The other day a beloved friend asked me a question I didn’t feel comfortable answering. But instead of saying so, I gave the best answer I could while on the spot. After much thought, I shared in an email how I felt, that it was a very personal question.
My friend was hurt and felt that she should be able to speak freely. While I was sympathetic towards her feelings, I needed to be protective of my own as well. I felt it was time in our friendship to set up guidelines about what is and isn’t appropriate to speak about. And I was entitled to that.
Certain things are personal and sacred, and should only be discussed with lifetime partners. If friends really love and support each other, they should also love and support each other’s comfort zones. In other words — know your audience.
Some friends may be very comfortable talking about money, estates, assets, gossip, politics, and/or their sexual exploits. Others may prefer talking about health, hobbies, music, animals/pets, philosophy, spirituality, work, and art. Put me in the category of the latter. While others may feel differently, the topics I favor are so much more fun, intellectual, and enlightening!
It may seem like I’m a “tell all” kinda gal because I’m a writer and am always expressing myself in front of my readership. As another friend once said, that I “put it all out there.” But she is wrong. I don’t. The more I tell, the more I keep secret. Lives are so grand and complicated that you can probably write 10,000 honest words about yourself per day without really revealing a damn thing. The brain goes a mile a minute. No one really knows what goes on inside another’s mind. Like a recent t-shirt I saw that said something like, “I may look like I’m listening to you, but in my head I’m listening to The Monkees.” Same thing goes with thoughts. I may be discussing the latest health craze, but in my head I’m thinking of my beautiful cat who died almost a year ago. So, get over it; you never truly know another person.
In my research for this particular piece, I found so many articles supporting true friends telling each other everything. And not one article about friends being entitled to some privacy. So I think it’s time to start a new trend. A trend that says friendships shouldn’t be considered any “less” if someone wants to keep a secret or not talk about certain things. A trend that says true friends should be comfortable to set boundaries without getting offended. A trend that says honesty is the ability to know each other well enough to “not go there.” Or at least make the effort to try.
How about it, eh?
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “Love Cats” available on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback versions: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Cats-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta/dp/1681020513
The 1990s; the last romantic era. We were beautiful but didn’t need Instagram or Facebook to prove it to anyone. We created poetry; a high form of art that people actually got back then. We interpreted lyrics our own way without the use of the internet. We hand-wrote each other letters. We laughed in person and on the telephone. We made our own clothes. We made each other tapes of songs we loved. And they would listen to them. We stood apart from the crowd. We had messy hair and that was a good thing. God bless the last romantic era. When we were really real.
Last night I was reading my old diaries from 1993. I was only 29-years-old and really loving my life. At that time I was living in a beautiful world people can’t even imagine today. Even as a very good-looking young woman, I had my dateless, lonely nights. The difference was, if you had the blues back then you could count on a phone call from at least five friends in one night! So being sad was not an option.
Today, other than my husband who I could always count on, I can’t imagine conversing with any of my friends without first making an appointment to speak with them. People are always so “busy.” Picking up the phone is no longer an option. So, I just cry instead.
The first of the year usually means new beginnings. As someone who is self-employed, this is usually the time when my business takes off. People always come to me for ghost writing, book editing, and public speaking engagements because they know they can count on me. There’s an old saying, “If you need something done, ask the busiest person you know because he/she will get it done for you.”
That said, I have to question everyone else’s version of “busy.” Because even when my version of “busy” gets so crazy, I’m glued to my desk for hours without getting up for a drink or to go to the bathroom, I ALWAYS sincerely answer an email from a friend who is in need.
This week started out as one of those busy weeks. Then one person cancelled an appointment — at the last minute. So not cool. And another just totally stood me up — no email, no phone call, no explanation.
I was heartbroken for being slighted. This is not the way I do business. This is not how I’d treat somebody. For all the technology we have in this day and age, this should not be. In this modern world, no one can be too busy to type three simple words in an email: “Can we reschedule?” And, I might add, at an appropriate time, not at the last minute unless someone very close to you died. Even so, I think back to when my father-in-law, who sometimes lived with us, passed away three months ago … I still was able to conduct business in a professional manner. And I still listened to problems from friends who needed a friend. Is it so much to ask the same in return?
It is not narcissistic to expect to be treated with respect. My time is just as important as anyone else’s. But here I am, crying my eyes out in the middle of the day, waiting patiently for my husband to get home so I can cry on his shoulder.
It is far from being “unprofessional” when you are disappointed by how so-called professionals treat you. There really needs to be a book on manners in this day and age. What happened to the Miss Manners column that ran in newspapers on a daily basis? Oh, I know, no one reads newspapers anymore.
No one does a lot of things anymore that they should. It’s a sad world we live in. A world without manners. A world without consideration. A world where people do whatever they please as long as it suits them.
And nothing can be done about it either. Just wait for the good karma you’ve been owed … so then things will turn around … and you’ll get everything you’ve ever deserved … because you already have a lot of it … Like a husband who truly adores and loves you. Because you were never “too busy” to find someone you adore and love.
So, hooray for demystifying the “too busy” myth! For those who are “too busy” will never seep the rewards that come from making time.
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an award-winning writer and a public speaker. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ah, 2017! Fresh as a baby animal!
