15Oct

What is Beauty? Is it Okay to Age?

We have allowed marketing companies and dress designers to define the beauty of women.  Every time we  wear high heels we are buying into this magical definition of what a woman should look like and what she should be.  Unfortunately, many women who are leaders, buy into this definition, however, they can afford to do so.  If you have the money to sculpt your face and your body, if you have the money to hire original designs by the best designers, you are doing so at the cost of everywoman.  You look fabulous with your balloon breasts and contoured waist, but you make everywoman who cannot afford perky breasts and a cool-sculpted stomach, feel bad.

Why do you do this?  As a famous woman, why do you allow the perpetuation of this mythical creature called the “perfect woman”?  Why do you buy into the definition of fashion houses (and, of course, men) that will tell you what is beautiful ~ and they really have no idea, except their own idea.

Out there in front, redefining beauty are women like Ashley Graham, who gives credibility to plus sizes.  She also strongly states that women need to be who they are.

What is beauty?

My husband always says that proof that men are running the world is on the feet of women who still wear high heels.  What would cause a woman to wear high heels?  Fashion dictatorship; that is what causes women to wear high heels.  Anthropologists will tell you that wearing high heels (which thrusts breasts forward) is a mating ritual of old societies.  However, in these old societies, women rid themselves of the high heels once a mate is identified.  No woman willingly wears such painful footwear because she wants to, she wears this footwear to compete and to gain male acceptance.

What is wrong with extra weight?  What is wrong with crepe paper skin? What is wrong with a wrinkly neck?  These are all natural evolutions of the human body.  It is only the marketing industry and Madison Avenue that wants us to believe that an aging body is unnatural and embarrassing.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The model form is unnatural.  Human beings that are “in the natural” do not look like the normal model looks.  Humans are a diverse group that come in all shapes, sizes and colors, all of which are normal and most of which are attractive.  We are all attractive when we are compared to ourselves.  It is when we compare ourselves to the television and fashion runways and magazine pictures that we become unattractive. 

This is not to say that beauty does not exist objectively, it is to say that we have become harsh taskmasters of the beauty of women.  Marketing America has carved out one look as THE LOOK and we take no discussion.  Any woman who does not have this look is a woman that must be manufactured into this woman.  For this manufacturing process, millions of dollars in beauty products are mass produced and sold.  Plastic surgery is a multi-billion dollar business that is thriving.  How and why?  So that all women can fit into this one size, a size that is deemed correct and attractive by others that are not we.

Why is the perfect-looking woman sexy?  Why isn’t the perfect woman a librarian or a scholar?  Why does the perfect woman need so many accoutrements?  Why does she need long eyelashes, hundreds of dollars in cosmetics and an endless supply of clothing that is form fitting and constantly revealing?

Women, we must take back our power and define our own beauty.  It is quite fine if we do NOT spend $26.00 on a pair of underwear.  We do not need cosmetics or Forever 21 to keep us looking beautiful.  It is quite fine to be 45 years old and 65 years old and 85 years old.   We are still beautiful and certainly, smart and exceptionally wise at these ages.

 

 

 

14Sep

Why Do We Blame Our Mothers for Everything?

I didn’t realize this myself until I was around 19 years old in one of those personal growth trainings where you discuss your true feelings for your parents.  I was angry with my mother and I couldn’t fathom why.  My father was this lazy genius who just would not get a paying job.  My mother worked two jobs constantly.  My parents had seven children and they needed every dime possible.  It was my dad’s lack of valuable employment that kept us poor.  If you have ever been poor in America, you know that it can be brutal, and it was.  People / Americans treat humans who are poor differently than the middle class or the wealthy.

I’ve noticed this with everybody and everything; we love our mothers, but our mothers are at fault for everything that is wrong with us.  I see people saying this and I know why.  We spend the majority of our young lives in our mother’s company.  When we run afoul because our personality is not quite right, it is our mother’s fault.  She is the one who teaches us about everything so of course, our lacks are due to our mother’s inadequacy.

I saw my father as somewhat fun, sometimes not.  But I never saw him as responsible, because he was irresponsible, he wasn’t to be held accountable.  While this makes sense to my childish brain, it doesn’t make sense in the adult world.  Those irresponsible like him, should be held accountable for the suffering he put his children through. 

When you compare the two people, the dynamic energetic woman who was my mother and the lounging and laid-back beer drinking man who was my father, you could see that you wouldn’t get any results with my father, so why try?  It was my mother who had to run things, she had to manage it all.  She took care of 7 children, went to work, came home and fixed food.  On her day off, we cleaned the entire house.

