No Perfect Candidate

I admit that, once upon a time not so long ago, I was one of those who liked Donald Trump when he first came onto the political stage. I liked the way his unabashed way of setting off public debate – on many issues that had for many years been taboo, or worse, circumvented by the popular media outlets because they were not politically correct to discuss – allowed even the talking heads on the Sunday morning news programs to openly discuss previously taboo issues.

I felt like he got people talking and debating, with less fear about repercussions of opinion or the violation of political correctness expectations.

But now, I fear that he has become maligned by his own stunted followers and the creeping shadow of his own poor business and political choices.

That said, I am not one of those who has gone skulking into the Clinton camp.  I think, in many ways, H. Clinton is as bad, if not worse, than Trump. She represents more of the same government ineptitude. She does not represent change. I would rather engage in civic disobedience, and vote my conscience (e.g. no vote at all), than to vote for the lesser of two evils.

In any case, neither one of the candidates is a viable choice.

Neither one of them has the moral conviction nor the insight to take this country to where it needs, and wants to go. Where it deserves to go.

Here is why:

  • Both candidates will have to battle a dilapidated and corrupt political system. It is the system that is so corrupt. Until the system is changed, the candidate who is slotted in will be mostly irrelevant.
  • Both candidates will continue to contend with their own shady personal and professional backgrounds.
  • Neither of the candidates has the best interest of the public in their sights, unless that public interest is juxtaposed to their own personal gain.
  • Both candidates are part of the corporate and political bastions of American society; basically, the “pillars” that have amassed money and power and use both to battle on their own fronts under the disguise of “fighting for the common man”.
  • It is the Electoral College results that matter, not the popular vote. The decision will be made outside of the public arena.

How many times in history have we seen that happen? Rarely do the masses win anything that they are due by the privileges granted by the Constitution because of the power struggle that goes on in places that none of us are privy to.

So…now…the masses battle among themselves. They claw at each other in order to prove the credentials of their favorite candidate. They scramble to have the last word, to prove that the candidate they favor is the best one. They search tainted media data to present as proof that somehow they are right and the words and actions of the other candidate are maligned.

When they can’t achieve the desired result by doing those things, they disparage the other candidate’s character. They resort to low and filthy tactics; anything to win the argument. They operate from a basis of emotion and hasty analysis. They react to propaganda, data which has already been run through the spin machine at least several times, worth no more than the kitty litter in the litter box, and the stuff that kitty drops in there.

They let go of their common sense in order to hop on the bandwagon of the candidate that the media machine has been geared to lead them to follow.

What they fail to understand is that for them, this fight must not be about candidates. We are way past that.

This fight must be focused on issues, and our pock-marked and crumbling political and social system.

This fight is about clear-minded people butting up against the beliefs of people as sheep, who either can’t be bothered with thinking through the issues with their own brain power or truly believe that our society has an element of truthfulness and purity left to it. They are led along by a shepherd into a pasture where they smell the poppies and eat the spiked grass. That spiked grass is the media propaganda that permeates our reality.

They are led to this place with wool over their eyes, obscuring the reality of the current situation.

As I wrap this up, I am thinking about how we fix this.

What does a clear-thinking non-sheeple American citizen do to make a difference?

Here are my meager attempts to enlighten us all:

  • Do your research using unbiased data from unbiased sources. It is very difficult to come by these days.
  • Take some time to get the pulse on what you believe is the most important issue.
  • Find and join an unbiased organization that supports and propels the solution of that issue to new heights.
  • Stick to the issues; avoid the propaganda.
  • Stick to the issues; don’t malign character, no matter how quickly it would help you win the argument.
  • Stick to facts; don’t use emotion to debate.
  • Remember that everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, no matter how wrong you think it is. Move on; don’t dwell on it.
  • Don’t allow disagreements over these topics to divide you from your friends and family. Divided – we are all weaker.
  • Remove the rose-colored glasses that you wear and work to remove the tint of those others that you encounter.

