Entitlement

Published April 26, 2015 by Maryanne

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I’m HAPPY!

(Deal with it!)

One of my biggest complaints in life, as those who follow my blog know, is when people begrudge others for being happy.

It’s just not fair when you’re doing what you want, in life, and others have steam coming out of their noses because of it. Oh yeah, that green-eyed monster rears its ugly head.

We all know our strengths and weaknesses and my biggest strength is that I’m a good person and a great friend. Morrissey has a song called “We Hate it When Our Friends Become Successful.” Not me! I’ll be the one who cheers you on! Do you have great news? Give me a call! I’ll support you.

I’ve had people call to tell me they knew I’d be happy for them when their own family (or spouse) wouldn’t get it. People just can’t wait to share their good news with me, because I am genuine in being happy right along with them.

So, why is it wrong that I’m doing what I want?

Can’t you be happy for me too?

Sound familiar? It did to my husband when he was listening to the lyrics of “Entitlement” by Jack White.

My husband said, “You have to listen to this! Jack White wrote a song that you could have written! You can write a blog about this!”

I listened to it … and, yeah, sad but true, that’s how neglected I sometimes feel when it comes to other people. I’m so tired of people who are competitive and always trying to “one-up” me. I’m so tired of being quiet and downplaying my accomplishments around certain people because their jealousy is so apparent.

If you can’t be happy for me, like I am for YOU, you best believe I’ll be avoiding you as much as possible.

There is no shame in the fact that I’m happily married, that I love my work and never want to retire, that I live each day to the fullest, and that at 51, I am still confident, attractive and in shape.

I got all I ever wanted. And I am entitled.

The other half of it, is how many people feel “entitled” in a negative sense. Those who feel the world owes them something. Kids who want jobs, but don’t want to work … spending all the company’s time while they are on cell phones, texting.

A few days ago, I wrote about parents coddling their children as if they could do no wrong. These kids grow up believing they are always right and have hissy fits when they are corrected. I know, because as far back as seven years ago, when I was still in the work force, editors didn’t dare tell the young-uns who just got out of college their mistakes. They couldn’t handle the critique like the more seasoned writers could. You had to walk on eggshells. And this is the direction the world is heading towards: bowing down to the entitled.

Jack White’s song, clarified that.

Even in his superstar status — where he sits — he sees this new family way that we, as civilians, are enduring day-by-day.

It’s the way of the world, how some parents are giving the “tools of life” to their kids by entitlement — and not hard work.

Alcoholism … Face Book … Same Difference

Published April 24, 2015 by Maryanne

facebookstatus

Did you ever go to a party where everyone else was drinking except you? Maybe you were on a fast/diet, or maybe the designated driver … or maybe, you just don’t drink — period.

Well, it just dawned on me, it’s the same experience when everyone else is on Face Book, except you. The party just doesn’t make sense.

A few dear friends have told me, “I miss you on Face Book!” and in an endearing way, I have to admit I rolled my eyes. Why not just say, “I miss you” and leave it at that. I get it, I’m a positive person and people have always told me: “You have the best posts on Face Book!” But isn’t it even better to have a real life conversation with me, then?

Two nights ago, we received a phone call from a friend who sounded disappointed that we didn’t go to an event their child performed at.

“I thought you’d see it on Face Book?”

“I haven’t been on Face Book in several months.” And even if I was, I don’t have time to read everything! I tried to be a good friend. I tried to read everything. But then I noticed people weren’t reading “everything” I was posting either. That’s probably the only thing Face Book and real life have in common — blink and you miss something. And it’s not the end of the world. You really didn’t miss anything.

What’s really bizarre about Face Book is that once you get off, you have to deal with all the weirdness. People, right away, think, something “happened.” Yeah, something did happen — I decided not to waste my time anymore. That’s what “happened.”

Another weird Face Book thing occurred not too long ago, and I can’t say I didn’t see it coming — it was my worst Face Book nightmare come true. And I predicted it would happen, which is why I didn’t want to be on Face Book in the first place. A friend died. And it wasn’t until several months later that I found out. I was sad and upset that I missed the funeral.

“I thought you knew,” is what I was told.

Of course I didn’t know. I wasn’t on Face Book.

But even if I was … why does everyone ASSUME that every person sees everything that is posted? As much as I love my friends and mankind, it irks me to no end what a “me-me-me” world we’ve become and how Face Book intensifies it.

Can I beg anyone reading — if someone dies, please go the old fashioned route and CALL! Or even better, go to the person’s home, to make sure they are sitting down and comfortable when you share  the shocking news! Please, cruel world, can we go back to being humane?

While I was on Face Book, I took an extra hour each morning to read what my friends were up to. If I didn’t hear from someone too often, I un-friended them so I could pay more attention to those who were more in contact with me. I called that “maintenance.”

