Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Vulnerability

So, I've never been one of the popular kids in school. In my German high school I was one of the less liked people with only one actual real friend. I remember trying to fit in with the cool kids. And they would have me long enough to extract information from me, that they could later use against me. 
Then I became an exchange student. I went to the US, and I realized that the gap between cool kids and us regular folk is even bigger. The cool kids were the football players and cheerleaders, and my high school had a great drama department, so actors were also wildly popular. Once again, I ended up hanging out with the oddballs of the school. One of my friends was a guy named Jorma. He had hair to his butt and drew comic book creatures in his notebooks. He lived with his uncle and had the weirdest stories to share. The other people I hung out with were mostly other exchange students, those, who like me just couldn't make it into the cliques of cool kids.

Over the years, I tried to make friends. Heck, making friends seems to be the story of my life. They can write it on my tomb stone someday. RIP after a lifetime of "trying" to make friends. To be fair, I did make some really wonderful friends. I have three friends today, whom I consider to be the most beautiful people, and I really hope we will be friends for life. I would do anything for these women. 

But I have also lost a lot of friends. And here's the weird thing... most of them just kind of left. They're not gone. They are just not interested in being my friends. And I find that I'm hurt by this. I'm connected to some of them on Facebook. Recently I saw pictures of such a friend with another friend who also just kind of left. The two just totally hit it off. They have become close friends. And neither has an interest in being my friend. No reason. No fights, arguments, or bad feelings... none that I'm aware of anyway. They just don't want to be with me. Maybe the internet, maybe the transparency of it all make it that much more obvious. Maybe, if it wasn't for Facebook, I wouldn't know and wouldn't care. But as it is, I'm just hurt, because at least one of them I really liked, and I still do actually.

A few years ago, I had a friend. She and I met through a MOMS Club activity. We were the only two people showing up for it. We sat for hours and talked. And soon she became the person I talked to about everything. Our families clicked. We had a really good thing going. Then the end of the school year approached. I had a few busy weeks, and we talked a bit less. One day she told me that she was done with me. She no longer wanted my friendship. And she NEVER offered an explanation why. As much as I tried to understand, and I even went to her house for a conversation to clear the air, I had already lost her. No explanation offered... ever. I'm still sad about that to this day.

As far as the cool people go, they still exist in my world. How silly is that? I'm almost 40! Shouldn't I be done with this? I was told by someone that I was imagining things. It was one of the "cool kids" who said this. I honestly don't think she knows that she is part of the cool kids group. Maybe you just don't know when you're in? Let me tell you, though... you do know when you're out. Once again, you learn about it on Facebook. You hear about gatherings, that you were not invited for. You see pictures, you hear conversations. No, I still have not made it into the cool kids group, and I'm sad that I'm still trying. I could just let it go. To hell with cool kids. I don't need to be a cool kid. If only there wasn't this nagging feeling, that I'm missing out. 

And you know what, it's happening to my children, too. Neither of them belong with the cool kids. One of them has been trying for well over a year. It's not that her "friends" aren't nice to her, but she is not part of that oh so cool clique, and I have seen many bitter tears. Good grief, my kids are homeschooled, partly because I was hoping to avoid just that. How is it, that I now have to watch this with an achy heart? And yes, in her case Facebook and Instagram were also the places where she found out. Big gatherings of kids. All of her friends together... without her. Yes, this hurts. 
My youngest tried just twice. Each time he was tossed aside just like that. Both times the kids acted in the most rude ways you can imagine. He has not tried since. He has his online friends, and he has his best friend... He's satisfied with that. Breaks my heart, that among homeschoolers the same shit is happening as in any old school. I had no expected that. 