Objectivity works best in order to ensure securing a win in the struggles of real life.

© 2010-2016 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

The Myth of the Other Woman

Yes. I said it out loud.

It is my belief that the idea of the “other woman” is a true myth.

And yes, I fully expect to get some backlash for that.

But, please, hear me out.

I believe that, like a fence, there are only two sides to the idea of the “other woman”:

  • the side where you get hurt
  • the side where the other woman gets hurt

Buried somewhere in there are different degrees of pain. Some of the pain lasts longer than the rest. This is a matter of perception, as most everything in life is. Other critical factors in the pain that is felt are the true level of commitment in the relationship, and the level of perceived commitment in the relationship of both the guy(s) and the gal(s).

Yes, I just inferred that it might be in your head. I can only say that because I have been there too – both when it is real, and when I manufactured it. As a writer and an analyst, I have a tendency to overthink  A LOT.

In reality, the idea of the “other woman” is not about the other woman at all; it is about you and the guy. It’s that simple.

At this point in our lives, most of us gals should have already seen both sides of this fence; and, depending on your perception, become connected to men who traverse both sides, and the middle. Needless to say, all of us have been damaged by it.

How much you are damaged by this scenario comes down to how you cope with your own identity, your honesty with that identity, and your honesty when communicating to your guy.

You become as damaged as you allow yourself to become.

The good news is that, like most everything in this life, you have a choice. Your choice is determined by the boundaries that you set for yourself, which in turn come from how you work through past relationships in conjunction with your own inner woman.

I, like many women my age, have seen my share of both sides. I have been hurt terribly. I have scars.

I have had to turn my back on a really good man because I chose not to be a part of jeopardizing his existing relationship after I found out that he and I were going down a dark path together. I have had to turn my back on two really good men because each of them overstepped the boundaries that I set for myself. The thing about that is I didn’t have a solid knowledge of those boundaries until I was already immersed in the situation.

In these cases, I was the other woman, just on different sides of the fence. They  were really good men who were struggling with their own issues and were straddling the fence in the middle.

But, I gave of myself to the best of my ability because it was the right thing to do. I didn’t point fingers, I didn’t get angry (well, maybe not too angry).

When I emerged, I was a stronger woman for all of it and continue to gain strength, wisdom, and can still love completely.

No matter what side of the “other woman” fence you are currently on, here are some pointers that I have tried and found to work well, if you have the strength to employ them consistently:

  • Be honest with yourself and your guy about exactly what type of relationship you both think you are in.
  • This involves a strong level of open communication.
  • Clearly identify – for yourself – what you will and will not put up with; then set the standard.
  • Be patient; sometimes it takes some time for an unfamiliar standard to become the norm.
  • When the norm is established, do not waver (too much).
  • Hold yourself, and him, accountable.
  • Be flexible; we are all people with our own demons and challenges.
  • When you get to the point of love, love completely and unconditionally, regardless of the outcome.
  • Protect your heart.
  • Remember that this is not all about you; there are two other people involved along with you.

This situation is not an easy one to navigate, particularly when there is so much bad and ill-informed literature out there. If you allow the bad advice in, it can result in empowering you to point fingers, label, control, and establish a selfish point of view in order to move through it. This type of advice will only complicate your situation.

Good luck being the other woman! If you’re lucky, you will learn to relax and enjoy the ride.

© 2010-2016 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

Tales From The Dating Scene: The 90-Day Shelf Life

What I am about to write might sound crass, or jaded. But it is the truth.

What you are about to read started several years ago when I began wondering why every relationship I decided to get into seemed to not be able to last longer than 90 days.

I think I have finally figured it out. It all comes down to shopping habits.