But, unfriending someone on Face Book is like taking car keys away from a drunk. I’ve had curses thrown at me, so bad they were like death threats! Oh, and those 15-inch Face Book messages when people list all your “faults.” Well, if I have that many “faults” — you should be glad I unfriended you, right?

People are just so silly. You could go a whole year without conversing with someone on Face Book, but once you “unfriend” them, the party invites stop. So do the phone calls, the luncheons and the emails. My husband — who is not on Face Book — pitied these people and said, “Unfriending someone on Face Book is like burning their house down!”

Yeah, exactly.

And don’t even get me started with business. Begin doing business with someone on Face Book and you’ll never get a phone call or regular email again. Everything is conducted via Face Book messages. Then if you need to find a phone number or address, it takes forever trying to find it. Face Book doesn’t make your business life easier by any means. So don’t buy it if someone tells you it’s for “business.” That’s just a “cover-up.” It’s like when an alcoholic keeps vodka in the cupboard “for house guests.”

I’ve gotten more work via my website and WordPress. Not to mention respect, as it seems people who prefer WordPress, Twitter and/or Linked-In behave more professionally by being supportive without going “tit-for-tat.” And I’ve never gotten a death threat for unfollowing someone on WordPress, Twitter, Good Reads, or Linked In. (Plus, it’s so cool I’m at a point in my career, that excessive marketing/promotion just isn’t necessary anymore!)

Just like going too far with your alcohol intake, going too far with Face Book is similar. Nothing good ever comes out of it. I tried to fit in by consuming, but it just wasn’t for me. Just like the old drunken cliche — I never woke up the next morning and said, “Gee, I wish I spent more time on Face Book last night.”

Years ago, when I consumed alcohol more than I should have, someone told me that there are more people in the world that don’t drink than people that do drink. I just couldn’t grasp that concept. How could people not drink? It’s the same way with people on Face Book. It’s their lifeline. When all people know is Face Book, they can’t believe others don’t want to partake.

Quite honestly, I’m sick of dealing with “drunks.” Face Book is not conducive to good business or good friendships. And by not being on there, I’ve weeded a lot of bullshit out of my life.

“Senior” Prom

Published April 23, 2015 by Maryanne

seniors in love

 

Today I presented “Senior Prom” at NJ Eastern Star Home (http://www.njeasternstarhome.com/).

“Senior Prom” is a program I developed to share with seniors the positive benefits of companionship, whether it’s a spouse, friend or family member. And how love/friendship ties in with other ways to take care of yourself including eating healthy, exercising, positive thinking and not smoking.

I had a wonderful time at NJ Eastern Star Home. It’s always extra special when residents tell you, “I love you.” I look forward to going back!

“Senior Prom” is a one-hour presentation available for libraries, assisted living facilities, senior centers, etc. For pricing and availability, please contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

For other programs, please visit my website: https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/

 

I Drove Over the Pulaski Skyway by Myself!

Published April 23, 2015 by Maryanne

Pulaski Weird NJThe Pulaski Skyway (photo swiped from Weird NJ.com)

I guess driving over the Pulaski Skyway is no big deal to those who do it everyday. And I thought to myself, Am I a big baby sharing that my hands were sweating so bad that my steering wheel was drenched with my sweat as I prayed aloud, Dear God, get me home in one piece!? And that just reliving the memory is making my hands tremble?

Not according to this article I found, where the headline says “Nerves of Steel Needed: Take a Ride on the Pulaski Skyway” (and also offers a very in-depth history of the amazing skyway) http://fierceandnerdy.com/nerves-of-steel-needed-take-a-ride-on-the-pulaski-skyway-kicking-back-with-jersey-joe

Two years ago when I began speaking publicly, I only booked myself in towns I was familiar with — which meant driving wouldn’t be a big deal. For the most part, I do enjoy driving, but in New Jersey, it can be complicated. In some areas you have to switch lanes quickly to get off an exit, which can be either on the left or right of the highway. And with many drivers going at least 20 miles over speed limit, it’s nerve wrecking to say the least. Not to mention that in certain areas (like those white bread and butter soccer mom driving SUV areas) people ride your ass (tailgate) because they are in such a hurry to get nowhere.

But when you pick and chose in life, you limit yourself and miss out on great experiences. Three years ago a client sent me to Chicago for a marketing seminar. I went kicking and screaming. Happily married, I never spent a night away from my husband. And I’ve flown alone many times, but this particular trip was trying — to say the least. Both ways I was stuck in an airport for many hours due to flight delays. And the turbulence was horrifying. I was holding on to my stuffed kitty for dear life. I wished I had my real kitty with me! However, once I was in Chicago, I had a fabulous time, learned a few marketing tricks, made some great connections and enjoyed myself in a five-star hotel that had the best eggs I had in my life (and the best service!)

