’m the last person on the planet that should give any advice on relationships. But someone asked, and as many of you know, it’s hard for me not to share…

I have a shrewd way of dealing with people in my life that works for ME, but please understand, it may not work for anyone else.

With that said, let me start with my definition of LOVE:  It’s a feeling and for the most part, it’s intangible to quantify.  Love can be pretty complex but, in most cases, and definitely in the beginning – love is pretty easy.  Whatever you may think of love I believe it can happen instantaneously.  A baby is born for example – that feeling of love is innate and all encompassing.  I know in my own experience, you can meet someone and “fall in love”.  It’s possible.  No matter what anyone tells you, love can be inexplicable and undeniable.  And since no one owns the patent on what love is, to me, it’s a feeling first.  Given time, love can surely evolve into something more in-depth depending on the circumstances and attention to the relationship.  But the essence of love is something you simply feel deeply that is difficult to always put into words.

So, in some respects, love is easy. There’s no controlling it. You can’t help who you love and most times you don’t really understand why you love a person, you just know that you do.  I think we’ve all experienced that in some way shape or form – and I love people who always feel the need to chime in to tell YOU what you’re actually feeling when you say you love someone – it’s as if they’ve cornered the market on what love is and is not. Cracks me up every time. Don’t listen to those people.  No one can tell you what you’re feeling.

But don’t be confused – there’s a difference between LOVE and TRUST.  People make this mistake all the time in all types of relationships.

If love is easy, then trust is difficult – REALLY DIFFICULT. Trust is earned.  Trust takes time. Trust is not innate. Trust is NOT a feeling.  People confuse being “in love” with the fact that they don’t trust this person yet. How can you trust someone you do not know?

Trust is important because it helps define our relationships.  We trust our parents because through thick and thin, they’ve been there for us even when we’ve messed up or shined, parents have walked us through infancy to adulthood.  So we trust them.

Siblings on the other hand, we may “hate” but ultimately, just based on sheer time, proximity and history, we love them. But what about a sibling who’s a drug addict?  We may not trust our siblings who are drug addicts, but our love is based on our history and connection with them. So, a family member who is a drug addict may be someone we love, but we would never trust them, unless they worked real hard to earn that trust back. Right?

What about a new boyfriend or a new girlfriend?  Sure, you can “fall in love” with someone you just met. It may be the beginnings of a deeper relationship – but all that questioning going on in your head, all the wondering of “does he” or “doesn’t he” has to do with getting to know each other. That takes time. And even if you think you trust a new person in your life, truth is, you just don’t know.  Trust is earned. Trust takes time and effort.  It’s not a feeling.

Okay, so just for clarity (and simplicity):  Love is easy and is a feeling.  Trust is earned and is tangible to calculate. Good.

I can honestly say I have fallen “in love” romantically twice in my life.  Once with a man who I slowly grew to appreciate over time and then realized he couldn’t be trusted so I walked away – and another man I fell in love with instantaneously whose presence in my life was rather short, so trust between us was never established.  I can easily say that I loved both of these men – but trust is a thing. It matters. And without trust, you cannot have a good relationship with anyone.

So, when you meet someone and you “fall in love” don’t be confused by what that means. It’s a feeling and that’s fine.  Don’t let anyone tell YOU how you feel or what the definition of LOVE is or is not.  No one can fully explain what love means – but DO NOT confuse TRUST for LOVE.  That’s key.

This is where most people get confused.  It doesn’t matter how old you are.  I know people who are married, divorced, married again and divorcing again because they have continuously confused trusting someone for loving someone.  And regardless of the relationship we’re talking about – friendships, siblings, boyfriend, girlfriends, spouse, parents – if you can’t trust a person, if you have doubts about who someone is in your life, then it’s not a healthy relationship.  You need to consider why you keep toxic relationships in your life and how you can work with them if you have to or learn to work around them if you can to remain a healthy and positive person. Please, if you have questions or concerns about this in any way, it’s always good to seek out professional help from a therapist, counselor, or doctor – I am none of these, but know that talking to someone can help walk you through.

Here’s my shrewd way of dealing with people I can not trust – again, I preface this by admitting this may not work for other people, so I don’t recommend it, but like all things – take what works for you and mold it into what is uniquely you.  Be a sponge who retains what little water you need and ring out the rest. But this is my way of dealing with relationships – especially romantic ones:

When I’m clear that I can’t trust someone, regardless of the relationship, I easily walk away. Because of my upbringing, (which you can read in the book CANELA), I’ve instilled a system of deciding what people I keep in my life with clear “rules”.  It’s always been about self-preservation and something I’ve practiced since I was a kid.  It’s actually simple:  after three times of being disappointed by someone, they’re out. I’m done. I walk away. In theory, you get three chances to be in my life, and then after that, I cut all ties.  My instincts tell me that in any relationship, especially a new one, if after three times someone’s proven they cannot be trusted, then they clearly do not have respect for my time and therefore do not deserve my energy.