Recently, I reached out to a family to get our two families together. I did this mostly for my husband, because he likes the dad. My daughter and one of their daughters have never really clicked, but countless months after their last pissy argument it seemed to me like all was well. My daughter has only spoken kindly of the other girl. The mom took a long time to get back to me about getting the families together and suggested to only get us parents together, so as not to disrespect her daughter's feelings towards mine. I was in shock, I will admit. Wow, she must really hate my child a lot, if she cannot handle a dinner at our house. 
Well, no use to force her. I wouldn't want to be forced to hang out with people I don't like. But then, I am known to repair and repair and repair. I always try to better myself, and I am always (ALWAYS) willing to start over. Okay, so that's not true. There is someone in my life that I am no longer willing to start over with. But, I can still be friendly. A get together in a large group will not be a reason for me not to go for fear of meeting this person. 
I guess, what my real worry is, is that this girl is, you guessed it, part of the cool kids group. And with her strong dislike towards my daughter, what might be the consequences? I don't know. Maybe I'm overthinking this whole thing. 

Yes, this whole friendship thing has left me deeply vulnerable. I worry about people not wanting to be my friends. I think that something is wrong with me, if I am so very unlikable. I sometimes wish I was more like a guy. If he makes a friend, great... if not, oh well. Nothing to it. Clearly the other person's loss. I wish, I could say this, too. But then something happens... like a new person will enter my community. Someone I really like, someone I think they could become my friend. And the weeks and months go by, and my efforts kind of just go unnoticed... meetings for tea or coffee keep getting cancelled. And after a while, I see these new people together with other people... the very same people I had hoped to be friends with years before and never managed to do it. And they tell me that they are great buddies now, and they work out together, and they tell each other stuff... and they have little inside jokes only they understand. Yes, I have an achy heart because of this. Not that anyone will ever know... because I also own a mask with a smile. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

I ain't no J.K. Rowling...

The last crushing two star review on Amazon has confirmed that I'm not much more than a wannabe... the writer who would like to be an author, but who really is just one of many in this crazy writing business. Add to that my self-publishing, and you know it's practically a recipe for disaster. Okay, yes, there are those few and far in-between cases, those who put out one ebook after another and make millions. I admire and envy those people, because I do passionately love to write, and I would like to be them. I still write... and I even make some money doing it. Of course it's all non-fiction, and I'm not selling books, just articles. This is also a reality of the writing business. Non-fiction, if done right, will sell much better than fiction. But us writers, we all want to sell our fiction, that we feel so passionately about.

I have 24 reviews on Amazon. The majority of them are actually pretty good, and no, they're not all from well meaning friends but also from complete strangers. And so, starting tonight, I'm going to offer my book for free again. For 5 days. If you feel so inclined, go check it out RIGHT HERE! And if you love it, then please consider leaving a positive review. If you don't like, leave a negative review... but please remember to be kind about it. Even negative reviews can be put into friendly words. I am all about friendly words.

And finally, because I do love to write, and I also think that I'm not all bad, I'll be posting short stories here on my blog. These are stories I wrote in the past and stories that I'll be writing in the future. This is mainly for my own entertainment, but also for those of you out there who like to read but just don't have the time to sit down and read a whole book.

I'll start with a story, that was supposed to turn into a book. It's only the introduction, so if you don't want to be left hanging, don't read it, because it WILL leave you hanging! :) Enjoy your read... and if you like it, come back for more soon.

I'm sure I don't have to tell you, that all of these stories are my property. Please don't copy and share them as your own. Thank you!


"I noticed him right away. I stood at the light of Broadway and Taylor, surrounded by strangers, their heads lowered to stare at the screens of their handheld devices. One man was reading the newspaper. The summer sun glistened from a bright, blue sky, and I pulled out my sunglasses. As I gazed at the light, there he was... walking toward the light right across the street. He had probably just left the hotel, as he liked to stay at this particular place when he came to town. It was the hotel where we had made love for the very first time, and in the past two years, I'd felt a pang in my stomach and my heart would skip a beat every time I passed the hotel on my way to a meeting.

