Category: letters

Dear So-and-So

Grandma Doris, no more

From my recent letter to Michele:

Well, I need to be wrapping this up (I know, it‘s another Epic, lol) but I did want to respond to your comment about turning 39. I feel the same as you, that I truly do not feel like I’m pushing 40. I just can’t believe it’s really almost here! A while back, while watching Remington Steele, the Doris Roberts character was insulted that some bad guys grabbed her because they were looking for some grandmother. Doris was offended and explained, “I’m only 42!” (I think the joke was that she was *clearly* shaving off a few years, because one guy was like, “What?” and Doris’ look was one of, “That’s my story – and you’d BEST not argue!”) Still, just hearing her say that number grabbed my attention because it’s not too far away. I was like, “Is THAT what people think early 40s looks like?!” Shoot, I would’ve thought she was a grandma, too! I thought that *surely* no one would mistake me for that. I mean, I wear jeans and like superhero movies! THEN I briefly fretted, “Should I be more mature…?” Since then, I’ve realized happily that show was over 20 years ago. As you said, now “Forty is the new twenty.” If anyone doesn’t believe that, they can look at the way 40-somethings are presented on TV. Then: Grandma Doris. Now: Cougar Courteney Cox. We’ve come a long way. What a great time to be forty!

And a quote I found last year at brigidday.com:

I am on the precipice of turning the big 4-oh. I am celebrating turning 40 and will wear it like a badge of honor. I will not turn 40 in boy shorts. Instead I will turn 40 with wisdom I didn’t have when I was 20 and confidence I didn’t have when I was 30. To 40, I say, bring it.”

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sarc(h)asm is no way to bridge the gap

As an update to a previous situation, I present two snippets from my most recent email to Michele.

I have been waiting to vent since Saturday. As Jeff and I were sitting down to eat, he mentioned things he’d read at two different websites. So I took the chance to inquire, “In all of this website-reading, have you had the chance to look at mine?” “Not lately.” I felt like pressing the matter with, “Um, exactly how long is lately?” But he then proceeded to say, “Oh, I might need for you to send me one of the addresses again, because I lost them. When I moved to a new computer…”

Okay, I’m really trying to appreciate his (FINALLY!!) being honest and to not be petty about this but there is SO MUCH about this that bothers me. First, again, I wanted to press the matter and ask when exactly he moved to a new computer, because he’d told me (when I previously asked about the websites a few months ago) that he’d have time to visit them during his vacation, which was in August. Second, he cares so little about it that he waits until I ask him point blank about them to mumble, “oh, yeah, could you resend that?” Along that line, he obviously doesn’t care about them – or ME – at all to even remember ONE of them in the first place?! (This makes me especially peeved because as I’ve said, he prides himself on remembering tons of useless trivia -and yet! He can’t remember what matters to me. Un-freakin’-believable. )

I’d suspected many months ago that the reason he wasn’t emailing me is because he’d lost my email address, and I’d say that’s all but confirmed, with him asking me to send them to him. At that I did get a little venom-y and replied, “We haven’t emailed since 2008. Why break tradition?” And about re-acquainting him with the websites, I wanted to respond like a typical scorned woman and withdraw with a chilly, “Don’t bother.” Again, I know it’s petty, but I have no intention of sending him the websites’ link again. He didn’t care to visit them in over a year, despite my repeatedly saying how much that would mean to me – and him saying repeatedly that he WOULD visit them!

As I said, this really threw me for a loop, and I was quiet for a few minutes. Then I tried to get over it and finally responded to his attempts at making conversation, but now I kinda hate that I “gave up” so easily, because (as ever) he really, truly doesn’t understand that he lost even more points there. When he talked about losing the address, he wasn’t even apologetic; he was just stating facts, like he does.

A few days later, I finished the letter with the latest development.