For so many people, putting “Best” and “2016” together is definitely an oxymoron, and in my world it’s no different. Personally, it was a bad year with many losses and tears. It all began with the death of David Bowie (https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/rest-in-peace-to-the-prettiest-star-david-bowie/) Then my favorite cat of all time had to be put to sleep, at the age of 19 (https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2016/04/30/rest-in-peace-derick-mommys-little-heart-6-24-96-to-4-29-16/). And finally, we said good-bye to my beloved father-in-law who passed at the age of 94 a few months ago (http://obits.nj.com/obituaries/starledger/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=181972211).
It was just one of those years where the “hits” just kept on coming and there’s not enough hours in the day for me to write about all of them.
Since I really don’t like to focus on negativity, let’s just say, THANK GOD for music; it’s what makes the world go ’round, and a salvation to many. Like every other year, 2016 was no worse in the music department. There were so many live performances my husband and I attended this year, including a few of his own with Rob Fusari and Pharoah. And my “Learn + Listen” series which made the cover of the Caldwell News: http://www.mypaperonline.com/library-patrons-learn-and-listen-about-famous-musicians.html
Lucky me, I also was blessed to write about many performances for various publications.
Whether it was outdoor concerts, or indoor venues, there was not one bad show in the lot. It’s always so hard to pick a “favorite” but as every music fan knows, there are those songs and moments that keep popping into your head, days, even weeks, after the show is over. To any musician who is reading, whether you’re mentioned here or not, if I approached you after a show, I sincerely loved your act.
That said, in my humble opinion, I’d like to present what I felt was the best on my radar this year. ENJOY!
BEST SONG/VIDEO – ROB FUSARI “Let Love Down”
TOP THREE LIVE PERFORMANCES
1 – ROB FUSARI – The Bitter End, NYC, May 24, 2016
(“Your Trap” featuring Andrea Martin, Matt, Mario, Dennis, and The Constellations)
2 – SOUND + VISION: THE MUSIC OF DAVID BOWIE (Musical Direction: RICHARD BARONE) – Outpost in the Burbs, Montclair, NJ, Friday, Dec. 16, 2016
(“Fame” featuring Richard Barone, Jeffrey Gaines, Burnt Sugar Arkestra, Nick Celeste. In other outstanding performances: Wesley Stace and Elvis Perkins)
3 – PUNKY MEADOWS + FALLEN ANGEL BAND – B.B. Kings, NYC, June 14, 2016
(“The Tower” featuring Punky Meadows, Danny Anniello, Chandler Mogel,
“She Makes Me Laugh” from The Monkees “Good Times”
BEST VINYL – JACK WHITE “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”
How cool to hear this on a record player!
BEST MUSIC MOVIE – “LET ME DOWN HARD”
Starring Keith Roth, DJ 95.9 The Rat “Electric Ballroom,” performs with Frankenstein 3000 and David Johansen; songwriter for Punky Meadows and so much more!
BEST MUSIC BOOK – CARMINE APPICE “STICK IT!”
Honest; and in a strange way, endearing! Loved it!
And, again, because some things have to be said more than once, in my own little world, quite a few super cool things happened to ease the pain of the sadness, like going to see so much live music, being around amazing people, being able to write for a living — and public speaking (which includes music and health programs!) Not to mention, my incredible husband who is my rock through all the hardships and triumphs. All in all, there were two stand-outs that made this year incredible.
First I got a new kitty, Nicholas Gray; my husband and I adore our new snuggle bun! How can you not?
And, thanks to Ashley Valentin-Patino, I became a professional wedding officiant, and will be marrying many more people in 2017! Speaking of “bests” Ashley’s wedding to Mitchell was not only the best of 2016, but aside from my own, I’d say the best wedding of all time!
May 2017 will bring more love, music, and happiness to the world! Grim Reaper — be gone with you!
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta and Ashley Valentin-Patino
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist, available on Amazon in paperback only: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X
To contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, write her at: email@example.com
Authors, from left, Linda Holt, Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, Melanie Mitchell
It was my honor to sign copies of my two books, “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” and “Love Cats” at Randy Now’s Man Cave in Bordentown, NJ, yesterday (Sunday, Dec. 19, 2016).
In addition to rubbing elbows with other authors, Mary Muehleisen was also there representing her late brother, Maury Muehleisen who played guitar with Jim Croce, and died in a plane crash with Jim at the age of 24. She was selling two of Maury’s solo CDs (which are incredible, by the way! What a gorgeous voice he had, and a beautiful guitarist and songwriter).
Interesting story, a customer came in to buy a Jim Croce record for his girlfriend for Christmas. He did not know that Mary Muehleisen was going to be there. What a beautiful coincidence. The customer brought one of her brother’s CDs.
Mary Muehleisen and Maryanne Mistretta
It was such an honor to meet these wonderful ladies, as well as selling quite a few books!
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, Randy Now’s Mommy, and Randy Now!
Thanks so much to Randy Now for hosting such a wonderful, memorable event!
My books on sale in Randy Now’s Man Cave!
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta works as a professional journalist and public speaker. Her books are available on Amazon.
“On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X
For more information on Randy Now’s Man Cave, visit: http://www.mancavenj.com/
For more information on Maury Muehleisen visit: http://www.maurymuehleisen.com/main.html
For more information on Linda Holt, visit: http://www.religiousscholar.com/
For more information on Melanie Mitchell’s book, “Monkee Magic” visit: http://zilchmonkeescast.blogspot.com/