Saturday, September 30, 2006

Hello....My Name Is NOT Marvin!

I have a confession.......My name is NOT Marvin. I am NOT a 68 year old pedophile stalking the internet trying to lure you in. Are you shocked? Yeah I was too, but its true! I'm NOT sitting here at my computer in my beer stained wife beater and jockey shorts looking for kiddy porn sites. I am NOT now, nor will I EVER be online trying to seduce young men into meeting me...with the intention having my way with them.

Ok well maybe ONE young man...but that's another story all together. *smile*

So .....WHY is it then that this is the first reaction my friends get when telling others about meeting me online? I can understand the need for caution. Meeting someone on the web can have certain pitfalls. I'm not denying the obvious concerns anytime you meet someone online.

But computers are a fact of life. Everyone from your Grandma to small children are using them and surfing the internet. They have become as common as the mircrowave or TV. It stands to reason that with all the limitless places a person can now travel via the internet...that you also automatically open yourself up to a larger group of people you can now interact with. So maybe its time we started to change our thinking about what is normal a little.

Anytime you meet someone new its a risk. This is true no matter if you meet them online or on the sidewalk of your hometown. If you think its safer meeting people because they may live next door, then you obviously don't watch the news. Or you've never checked out the local sex offender websites. Because if you did, I think you would be extremely surprised as to who some of your neighbors are.

I will concede that the world can be a very scary place. Because of technology we have all gone from being in this very small pond of people we DO a very large ocean of people we COULD know. Are there more predators in this deep water? Yes probably so. But Id be willing to bet that there are also far more people just like YOU and ME that are just decent, semi-normal people, who live healthy normal lives.

If the question is can someone deceive you when meeting them online? Then the answer is yes they can. More easily than in person? Maybe so. But isn't it also true that you can and probably have been deceived in the past by people you actually knew face to face too?

I think its all about using common sense. You have to take the time to get to know someone, no matter how or where you meet them...You have to be willing to ask the all important questions. You have to be willing to listen for the answers to those questions. And when I say listen...I mean really listen not just hearing what you want to hear.

The internet has opened up the world and its people to you. For me that means learning that other people in the world are a lot more like me than they are different from me. The world is a much smaller place than I had ever imagined. To me that's a comforting thought..not one that scares me.

I have met some really great people on the internet. People who I can say without a doubt I consider to be my friends. People that I have yet to meet face to face and maybe never will. Does that make them any less of a friend?...NO not to me it doesn't. Because its not always about meeting someone face to face in order to become friends with them.

Its time to stop making the HOW we meet people more important than the PEOPLE we meet themselves.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

That's Going To Leave A Mark

My friend came to me with a problem. Normally Id be able to give her an opinion...I am usually loaded with those. Dr Jen is always on duty. But this time..I don't know what to say. That all by itself bothers me. Not just because I cant help a friend who's asked...but because I don't have a clear answer. trying to decided if she can trust the man she loves. He's away at school right now. Not to far away only a few hours by car...but far enough. It seems that her guy has developed this friendship with a girl there at school. This by itself isn't unusual. Matt is a very friendly easy going kind of guy. He makes friends easily and has always had equal female and male friendships.

Matt has told Sam about the girl...and explained that they just have things in common and like hanging out..She also has a lot of classes in the same areas on campus there for it puts them in the same place at the same time quite often. It should be said that Matts not a liar. He's never been a cheat. He's the kind of guy whose word means something. Having said that...though..I cant ignore Sam's fears over this..because even though the evidence is all points in the wrong direction.

The girl in very friendly...and calls or texts frequently. She stops by Matts apartment to hang out with him and his roommate. They all share mutual friends. She buys and gives him gifts out of kindness. She does small little tasks for him..choirs as a favor.

Ok I understand where Sam is getting worried about this girl...Here where I come from we have a name for girls like that. They are called GIRL FRIENDS. But even so I am reluctant to condemn Matt on this purely circumstantial evidence alone. Although...the last thing in this puzzle bothers me alittle more......Matt had given Sam access to his passwords...They had traded those a long time ago..He had hers..she his. Until Matt changed his..with no explanation..and no warning. He only did it to one of his accounts...One he hardly ever used. Sam thinks its because Matts emails and conversations with this girl took place on this Messenger and this account and he didn't want Sam seeing it.

Maybe so....I do see Sams point and why she's worried. Matt is a good guy but he's human..and humans screw up. That whole thing about absence making the heart grow fonder...doesn't really play out long term in most cases. So Sam worrying about Matt finding someone nice to spend his time with isn't so far fetched.

I just don't know what to tell her. Normally Id say open your eyes. Look at all the red flags! You may not have any real proof...but it has feathers...webbed feet..likes the water...and quacks...It looks like we have a duck here.

