Monday, March 22, 2010

Experience v. Potential

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. -Benjamin Franklin (or Albert Einstein, depending on your source).

What part of the human mind convinces us that people we have known for many years will change their negative behavior? Is it our ego, believing that we are so wonderful that others will change to please us, or is it more altruistic, stemming from a desire to see everyone reach their true potential? I would love to think it is the latter, but my cynical side believes it is more likely the former.

My relationship with my mother has followed a fairly predictable pattern for many years: a period of intense attachment followed by a much longer period of complete separation. When she comes back on the scene, there are apologies, regrets for not keeping in touch, catching up, and eventually the making of grand plans to make up for lost time. We get together, reminisce and have a great time. Then nothing. No fight, no goodbyes, just nothing.

I will think about calling her, but usually talk myself out of it. She's the parent, I'm the child. She should call me. I shouldn't have to pursue her for a relationship. Or should I? As I approach 30, should I grow up and accept the responsibility of cultivating a relationship upon myself, or do I wait for her to finally do it herself?

I look to my step-mother for guidance in this situation. She's seen me through all parts of this cycle in the past. She's also been in the same situation, but with her now deceased father. During his final year, while his health was declining, she visited him most days of the week, cared for him and tried to get to know him better. When he finally passed, she went back and forth between feelings of regret and anger. She wanted to forgive him and have a relationship, yet couldn't bring herself to do it. I wonder if I will have that same regret if I don't take a proactive stance with my mother. Knowing me, I probably will.

So I stand, facing the start of another cycle. I want to believe it will be better this time. I want to try to make it better this time. That's not crazy, is it?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Legacy, Part I

While I make a concerted effort to be frugal on most accounts, I must confess that I am a makeup and skincare snob. My maternal grandmother bestowed, or cursed, me with this trait. I remember playing with her Estee Lauder and Lancome as a young child and experimenting with Prescriptives and Clinique as a middle-schooler. As the only child of her only child, she spoiled me every chance she could. Most women would freak to find a kid coating her face with $45 dollar foundation, but not her. She showed me how to do it properly. As I entered high school, she would admonish me for not wearing lipstick. I tried to meet her in the middle with lip gloss, but for her, it just wasn't the same.

Though she has passed on, I like to think she would be proud of my makeup collection over the years. In college and law school, my roommates and I would hit up the fall and spring Free Gift with Purchase promotions at the department store counters. Through those pursuits, I gathered quite the collection of lipstick, small tubes of mascara, and blushes that didn't quite match my skin tone. Getting gussied up with friends before going out, or staying in for pizza and videos, provide me with many fond memories. Such thoughts are not from the act of putting on makeup, but the camaraderie and friendship of the company.

As I began work, I found that while I still enjoyed putting on makeup, the frequent early mornings shifted my priorities from achieving a flawless face to an extra 15 minutes of sleep. That trend continues today. Most weekdays find me with mascara on, at most. The weekends are another matter, however. I take extra care to fulfill my cosmetic wishes on those long, leisurely mornings.

While most days find me bare-faced and un-lipsticked, I would like to think my grandmother would be pleased anyway. She found pleasure in hard work even more than in cosmetics.
I miss you, Grandma.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bunning v. Sanity

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky), is an embarrassment to our state, the electoral system, and, most importantly, to himself. While I have never agreed with his politics, his misbehavior within the past couple of days is astonishing. Flipping off the press? Really? We can expect such rude behavior from middle-schoolers or hood-rats, but from a United States Senator? For shame.