About Jeff, I did see him yesterday, and I did manage to bring up the websites thing. I broached the subject by referring to an article I’d seen this week which said that women tend to apologize more than men. (That’s sort of a “Well, duh!” but the article went on to say that it wasn’t because men thought apologizing was weak (or whatever) but it was because they had a higher “threshold” of what they thought merited an apology.) Then I was like, “Along those lines…” and I simply explained that my feelings were hurt when he confessed that he lost the websites’ addresses. I didn’t want to beat a dead horse, but I did want him to understand why, and I pointed out how he prides himself on a good memory yet nothing about not even one name or one of the 20(!) topics of websites I have stood out to him…? And that I’d repeatedly said how important it was to me to be heard (esp. with the sites) and he’d repeatedly said that he’d visit them, even as recently as during his vacation, “yet that came and went without a word about them.” He listened quietly, and I don’t think he felt too beat up on, which was good. I wasn’t trying to put him on the spot; I didn’t really even expect him to say anything in response. I explained that I simply wanted to get that off my chest, “and maybe later, if I decide to share the sites with you again, you’ll make a little more effort to visit them? Maybe.” Then I let the subject drop and moved on to another article I read.

Will this little speech change anything? :shrug: Who knows. At least I’m trying! As with my previous efforts, I was pleased with having said something, and in a way that I didn’t think was harsh.

I’ve very recently been thinking about that truth “you may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” Like when I tried talking to Jeff about my hurt feelings, and I acknowledged that it might not change anything, but I’m trying. It’s actually kind of unrealistic for me to think that I’d say a few sentences, and he’d understand them perfectly, and respond perfectly. ‘Cause you know, I don’t understand or respond to people perfectly either. I think that’s why the Bible so often repeats itself on important matters: because we’re all works in progress. Maybe when we understand that – in ourselves, and in others, and in our relationships with each other – we can find the patience it takes to stick with them and work on it.

please read the letter

“Please read the letter. I nailed it to your door. It’s crazy how it all turned out; we needed so much more. Too late, too late – a fool could read the signs. Maybe, baby, you’d better check between the lines.” ~ Please Read the Letter by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

I suppose it’s true that when you give someone a gift, it becomes theirs to do with as they please, and you shouldn’t be angry with them for not using it the way you think they should. I mean, it’s theirs. A gift with restrictions isn’t much of a gift.

On the other hand, when you give someone a letter, don’t you expect them to read it? Last August, I told my boyfriend about my websites. At that point, we’d been dating for four years, and it finally seemed like the right time. I saw it as inviting him to know more about me, a part that previously – for whatever reason – I’d felt like keeping to myself.

After sharing the link to my blog specifically, I cautioned him that sometimes I’d ranted, and though he seemed undeterred, I anticipated that his feelings might be a little hurt. Still, in my more optimistic moments, I’d pictured one of those so-called rants sparking a conversation between us to address the problem, thus improving our relationship. At the very least, I was hoping for some mention from him of some small comment I’ve made that he found funny or thought-provoking or just worth repeating. I’d even written that such a mention would make me feel great because I’ve told him how important it is for me to feel I’m being heard.

What I DIDN’T anticipate, was that he’d show no interest whatsoever in what I had written — or am writing.

I kept waiting for feedback, but after a few weeks passed with no word from him, I’d broach the topic by citing some website project I was working on. To each comment, he had no response whatsoever. And for Jeff, who has an opinion on just about everything under the sun, this is significant. I finally asked him directly a few months ago, “Not to put you on the spot, but have you had a chance to look at my websites?” The reply was a curt, “No.” (Doesn’t that sound as if he’s read it and it bothered him?) I said, trying to be casual, “Is there any particular reason why? I didn’t scare you off with my warnings about ranting, did I?” “I just haven’t had time.”

And, although I think that’s a pretty weak excuse – is it not true that we make time for what we want to do, for what’s important to us? – I decided not to bring it up again. I’ve been trying to look at it as I wrote above, as a gift to him that he can use (or not!) as he sees fit. However, now any time he mentions doing anything computer-wise in his free time, *especially* some blog or fanfic he was “checking out”, my feelings are a little hurt. “He’s got time to read ALL of that stuff, but doesn’t have time to read mine?” Right. I can’t help feeling that it’s not lack of time, but complete lack of interest in what I have to say that inspires him to avoid my sites.