Think about how you shop. Whether you are shopping for food, or clothes, or towels, the process is usually the same. You pick up an item that interests you, you look at it, maybe view it from several angles, and then put it down. You scan down the shelf for other similar items. You pick up one or two. Put them down. Read a few labels, look at prices. You think about how that item will fit into your house and your life. Eventually, you come to a decision and buy it. Or put it down in the interest of something else.

This is the life of a commodity in the eyes of a consumer.

From within the dating scene, the men you meet and date  are the same, only a commodity. And you are only a commodity to them.

“Here’s something else to think about: calling when you say you’re going to is the very first brick in the house you are building of love and trust. If he can’t lay this one stupid brick down, you ain’t never gonna have a house baby, and it’s cold outside.” ~ Greg Behrendt, He’s Just Not That Into You: The No Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys. 

Similar to the shopping scene and process, you go online and view their images, you read their bios, you decide if they would be something you like, you weigh their qualities against those of other men, maybe you try them on by going on a date or two, and then you take the plunge…or not.

Straightforward. Simple. Man or woman, we are all doing it the same way.

With some items, like food, or even clothes, you get them home and maybe use them or put them away somewhere.

No matter what, every commodity has a shelf life. A shelf life is defined as a period of time during which the product is considered most usable. For food, this could mean that eventually the food will expire and have to be thrown away because it is no longer safely edible. For clothes, this could mean that after so many washings it will begin to look faded or even fall apart.

Same applies to relationships on the dating scene. They all have a shelf life.

“Never rearrange your life in order to meet Mr. Darcy half way. If he couldn’t see your worth at the moment you met then he won’t two years later.” ~ Shannon L. Adler

There are articles out there that suggest that the shelf life of a new relationship is biologically and scientifically proven. The shelf life of a new relationship in the dating scene is roughly 90 days.

The explanation for the 90-day shelf life on new relationships is compelling. Basically, it states that within the first 90 days of meeting someone that we are attracted to, our hormones and instincts make it virtually impossible for us to see the things about that person that we should be. We are wired to look past the personality quirks and the idiosyncrasies in order to facilitate procreation. We are wired to not focus on the red flags unless they are life-threatening. To read more, go to Your Tango.

So, yes, the honeymoon phase that we all go through is not a myth and is biologically based. Only after the hormones and instinctual nature have simmered down do our brains then have the capacity to analyze what we are up against.

“One of the best times for figuring out who you are & what you really want out of life? Right after a break-up.” ~ Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass. 

Recently, during a forensic analysis with a group of friends over my most recent failed relationship, I was told about the concept of a 90-day rule. My first reaction was that it had to do with not having sex in a relationship for 90 days. Personally, I don’t think sex has a lot to do with whether or not a relationship succeeds.

It was explained to me that the 90-day rule is more about just having fun and using the period of 90 days to determine whether or not you really want to continue with this person. That after 90 days, either one of you can decide that it’s not going to work or you can decide that hey this is kind of good and let’s keep going.

What a new fresh approach. You mean, I can look at these guys as a “thing”, a commodity? I don’t have to jump in and try to make it work at all costs? I can enjoy myself and look past their oddities, and in 90 days just say no to the continuing ordeal?

“You picked a lemon, throw it away. Lemonade is overrated. Freaks should remain at the circus, not in your apartment. You already have one asshole. You don’t need another. Make a space in your life for the glorious things you deserve. Have faith.” ~ Greg Behrendt

It was a completely different perspective. And, it is completely out of line with my whole process of shopping. When I shop, and then buy something, I tend not to return things quickly. I make them work. But, I am also highly selective and put a lot of time into the initial selection. I am not an impulse shopper by any means.

On the flipside, I now understand that the men I have dated are exactly that, impulse shoppers. And I was their commodity, along with all the other women whom they had previously used and then discarded.

I buy value and in small quantities, with the intent to nurture and grow it. They bought quantity with the intent of going out and buying something else the minute they became bored or dissatisfied. And, like returning it to the store because it doesn’t do what you thought it would, I became their commodity.