Yet still...I have been dropped on my butt way to many times by the people I choose to give my trust to. Sometimes when that happens to you often enough it tends to leave a mark. A mark that no amount of optimism or looking for that silver lining can quite erase. So right now I don't know if I can trust my judgment or my instincts.

I realize let downs are a part of life.....I know I am not unique to this problem my friend Sam is proof of that. Its just that I have always told myself that I wouldn't let the bad behavior of other people change me. If they screw me over..I'm not going to let that change who I am or how I conduct myself and my life.

The thing I've started to see though, is that when those changes happen, it's not like being hit by lightening. The changes aren't immediate or automatic. Its something more like the tide eroding a beach. Its the small grains of sand that get washed away from you each day....slowly...little by little. Until one day you just realize you are afraid of it happening again. You are wary and a little mistrustful of the next person who comes into your life.

So what's the answer? Do you just sleep with a nightlight on for the rest of your life so that no monsters can ever climb into your closet again? If exhausting is that going to be, trying to shine a light on every corner of a new relationship trying to make sure nothing is being hidden from you in the shadows? You would have to examine and analyze each thing making sure you're blind heart isn't missing any of those all too important red flags you should be seeing.

Or do you just blindly.....hold your nose and jump into the deep water? Not knowing what's under you..or if you will be able swim, and then just hope for the best. Hmmmm, seems like that sort of thinking is what got me knocked on my butt to begin with.

So tell me, do I tell Sam to go on her hearts blind faith, ignoring the shadows in the room and just try and believe that there are no more monsters? I want to. Id like to. Not just for her sake but for myself too.

This time, I dont think I can offer advise to my friend. Because inside I just know that if I'm wrong again.....This time its going to leave a really big mark.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover

Dear Anonymous,

I have not been blogging long..alittle over a year at best. But one of the things I have loved about writing a blog is that it allows me to express myself. Whether that expression comes in the form of a family story, a commentary on a current event, or maybe just venting about things in my life that I feel strongly about.

I have never minded if someone had a different view point than my own. In fact I am a very opinionated individual. So it would be very surprising to me if out of all the people who read my blog, each and every one of them agreed with me totally 100% of the time. I have never minded someone expressing their point of view on my blog, whether those points of view coincided with mine or not.

I can take criticism as well as the next person. In fact if it's done in a civil way I appreciate another person's view and their honesty in expressing it.

However...this is where I have a problem with your approach. First of all, you appear as Anonymous. So for whatever reason you have chosen to keep your name, age, gender and any other details of who you are a secret. Ok...that is your prerogative.

But from now on when you comment to me...Please do so on the subject I have written about. If you don't agree with my point of view its ok to say so. But do not judge the validity of what I have said on the basis that I am 20 years old, a female; or, as you put it, "too inexperienced to spout such opinions".

I realize you don't really know me...If you read my blog further you might get to know me better. But this is something I'd like to know about me. I do not smoke...or take drugs...I do drink but only in moderation...I do not have multiple sex partners...In fact, I do not have any at all at this point in my life. Having said that, I do not feel the need to go out and experience any of these things first hand to be able to comment on the fact that I feel they aren't right for me. Or, for that matter, pretty much anyone else participating in them. Nor do I think age will change my thinking.

Yes its just my opinion...and only mine. I speak now and will continue to speak in the future only for myself. If you have a problem with what I've said..because you disagree with my thinking that's fine. But don't dismiss what I have said because you think I am too young or inexperienced to have such thoughts or opinions.

You should judge a book by its contents...not by the age of its cover.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Homesick For Places I Have Never Been

I have never made any secret of the fact that I'm a dreamer. This past year I have been extremely restless. I feel like there is something missing. But I have no idea exactly what it is. That all by itself leaves me feeling anxious and a little frustrated. Its like having something you want to say on the tip of your tongue and not being able to think of what it is. Does that make any sense?

Today I was looking at photos again and I started day dreaming. I was thinking of all the places I want to go. Of the people I miss and want to see. I've been having these long detailed day dreams where I am actually getting on a plane and starting my life over in a new place.

Maybe its a question of the grass always looking greener on the other side of the fence. Or maybe because I'm so restless that to me even the small things would seem like an adventure right now. When I start these day dreams, I can picture everything about them. I can imagine where I'm going, what I will be doing...who I will be with. I can see it all so clearly, just as if it were happening.

Some might say that day dreams and reality are two different things. That reality is never as good as the fantasy you imagine. Maybe this is true.

All I know is that lately when I think of those people and places and things that I day dream about..It makes me feel as if I were homesick.

But how can you be homesick for places you have never been?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

What No Pictures?