I justify it this way:  There are close to 7 billion people on the planet. If you don’t have time to respect me, then I need to move on.  There are too many people to meet who may have a mutual level of respect that I want in my relationships – why bother wasting time on people who don’t “get” me even if they claim too?

Trust is the most important aspect of any relationship I have in my life.  I still love those two men dearly but let them go and never looked back or regretted the decision.  It doesn’t mean they are bad people, it just means we’re not in the same space.  Look, I don’t claim to know exactly how the world works, but I do know that I want people in my life that want to be there, that need to be there. Friendships, siblings, lovers, even co-workers.  Fake relationships are a waste of everyone’s time and energy.  There’s a level of respect you can demand to have with all relationships if you start understanding that it’s okay to have boundaries and rules that work for YOU.  When you have a set of standards, people will either meet them, or they won’t.  When you love and respect yourself completely – you’ll never let a person into your life who continuously lets you down and hurts you – intentionally or not.

And there it is:  How well do you understand yourself? Do you love yourself completely and what does that mean?  How well do you trust your own gut feelings?  What are your standards? What are your expectations of people and do you practice those same rules?  What kind of people do you surround yourself with and do they reflect the best of who you are? I can honestly say, the people that are IN my life are some of the most beautiful people I am privileged to know. My loyalty to them is fierce — and I know for them, my relationship is just as important.  I always say, you don’t need a lot of friends, you only need one REAL one.  And I’m lucky, I have several beautiful REAL people in my life. True wealth.

Now, I’m not saying it’s ever easy to walk away from someone you’re interested in.  Even with my rules in place for decades, relationships are always hard.  But over time, you realize it’s easier to control your own behavior and reaction than it is to force others to BE a certain way.  I’m a firm believer that you can have everything you want in life, but first, you have to understand what it is you want and embrace the idea that you deserve the very best and never settle for less – especially when it comes to relationships.

 

 

 

George. Rest In Sweet Peace

homegallery_03_lg-2He was my first crush.

My first concert.

I loved George. I will always love George.

His music, beginning with the WHAM days, was just pure fun, happy, poppy kind of stuff.  Music that made my heart beat, my soul sing… at a time when my World was anything but happy or fun.  1982-1983ish. White boys rapping?  Are you kidding me?  But I loved it.  I loved every moment of it.

I can’t stop tearing. When George did that duet with Aretha Franklin, he was then legitimized to the World.  His faithful always knew he had chops. But this milestone marked the beginning of his trek to stardom…for good and bad.   Faith.

I listen to George all the time. Still.  I work-out to his music regularly, daily.  I get newsletters from his website… he tweets and emails his “lovelies” – and yes, UN-apologetically, I’m one of those.

I’ve been a fan since day one: Wham years. It’s the only reasons I follow the BBC — yeah, I say it’s to stay on top of what’s going on in the world, but it’s always been secretly to keep tabs on my first crush.  It always bothered me that the U.S. fanbase never welcomed him back fully, so for a time, it was hard to get any news.  Thankfully, came the internet and social media that made it much easier to keep in touch with this beautiful man, exquisite writer, amazing vocalist (one point for the internet).  One More Try.

Like most, I fell deeper in love with George when he “came out” (as if his fans didn’t know), although I have to admit, I secretly prayed that if he met me, he’d cop to being Bi and somehow I’d be okay with that and we’d make a go of it!  Hey, a girl can dream.  What fascinated me most was that his “coming out” didn’t alienate his girly fan base at all  – it just made his music that much cooler, that much sweeter, the love songs even deeper and even more profound. And his heart-ache more evident to the rest of us.  An Easier Affair.

I’m sad. George’s music is the background theme to my childhood trek. It’s all the good stuff I remember. I feel good when I listen to his velvety soothing voice.  I feel whole somehow.

I hope he’s better now — resting. He gave his best, and yet it seems that he never was content or found any kind of peace.  But his music…well, to me — is everything. It always gives me comfort…and always gives me hope.  Somebody To Love.

I shall miss Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou. My George Michael.  Forever and a day.

Rest in sweet peace beautiful man, rest in sweet peace.

And thank you.

Carmen, one of your Lovelies.