Interesting – the things we learn when we look under the rocks and into the dark crevices.

I am so excited for the next “relationship”. I have done the analysis, learned something new, and have a new toolset to play with next time.

Watch out guys – your time is up.

© 2010-2016 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

Love Them Where They’re At

This weekend, I treated myself to what has recently become a rare occurrence.

I went to church.

Instead of going to “my” church, I challenged myself – and my daughter – to try a new church. A new denomination. A new message. A new feel.

See, as a Catholic, it has proven difficult over the years to find a congregation and a mass that I can actually learn something from. Whether is was the disruption of crying children, or the struggle to understand the sermon presented by a priest who’s second language is English, it seemed like more often than not, over the years, I left church dissatisfied and still hungering for more.

Over the years, I have filled that void with bible study – a practice somewhat frowned upon by the Catholic church – both group and online, and volunteering.

But I still hunger, and I still thirst.

My daughter and I landed in a congregations close to us called the Austin Christian Fellowship. From the start, I expected smiles and warmth, little pomp and circumstance, no Eucharist, and much music. I hoped that in there would be a lesson or a sermon of some sort.

I was not disappointed, on any level, beginning with the music, and then the free Bibles.

The sermon – is that what it is called in a Christian fellowship congregation? – was centered on the Gospel of Mark. Chapter 12 to be exact.

“Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied: “This is the first: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! Therefore you shall love the Lord your God with all you heart, with all your soul, will all your mind, and with all you strength.’

This is the second, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:28-31

As I listened to the sermon, I couldn’t stop myself from focusing on the Second Commandment. Jesus didn’t say that you shall love your neighbor. He said,  “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Wow – illumination.

A rush of memories welled up and overtook me.

  • Memories of the people in my life who I couldn’t understand and turned away from, questioning and blaming myself every step of the way. Sometimes I sauntered back to them on their terms, sacrificing a part of me; sometimes I didn’t.
  • More memories of those who had turned away from me, claiming that I was not what I said I was or that it was them, not me. Still blamed myself, but I have learned to give people space when they ask for it.
  • Memories of raising my children, especially during the rocky times when they didn’t understand my endless love for them, nor me their transitioning, growing, and deepening love for me.

family-love-quote

Jesus said it. No reason to think about it. We can only love each other as much as we love ourselves. If you don’t love yourself, you can’t love others. If you don’t love yourself at certain levels, you can’t love others at those levels. If you have grown up with discord, mistrust, and anger, and you haven’t reconciled those and don’t love who you are, you can’t love others and will only impart those same dysfunctional qualities.

For those of us who have achieved higher levels of love, embrace your ability to engage in love at those higher levels. But, when you engage with those who may be at a different level, love them at their level and don’t expect them to come to your level. They can’t, at least not now. Chances are very good that they are loving you the only way they know how. Make that good enough.

© 2010-2015 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

It’s Only a Jigsaw, Silly

Every so often, I wake up with something really profound screaming in my head.

Sometimes I forget to write it down, or think that, because it was SO profound, that I will surely remember is later.

Not!

jigsaw This morning, I woke up comparing jigsaw puzzles and relationships. As I researched it, I found that, even though profound, it is not unique. But here goes.

Relationships are like jigsaw puzzles:

  • Some puzzles are simpler than others; hence, they can be put together quicker and easier.
  • None of them are easy. But, the easier they are, the less satisfying they are.
  • There are many pieces that on their own are pretty and unique ~ but together they make a beautiful creation.
  • The smaller and more intricate the pieces are, the longer it takes to put the puzzle together; but, when that puzzle is complete, it is a work of art.
  • If a piece is missing or misshapen, the puzzle can still be completed. You may have to work harder to finish it.
  • When you get stuck (because you will at some point), it’s best to give it a rest.
  • Sometimes, you have to put it back in its box and up on the shelf because it just wasn’t the right puzzle for you.
  • Some people have the curiosity and endurance to complete them; some don’t.
  • If you get one that you don’t like or can’t figure out, you CAN find another one that suits you better.