I watched him walk. Tall and handsome he turned the heads of a couple of middle aged women, who then turned to each other and whispered something. He didn't notice. He stopped and turned my direction. Even from across the street I could make out his nicely defined chest under the blue button down shirt, that was neatly tucked into his pants. He checked his watch, then looked up at the light, waiting for it to switch to WALK. A slight shiver ran down my spine, despite the blazing hot temperatures, as memories flooded my brain. Memories of an affair that was long gone, but that had been so much more than an “extra-marital” affair. It had started so innocently, then turned into a love affair, into true love, and then it ended one day, because we had to make decisions we didn't want to make, but that were right for the young people in our lives... our children. He had changed my life forever, and I had missed him every single day since our last kiss good-bye. And now, there he stood, only a few feet away from me, and it was only a matter of a few seconds until he would notice me.

My heart raced, and I couldn't swallow as I focused on his eyes.
He looked across the street, and when his eyes met mine, he tensed up. Knowing that I made him react so visibly to my presence, hurt me to my very core. I fully expected him to change his mind about crossing the street, to walk away quickly, so as to escape me and the memories I would bring back into his life. But when the light turned, he slowly set one foot, then another onto the road. I did not move. My legs felt heavy, and with each step he took towards me, I was certain I would pass out. He made his way across the street, as if in slow motion. The light started counting down 10 seconds before it would jump back to red. At two seconds he stopped right in front of me, less than two feet away from my face. He removed his sunglasses and revealed his eyes, the very same eyes, that had melted my heart. He stared at my face, as if to make sense of what he was experiencing. I failed terribly at a smile. He looked hurt, and I wanted to cry and take away all of his pain.
“Hi,” he said, his voice weak and insecure.
“Hi, Will.” I was breathless.
He tensed up again. Nobody had ever called him Will. His name was William. I'd bravely renamed him after our second get-together, when I told him, that William was the name of a British prince, not Will from Oregon. He'd smiled at me then. He didn't mind being Will for me. Today, he didn't smile. He stared at me intently. He wanted me to speak. And so I cleared my throat, and said, “It's been two years and... “ “Three days,” he finished my sentence.
“Oh honey,” I croaked, fighting back tears. I flung my arms around him, buried my face in the small of his neck and inhaled. There it was, his scent, Calvin Klein's Obsession, that I had renamed “Will Scent”.

Memories threatened to overwhelm me and I felt dizzy all of a sudden. That's when I felt his arms, tightly wrapped around my waist. Two years of silence were wiped away. Here we were, in downtown Portland, standing in an embrace, two people melting together, turning into one. Not a hair would have fit between our bodies. And though not expected, this reunion made very much sense at this time in our lives. We just didn't know it yet."

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I wish you enough...


I found something on Facebook today that moved me deeply. As I find myself at a crossroads in life, I find this little "poem" very fitting.


"I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.

I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye."

Friday, November 23, 2012

BFE... Best Friend Ever

I used to be jealous of people who had the same best friends since childhood. I figured that there is nothing better than to have a friend for a lifetime... someone who knows you so well, that they just instinctively know what's going on with you. Surely, it would take many years of "practice" to know someone that well. Having moved away from Germany almost 13 years ago, I figured this would just not happen for me. I do have a very dear friend over there (in Germany), whom I still am in touch with. And even after years of not seeing each other, when we do meet, we just go right back to where we left off. But, she lives at the other end of the world. How close can you be when you're that far away?

And then I met her... and she walked into my life quite shyly. And I had no way of knowing then that she would become my very best friend. And yet she did. She's that one person who's always there, who always listens, who always cares, who never blames or judges. I am one lucky woman to have found her. Who cares that we haven't known each other since childhood. I can't imagine my life without her in it.

Thank you, B, for everything. I love you, girl.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The girl without nationality

It has been almost 13 years since I made the decision to leave my home and family, and to follow my Ameican husband to the United States. I used to be an exchange student in this country a long time ago, and the USA to me, as to so many others was the promised land... the land of opportunity. I never did immigrate because of that, though. I came here, because I was in love and wanted to get married.