I can picture any guys who are reading this rolling their eyes at my being such a girl about this, wondering why women want to overanalyze things. Well, news flash, fellas: we think about things that are important to us! And for relationships like girlfriend-boyfriend, right or wrong, we’re looking for validation that it’s worth pursuing, that the end result will be worth working past the rough spots. And news flash, Jeff: we’ve got some problems, and I know you know this, because in those two minutes we’ve talked about it in the past year, you admitted that things have “cooled” between us. If you did read the blog and are bothered by what you read, WHY are we not talking about it? And if you’re really not reading it… do you care at all to know what I’m thinking? Are you content with just having someone to call a girlfriend? Apparently. Do I have commitment issues? You betcha. But ignoring the problems doesn’t make them go away! Yet, as you may have also noticed, I bring them up less and less, not because they’re not still problems, but because you don’t want to hear it.

Which is sad, really. We can only go so far in neutral.

the way the cookie statements crumble

From the latest email to my boyfriend.

Dear Jeff,

On Saturday, when you said something like, “I’ve got to where I can recognize certain songs just by the drum intro,” I replied sarcastically, “Yes, because NO ONE ELSE can do that.” That was not nice, and I do apologize.

But allow me to explain what prompted that snark. (Note that I bring this up because I think it is one of those recurring “personality differences” that concerns me. I’m writing this in a positive tone, not trying to harp, just sharing my feelings, as I’m striving to do lately.) Backing up to recap the conversation right before the above-noted exchange, as I recall, a song by Bruce Hornsby and the Range started to play on the radio, and you and I both recognized it about the same time. You said, “Oh, I know that one.” And I agreed, “Me too.” You added, “Now if it was that ‘That’s Just The Way It Is’, I would’ve recognized it in like, two notes.” Again, I agreed that I would have also. This was when you said the line about the drum intros. Since you hadn’t acknowledged my responses to your previous two lines, I was feeling quite ignored by this point, and to top that off, it sounded to me like you were trying to brag about yourself. Yes, this irked me, and I guess I made that clear…

I thought about this incident and how to bring it up, and what would be the point if I did bring it up. I finally decided that maybe the problem I have with the bragging type statements is that either the listener joins the person in singing their own praises (and I usually can’t bring myself to do that, since they’re doing such a fine job of it on their own!) or the listener doesn’t have anything to say. For that reason, I call them Cookie Statements because the only reply I can think of is, “What do you want, a cookie??” Which I don’t say because I wouldn’t want you or the people at work or whomever to say that to me when I make a Cookie Statement.

So, my suggested solution is this. Perhaps we – yes, me too – could try following a cookie statement with a question to include the other person. Such as, “I can recognize certain songs just by the drum intro. How about you?” Well, maybe that’s a bad example: it sounds kinda like you’re bragging and then challenging me to best you. The idea I’m thinking of is the way I attempt to do in my emails to Michele. For example, I told her about my trials in picking up my walmart dot com order at the store, and then I said, “Have you ever had such an experience with them? Or have you ordered anything from them?” And then it’s like, a conversation, or something. 😀

Love,

Anne

It’s not too harsh, is it? I admit that I’m no good at heart-to-heart talks, so I attempt to share via screen-to-screen writes. (He has yet to respond to what I’ve written, btw.)

letters to write

Dear people at work,

If you’re going to respond to my complaining with a sarcastically unconcerned, “Oh well, live and learn,” you’d best have the same attitude after one of your own (frequent and lengthy) gripe sessions. Otherwise you come across as the hypocritical doodiehead who thinks his problems are SO much worse than everyone else’s. Believe me, you don’t want to be *that* guy.

Just thought you should know,

Anne