In the end, jigsaw puzzles and relationships can be as challenging and as satisfying as you want them to be.

Like anything in life, the choice is yours.

© 2010-2013 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

What Was I Thinking?

At what point in the march toward maturity do we stop looking back at our actions, our words, wondering why we did that? We started out careless and free, but then we all had to grow up and think about consequences. Yuck!

Actions that felt right at the time they were taken but they get reviewed after the fact from the perspective of personal principles and societal views.

You look at something you did on a whim and the afterthought is “What was I thinking?”  Or, “That is definitely not me.” You second guess yourself.

But, yet, you did it and it is done.spur[1]

Whatever you did is not bad. Nor did it hurt anyone. Not even you. It is something that if someone would have told you that you did it, you would look at them with mouth agape and point to yourself “ME?”

These are actions  that you review after the fact, running the scenes through your mind like a motion picture, and can too easily distance yourself from them. Not take ownership of them. In fact, there might be scenes that if someone had taken video you would be tempted to cut those scenes right out of the picture. The actions are those of another person and are not the types of actions that represent you on a regular basis. They don’t represent the person that you present on the outside.

“Nope. I didn’t do that. That must be someone else.”

These are actions, if done by someone else, that you might find yourself envying that person for their free spirit and their ability to jump into actions for the moment and not over-think the consequences or the opinions of others. But, you might just as easily condemn that person for the same reasons.

These are actions that you might read about in a steamy romance novel or see in a movie scene, portrayed by actors who get paid the big bucks to put it in a public arena.

These are actions that you wouldn’t want your children to know about…or at least not until you are old and wrinkled, waiting for the end, and need to share the thought if only to prove that your existence mattered at some point.

These are actions that you wouldn’t want your mother to know about. These are actions that when you did them in your 20s they seemed appropriate because that’s what that age group does. After all, their brains are not completely formed yet. These are actions that you don’t attach to someone in your age group. People with fully formed brains don’t do things like this.

These are actions that belong in a diary and shared with no one.

These are the actions that if you over-analyze them, the thought can bring you low and make you question your own worth.

thCA38O3GWDon’t misunderstand. I am not speaking about regrets. I am not speaking about actions that if you had a chance to do them over you would choose a different course. Uh-uh.

These are actions that made you feel good, actions that felt right, and when you look back on them you still smile secretly.

These are actions that, if you allow yourself to go there, can be a tremendous source of comfort because the very part of what makes you think back and question what you were thinking is the same part that represents freedom of thought and action.

Because when you took that action, you were free. Free from condemnation, free from overthinking, free from all the burdens that have kept you down up until the time when you took the action. You were flying high and living your life in the moment.thCAUE75XS

These are actions that if you had stopped for a second to actually analyze whether you should or shouldn’t proceed, you probably would have stopped and made another choice, but you would have secretly regretted that you had missed the moment.

Missed an opportunity to connect on a higher level with a friend, missed a chance at a lifelong memory, missed a chance to live the life that has been given to you by the grace of God.

I have a tendency to over-analyze my life. I over-analyze my thoughts, my actions, sometimes every second; I can be really hard on myself over it all. The rare moments when I can do something free of the burden of over-analyzing are precious and few.

I take these moments now not in shame or regret, but as cherished keepsakes of the few moments when I was free.

As I proceed through my days, days when I will not be so free and will have to think things through, I will bring out these keepsake moments so that I can remind myself what it feels like to be on the other side of that burden.

WHITBY-BREAKWATERS2-quote[1]

© 2010-2013 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

Sandy Hook: What Can I Do?

In the wake of Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, the finger pointing continues. The media ramps up its onslaught on the weak principled and the undecided among us.