Just after 9/11, when people recovered from the shock of being attacked, of having lost so many lives, I thought there really was no better place to live than here. Proud Americans would not be intimidated by terrorists. They would stand together, united, and I was so happy to be part of it. I was able to heal much quicker than I think I could have in Germany.

The years passed, and my initial euphoria about living in America wore off. A crack appeared in the clean surface that was the greatest nation in the world. The very same people who stood united had to vote for a new president, and suddenly the USA was no longer united... but very much divided. Republicans against Democrats... people spewing words of hatred towards others. Religious intolerance, hatred towards minorities, pro-life, pro-death, pro... anti...

My entire life in Germany I have not felt discriminated against because of my atheism. Now I belong to the least liked minority in the country. Internalize this, no matter who you are... The least liked minority because of your lack of belief in a supreme being.

The most recent data shows that atheists are more distrusted and despised than any other minority and that an atheist is the least likely person that Americans would vote for in a presidential election. (http://atheism.about.com/od/atheistbigotryprejudice/a/AtheitsHated.htm)

Distrusted... despised... by people who don't know me, my values, my life. I'm flabbergasted and sad. Sure, I could just not care. And in my every day life I am not affected by it. But do you have any idea what it feels like when you mention to someone that you're an atheist, and their facial features derail, and they make excuses for why they "really have to go now"?

Back to what I'm trying to say though. In almost 13 years I had no choice but to wake up and learn and understand, that the United States of America are NOT the land of opportunity. This is not the greatest nation on Earth. The infrastructure is failing on a number of levels, as our "report card" confirms. Broken streets, ancient bridges, outdated power lines (still above ground!) on rotting poles that collapse during a moderate storm.The list goes on and on and on.

Wars. America loves wars. Something I will never understand. What is it with Americans having to have their hands in every conflict overseas?

So, why don't I just go back to Germany, is what you're going to say now, yes?
You know, I'll be honest, the thought sounds appealing. But, and here's my problem, I may not feel like an American, but I also don't feel like a German.

When I go to German meetings here in Portland, I am always the oddball. I struggle speaking in my native tongue, because I haven't heard it in so long. I sound funny when I speak, I'm told. I'm the one who failed at raising my children bilingually. This is just not an option for Germans. Period!
I'm the homeschooler. Not an option for Germans. It's illegal over there, and the majority of Germans who live in the States, look down on us homeschoolers. I was told by one very friendly guy that homeschooling was bullshit.

I love going to Germany on vacations. I get to go for walks in the local vineyards, I get to wander the little narrow streets in our small town, and I get to eat delicious German food. I absolutely love spending time with my family... my parents, my brother and his family. And I miss them more with every year that I am away. But I feel like the American when I talk to people. And they show me with their words and actions. I don't belong there.

Plus, I love coming home to Oregon. When I arrive at the airport and present my greencard, the guy (or girl) always welcomes me home. I like that feeling. I have an amazing circle of friends. I am surrounding myself with people who are loving and caring, who share most of the same values, and who won't judge me when there IS a difference in opinion or way of life. I live in a beautiful neighborhood with lots of very friendly people. My kids take classes in a community filled with awesome people. Religious and non-religious homeschoolers come to this center, and never once have I been judged for my atheism.

And so, I find myself a little stuck in the middle... not quite American, but not quite German either. It's a fine life. It doesn't affect my happiness... most of the time. This year I was going to apply for my citizenship. I'm going to wait with that for a little longer. I don't feel ready. Sure, I can be a dual citizen... but should I be?

Monday, September 3, 2012

PLANNED is now available for 99 cents on Kindle

I'm excited to offer my book for 99 cents! This price is firm and will not change!

Purchase Now!