The part of this equation that is really frustrating is that we are so used to blaming our mothers, that even adults will blame their moms.  Popular society devalues the mother’s job and yet, as a country, we need mothers more than ever.  It is precisely because we have devalued this role for so long in this country that we are currently facing a dearth of human values. 

Mothers (and fathers) fall helplessly in love with their offspring, they will sacrifice and give away anything for the benefit of their children.  They spend hours teaching and talking to their child.  Over a lifetime it costs as much as half a million dollars to raise one child.  It is a total life investment, one that is incomparable to any other life project.

Our culture should be celebrating this kind of love, commitment and self sacrifice.  It is the derision of these values that has us disintegrating as a society.  Any society that worships selfishness and promulgates wealth for the few at the cost of the many is a society that will soon break.

So why do we blame our mothers for everything?  It’s not just my unusual parenting mix, it’s an entire society.  As far back as the sixties, a diagnosis of schizophrenia was thought to be caused by a certain type of mother who behaved in a certain type of way.

I think there are two causes: the win/lose belief system of our culture and our white male patriarchy.  The white male patriarchy simply wants supremacy and using the win/lose model, matriarchy must lose.  This singular way of thinking has gotten us into every war that humankind has suffered through.  This belief structure insidiously infiltrates everything we do in America.  Female professions are undervalued and underpaid.  Childcare is a ten dollar an hour job. It is no wonder we are at the point that we are in America.

What do we do?  We have all of the answers and we need to apply them.  We need an inclusive culture that values the matriarchy as well as the patriarchy.  We need a culture that reflects the value that we benefit our next generation.  We need a culture that will not sacrifice the many for the one, even if that one is Jeff Bezos.

Saying Goodbye

Saying Goodbye

03Sep

The American Myth of Success

In America, we teach that everything, at every point in our lives is a choice.  This translates to an idea that if you are facing hardship now, you must have made a bad choice then.  After all, the world is so perfect, only a bad person is not successful.  We reinforce this myth in a thousand different ways.  We place the athlete on TV and listen carefully while he describes a life of struggle until he made the choice to work hard and become a star athlete.  These stories always end with the familiar refrain “If I can do it, anybody can.”  Indeed, there is some truth to this saying, however, it is, in no way, a universal truth.

“You can do it, just do what I did.”  First, have you ever been subject to a parent’s or a friend’s helpful advice about you correcting yourself?  Perhaps you are over-weight and your friends are full of recommendations for you about how you can lose all of the weight.  They are disappointed that you don’t follow their plan and may even suggest that familiar refrain “I did it, why can’t you?”  Why do people believe that their own experience is the norm?  Why do people believe that if they have done something that is very hard and been successful that anyone can follow in their footsteps of success?  Not only is it a falsehood, but, it is egocentric to think that your personal experience is generally applicable to anyone and everyone.

“If you can’t do it, there is something wrong with you.”  The next concept worth examining is this idea that the American definition of success is easily identifiable and doable as a matter of what is normal.  Out of this concept comes the idea that if you do not follow, or you are not successful on the American path, there must be something wrong with you.  You are the fault in all such cases.  Everyone will remind you of this idea, by asking you “what happened?” and before you can put your story into words, the other is already launching into advice about what you could have done better (as if you have not really tried) and telling you stories about their own such success.  The most interesting part of this, is that it is fabrication and a myth. 

We do not always fail because of our own efforts (and this is important), secondly, often the one who gives advice is the one who needs it.  Who has not received advice from someone who has no business giving it?  I know someone who has never successfully looked for a job and actually gotten one in a timely manner, nor at the rate of pay that she felt was acceptable.  This person was often giving advice about getting a job because she had so much experience searching for a job.  Searching for a job is quite a different thing than actually getting a job.  Yet she felt that she should and could give valuable advice to other job seekers about attaining a job.

“Your shame keeps you from seeing that the system is rigged against you.”  Once you have failed in any way, you may see yourself as less than.  You believe that you are less than capable, less than acceptable.  You will blame yourself and in many cases blame others.  Because you believe the myth: the system is perfect and therefore a lack of success on your part must be either your own or someone else’s fault.  This is where it all breaks down.  The fact of the matter is that the American system is rigged against you, but your shame and anger keeps you from seeing and recognizing it.

From beginning to end, there is no limit to the manipulation and tricks that are placed in your path to keep you from earning and keeping enough money to have anything more than just enough cash to get by.

Coins

From birth, all financial truths in America are stacked against you, unless you are already wealthy ~ in that case such truths are stacked in your favor.