For many years, when I worked as a journalist and freelance proofreader I commuted to New York City. It was nothing, traveling back and forth on the train and walking in areas that weren’t particularly safe. I was fearless. I always heard stories from co-workers getting mugged, but it never changed my mind about where I loved to work and play. And, God, I was so lucky that nothing bad ever happened to me (though I was robbed, twice, when people broke into a friend’s car, twice, and stole my belongings).

I was also fearless the time I jumped off a 100-foot bridge into a body of water. It felt like I was flying. Then I hit the water — smack — it took me under so deep I wondered if I was ever going to come up for air again. And then, once I got to the top, finally, I had to fight a current to get back onshore.

All of this may seem like nothing compared to those who are true daredevils like Evel Kenievel. Or, like I said earlier, people who ride the Pulaski Skyway regularly. But there are people who live in fear, afraid to go too far from their homes. These same people won’t take chances in their lives. There are also those who stick like glue to their cliques and comfort zones. They are afraid to associate with anyone who may challenge their intelligence. Being around someone different is a threat to them. I hate to sound belittling, as that’s not my point, but I do pity those people, as I pity myself when I notice I am slipping into the “fear zone.” It’s just not a productive place to be.

In order to grow as a person, no matter what age you are at, you have to take chances. I’m not saying throw all caution to the wind and do stupid things, but simply: try getting out of your comfort zone — you may like it! There’s no harm in trying new things that are second nature to most people.

I highly doubt I’ll drive over the Pulaski Skyway by myself again, but after doing that, driving in white bread and butter towns with SUVs riding my ass doesn’t seem so bad after all! And, hell, scared as I was, driving over the Pulaski Skyway wasn’t nearly as terrifying as the days I worked in an office full of gossipy, catty women with piercing screechy voices.

It’s all about perception.

People Are Still Reading

Published April 21, 2015 by Maryanne

writer's quote

The other day I was having an issue with Word Press. There’s some glitch, that when I link to my business page, it says, “Page Not Found” even though everything is A-OK on the Go Daddy side of it. Though not really a big deal because if people want to find me, they will find me. I don’t need to be on Face Book either. Yeah, I’m THAT good and have the confidence to say so.

And that is what I want to encourage writers about with this post — not to let others belittle you into thinking the past is the past. Because it’s not. If you’re good, people will always be reading what you wrote, even if it’s from several years ago.

So, getting back to Go Daddy. The support guy told me, “Don’t go crazy fixing all the links. People will only go back so far.”

Uh, no they won’t.

They will dig until their hearts content if they find your blog interesting enough. Why do I know this? Duh — the stats! According to my stats, people are reading blogs I wrote very far back. And why wouldn’t they? It’s GOOD stuff! And not all of it is “dated.”

Sometimes I’ll go through my old blogs and delete things that are dated. And once in a blue moon I’ll delete a vent, but most of the time I’ll keep a vent up because that is when I get the biggest compliments — when I vent. If it wasn’t for a vent, I wouldn’t be going to Cleveland this October to speak for NotMom. And I once had an editor that told me my best writing was when I was angry or disappointed.

But back to the old blogs … which brings me to old books.

Yesterday I was speaking to a friend about royalty checks. She said that they will fizzle out as the book gets old. On the contrary, it’s been over a year since my first book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” was published and I’m still selling and having people invite me on their radio shows and to their libraries to promote my book. Yes, even this late in the game. It’s exciting!

My point is … writing is an art that is timeless. It’s like music in a lot of ways. Sure you get that first wave of marketing going after you’re first published, and it seems like the whole world is reading and buying your product … but it’s not over ’til it’s over. And that may be never. Even after you’re long gone. Look at Mark Twain!

One of my former editors said, a few years ago, she was still getting royalty checks for a book she wrote in the 1990s!

A few years ago I found a blog so good, I read the whole four years in one night’s sitting. And not too long ago I found an online diary that was written in the 1970s but published in 2008. That was seven years ago, yet the diary was so fabulous, I immediately contacted the author and set up a lunch date with her! And I can’t wait!

So, keep writing and growing. But don’t ever feel your past is a thing of the past. Savor all you’ve ever written and embrace it. It’s your art, your work, your muse … and there will always be an interest.

Who knows, I just may be reading something you wrote, as you are reading this!

I’ll hit the send button and this post will be brandy new, but if someone finds this post a year, or several years later, give me a shout to let me know, my point is valid! :)

 

 

 

 

Make Art Out of Recyclables, Millburn Library, April 20, 2015

Published April 21, 2015 by Maryanne

fabric flowerFabric Art by Bridget Briant

Bridget Briant and I had a most wonderful time presenting our “Make Art Out of Recyclables” program at the Millburn Library. The children and their parents were awesome and we saw some true talent!

Thanks, so much, to librarians, Pat and Sue, for having us!

To have us at your school, library or children’s party, please contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com