Except for this last Monday being a holiday.....This week has pretty much sucked. Its been raining almost all week long. Normally I like rainy days. I suppose with my mood being what it was though, the rain just seemed to make it worse. Besides it wasn't one of those crisp cold rains that smell good. It was the hot humid dreary type of rain. The kind that makes the air feel like its thick and sticks to you.

I managed to make it through the week pretty much unscathed and now here I am. Its Saturday morning. I have consumed the required two cups of coffee.....

I have already received several text messages from the UK.
(Happy face)

A few emails and some new pictures.
(Bigger happy face)

ANDDD.....Its no longer raining. Or at least not at the moment. Things maybe looking up.
(Almost ready for the happy dance...but not quite)

I have stalked all my regulars blogs and done all my required reading and commenting for today.....By the way you people need to get on the ball and post...I'm dying here!

Now...Its time for my project of the day. I'm still not sure I should attempt this. Because I hate to screw it up and then be with out a computer.....On the other hand I am sort of a compulsive geek....And this is just too tempting for me on a day like today, when the house is quiet and I am left to my own devices.

Soooo I am going to go get out my old computer tower, and do a techno version of Hannibal Lector....And cannibalize it. I'm going to rip out the memory cards....And the two hard drives and anything else that looks interesting and see if I can reinstall them into my current system.

The old computer got zapped by lightening a year or so ago....When it happened I never really tried to find out how much of it was still functioning. It wouldn't turn on...and that's pretty much where I stopped looking. If it just took out my mother board...Then the other things might actually have some use...If it fried the whole enchilada...Well then its going to be a waste of time. But I wont know that until I open the bad boy up.

And before you say it...I am the one who installed the extra hard drive and memory cards in the old computer...So its not like I don't have some clue as to what I'm doing. Still, it has been a while since I have done any of that sort of thing...

Now if I can only remember how to change the the old hard drives from master to slave.....Hmmmmmm I guess I'm actually going to have to read some instructions. NOOOOOO please not that!

I basically come from the Sesame Street school of computer learning...... Where we the self taught, if given plenty of pictures, can disassemble and reassemble anything.

But if I actually have to read the instructions....

Ohhh dear lord help us all.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Does The Label Really Matter?

Feminism : The doctrine that maintains equality for the sexes; advocacy for women's rights.

If I go by the above definition I have to ask myself am I a feminist? I cant honestly say that I feel men and women are completely equal. I think there are some pretty big differences between us and to that I say GOOD!

I have never felt the desire to burn my bra or smoke a cigar. I have never wanted to be a man or man like. There's probably a few people out there right now breathing a sigh of relief over that statement.. I like being female and I like being feminine. While I can never claim to be the girlie girl type.... I do like to watch and play some sports. I like to fish and play poker...I also like being treated like a lady. I like a man to be polite to me. I like it when he speaks to me with respect. I like it if he wants to use manners and open my door or pull out a chair. Its called being polite. I like it...I appreciate it. Unfortunately I rarely see it and I don't expect it.

I see nothing wrong with a man being Chivalrous..I wish there were more chivalrous men in the world. I don't mean the Knight in Shining Armor type who wants to rescue me and fix all my problems. I can do that for myself.

Having said that...I do not want things to go back to the way they were when women were only one step above slavery. When we weren't able to vote..Or own property or allowed to do a lot of things that gave us equal footing in society. So in that way I suppose I am in favor of equality. But then as I see it..Those things are more human rights than a male/female issue.

I believe if you do a job..And you have the physical and the intellectual skill to perform that job, then you get paid for that job. The pay you receive should not be based on your gender or your race. It should be based on the job. Its simple....You work....You get paid.

I have never felt a woman is less if she chooses home and family over that of a career outside the home. The choice to stay home and raise a family is probably one of the hardest jobs any person can do. I say person because in this day and time a lot more men are making the choice to be stay at home dads while the wife works outside the home. I see nothing wrong with that..If it works I say go for it.

Besides that...I think if you're going to have children you should stick around to raise them. Its the biggest responsibility you are ever going to have. You are molding the next generation, who will one day be running things. So it would probably be a good idea to take the job seriously and not screw it up.

I believe that a person should strive to be independent and self reliant. I believe self reliance and independence brings freedom and a confidence in knowing you can take care of yourself. You then know that any choices you make are done so because you do have a choice, not because you have no options and cant survive any other way.

Do I want to share my life with someone someday? Yes I do. Do I hope he helps me solve problems? Yes I do. Just as I hope he will value me, my thoughts and my abilities enough that he wants me to help him as well. We will do it together.

Am I a feminist, a humanist...Or just feminine? If so how bad is that? Does the label really matter?