The constant discussion and wrangling is tiring. I find myself sitting and listening and wondering to myself “if I were a parent of a young child, what could I do to make sure my child was never at risk for doing something like this?”

Note the words I used: What can I do?

It seems to me that there are so many people debating this horrific act who are still pointing fingers.

  • “How could he get access to those guns? We must tell the government to tighten gun control and keep those lethal weapons off the street.”
  • “How could that mother not know that her son was so disturbed? We must make laws that control people like that.”
  • “How can the media be so unprincipled as to broadcast these nasty images that pervade our children’s thoughts and cause them to turn into such bad people? The media must be controlled and the nasty images must be cleansed, maybe even removed.”

Anything to change the focus on what hurts to acknowledge.

I’m sorry, but none of those rationalizations, nor their ‘solutions’, works for me.Free_choice_by_KILLERSMEMO[1]

Why?

Because the results of legislation such as that removes my right as an individual to choose and I want my God-given right to choose how to live my life, and, as guardian to my children under God, how to best guide and foster the lives of my under-aged children. I don’t want this government, or any government, legislating my choices, particularly when that legislation involves removing choices because a third party entity deemed my choice inappropriate or wrong.

Back to “what can I do”….

Following along with that principle of choosing for myself and paying my own consequences, let’s examine what the enthusiastic parent can do to control the environment of their children, in the best interests of their children, to increase the chances that their child will not be prematurely exposed to, and possibly inexorably damaged by, the dregs of our current societal trends.

  • Find the off switch to all electronics.
  • If you can’t find the off switch, know how to unplug the electrical cord.
  • Use this choice – this power – to control the environment in your household. If you don’t like the programming on CNN or Fox, change channels or turn it off altogether. Why one earth would you want the government deciding that for you?
  • Engage your children daily – cook together, play a game, discuss their day, discuss your day. Remember that you, as the parent or guardian, are in control in your household. It is YOUR choice that makes the difference in your household…your principles, your beliefs. If you are openly watching news programs about death, drugs, and prostitution, in front of a very young child, believe me, that child will absorb that in ways that are beyond your control. There is a reason why you feel uncomfortable watching that stuff when your child is in the room. Turn it off! We live in the world of You Tube; you can find the broadcast on the internet AFTER your child goes to bed and you won’t have to hassle the explanation to a child that is not ready to understand….and shouldn’t.
  • Know your child. This goes hand-in-hand with the fourht point. If you spend quality time with your child, you will know your child. As you grow to know your child, you understand their issues and are more able to help them through.
  • If you sense that something is wrong or different in a bad way, seek help.
  • If you have guns in the house: keep them under double lock and key.
  • Teach your children from a young age how to respect them and the power they wield, and then follow that up as they get older with how to use them safely and what instances are correct places and reasons to use a gun.
  • Teach your children early on that they have a choice in how they act, then be consistent with that information but modeling for them.
  • Teach your children the difference between right and wrong, then be consistent with that information by modeling it for them.
  • Be patient with your children while they learn.

evil_wallpaper_by_deligaris-d48ps7b[1]I am not, by any means, advocating that by being the quintessential ‘good’ parent that you can avoid raising a child like the ones who have committed such heinous acts over the past few decades. I truly believe that evil exists in the world. We, as humans, are powerless against it and cannot hope to defeat it. What this killer did, and what so many before him have done, was to make a choice to follow evil.I am not advocating that there is anything anyone could have done to ‘fix’ him. Like I said, evil is evil.

I do believe that by being involved and compassionate parents, parents with common sense and the backbone to stand up to our kids (because at a certain age we MUST stand up to them)  in the interest of teaching them  right from wrong, that we might be able to make a difference in a generation. I believe that we, as parents, have more influence over our children than we think we do. Or maybe that influence comes at a high cost of time.

Either way, wouldn’t it be worth the effort to try to tip the scales to sidestep this type of tragedy?

© 2010-2012 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

Good-Friday-Jesus-on-Cross[1]