Here are some reviews! :)

I didn't want it to end. I wanted more at the end. This book was fantastic. This author had me laughing so many times with the truth about women, men, pregnancy! LOVED IT!!!! I actually want a sequel!

Great read for someone who likes to get lost in a fairytale. It flows nicely allows you to put yourself in the characters shoes. 

This is a relaxing, yet intriguing read that I couldn't put down. I found myself completely relating to the main character as she struggled with what she wanted out of her life and how her wants and dreams lined up with society expectations. I loved to watch her evolve and find happiness. Days after I finished the book, I found myself still thinking about the decisions she made and what her life would look like following the book.

Thank you for your support! And if you like the book, a positive review would be much appreciated!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

When Facebook runs your life...

It occurred to me yesterday, that I had a problem. A Facebook problem. Sneaky little Facebook. Years ago, I was reluctant to join. Facebook was for others, not for me. I wasn't going to write status updates about myself in the third person. Really, who does that anyway... you know, besides 2 year olds telling their parents, "Felix wanna go play."

Well, needless to say, I did in fact, join the club of Facebook fanatics, and soon enough I found it quite entertaining to describe my life to others as if I wasn't even part of it. And, somehow, in a weird and twisted way, I found joy in following others, who shared all kinds of useless information with me and the rest of the world. I felt like I was part of a huge "room" filled with people who were doing smalltalk about stuff we all usually have no interest in. I found myself sharing every witty thing my kids said, engaged in discussions over kitchen utensils, politics, religion... And yes, I am entirely guilty of trying to come across as especially interesting, good looking, and intelligent.

Over the years I added and dropped approximately 1,000 or more people. I eventually stopped talking about myself in the third person, because Facebook changed their look. I became enraged about Facebook's terrible privacy policy, was upset about the fact, that each picture I uploaded automatically became Facebook's property, but I did nothing to change it. I still felt the urge to share everything about myself with my many awesome Facebook friends.

Until one day... when I was approached by an acquaintance, who is connected to me on Facebook. She asked me about an issue I had posted about on there, and wanted to know how my "story ended". I was caught off-guard. This, I did not expect, and I most certainly did not want this woman to know, how my story ended, and what I proceeded to do as a result of this and that. And yet, I felt like I needed to tell her... because once you start a story, you have to finish it, too.

I began to post very little personal information. I rarely did 'check ins' at certain places. I shared pictures, messages I thought were important, blog posts I wrote, and yes, some personal stuff, but no longer things I would feel uncomfortable about if confronted in real life. I still tried to be witty, funny, interesting... Because we all do want to impress others, don't we?

Fact is, I became so addicted to Facebook, that I'd check my Newsfeed at a red light in traffic, right after getting up in the morning, right before going to sleep, and countless times in between. Whenever something funny was said, I thought, "I have to post this on Facebook". When I wanted information, "Let's ask our friends on Facebook". While waiting in line at the post office, "why don't I check what's going on on Facebook."

Lately, I've noticed a new behavior about myself, that I did not appreciate at all. I started leaving snarky comments. I started to sound bitter. I became judgmental of people, because they did things "all wrong". I had some pretty nasty discussions, and I was blocked by someone as a result of one of those discussions. This is not to say, that the person who blocked me doesn't get it all wrong. I still think "they" do. But who am I to be the judge of this? Who am I to even care? We don't even know each other all that well. What was I doing???

And so, I finally came to the conclusion, that I have to put an end to it, to return to the real world. Yes, blogging is super fun, and I will continue to do so. And I will not quit Facebook. After all, I actually have a job now, that requires Facebook time. Also, my mom, daughter, and brother are on there. But I am going to be done sharing all that much, and reading all that much. As a matter of fact, today is going to be my first full day without Facebook in a long while. I got a lot accomplished this morning, thanks to much less screen time.

Did you know, that there is now officially a mental disorder associated with social media? Well, I am not going to be one of the "sufferers".