You are born in a hospital, that charges astronomical prices at its whim.  Your birth is paid by an insurance company that profits greatly for its shareholders rather than taking care of the sick.  There is no profit in caring for the sick, as a result, health insurance companies have become expert at NOT paying for health care.  Hopefully, you will not be sick, nor have any disabilities, because either of these can and will bankrupt your family.  Refer to the fact that hospitals are for profit and health insurance companies only answer to shareholders and you will understand why your family will be bankrupt if you are sick or disabled.

Next, you will need an education.  Since the government is riddled with bureaucracy and the educational system must pay a cadre of MBAs just to stay in business, you parents will be forced to purchase everything the child needs for school and more to supply the classroom.  If you want to earn more than minimum wage (below poverty level) after high school, you must go to college.  Good Luck, you will need lots of money and lots of information about how to attain that money and how to manage the loans.

While you are planning and doing, life is happening.  You got a speeding ticket, it cost you $583.00.  Your mother got sick, you had to fly home, purchasing tickets at the last minute $794.00 (for that price, no leg room and no luggage).  Your apartment complex had a flood and all of your books and electronics were destroyed, you had insurance, but it wasn’t good enough (recall that insurance is for profit).

So now you are 23 years old and you have a college degree and $66,000.00 in debt to pay off.  You’re not sure if you have made the right decision about school and you don’t understand why you’re still broke.

You can’t find a job and you are angry.  You need someone, something to be angry with.  You listen to the news, you watch TV and you decide that immigrants are to blame for lack of jobs in America.

And this is the breakdown.  You haven’t done anything wrong and you haven’t done anything bad.  You made the right decisions, but America didn’t keep it’s promise.  It’s not because of immigrants, it’s not because of any single politicized source.  Instead it is because of corporate greed and the fact that our political system has bowed down to the greed and has become an instrument for that greed.  There is no reason that our minimum wage has stagnated for almost 30 years, no reason at all, except that Walmart has made sure that politicians do not raise the minimum wage by paying them off with cash.  The cash that Walmart uses to pay off the politicians is cash that they steal from their own workers.  They do this by keeping them from earning a living and by keeping them from having any workplace benefits (such as healthcare).

If you need to blame someone, blame the system and then jump in and let’s do something about it.

 

12Aug

Being Disliked

So, the thing with being disliked is that we wish to dislike back.  And we think it does not matter and we can ignore being disliked and we can pretend that it does not matter in any way.  Yet it does.  All emotions and thoughts have a peculiar energy and that energy is part of the world that surrounds us.  While we pretend that “so & so” disliking me is irrelevant, the energy of that dislike permeates all of the interaction that we engage in with “so & so”.
Say YesOf course, we want to dislike in return.  We will list all of the faults of this person who dares to dislike us.  We will point out all that is wrong with this person, and certainly you may see that the judgment is impaired.  If “so & so” had good judgment, I would be liked by this person instead of disliked.

This dislike may remind you of your secret anguish of being unloved and unwanted.  Feeling these fears can bring much passion to your need to dislike this person who injures you with dislike.  It’s important to resist the need to strike out with your own dislike or passionate anger.

These energies of dislike being pushed in full force between the two of you are energy draining and character maiming.  There is no way to escape such negative energies without some form of damage attaching itself to you.  The hurt, the anger, the need to lash out, they all harm and hurt your psyche.  Even if you are one who can ignore such insults, you will find that the dislike hurts. 

There is only one way to manage such dislike and that is to love the person who dislikes you.  You must put away all that your brain tells you to do.  You must turn away thoughts of anguish, or revenge.  You must turn to this person and love this person and love harder, if your love stumbles.

You are giving to yourself and to the world when you do such a thing as loving in the face of such dislike.  You are allowing this person to claim their own feelings without judgment on your part.  You are owning the energy and by loving the energy, you convert it from hurt to healing.  You are taking what is wrong with the world and making it right.  This is what you do when you return love for hate.

You need not do anything or say anything.  You simply love.  You will see that your thoughts change, and you will see that the energy transforms.  This is the way to having goodness in your world.

 

 

29May

Anita Goes First, May 17th, 2018

I knew that Anita was not doing well, but I had no idea how close she was to dying.  I asked my son Travis to check in on her.  He said he was passing her apartment and would call me.  We had done this before, he stopped in to her apartment and I would facetime with Anita.  The last time Anita looked okay, but she asked Travis who I was? Ugh.

Anyway, this time Anita wasn’t home and was in the hospital.  Travis went up to her room, but passed her by, but then heard “Nephew, get in here!”.  He was shocked to see her.  Within minutes he was on the phone to me, telling me that I must come down to see her.  He was desperate, made arrangements for an Uber driver to pick me up and made arrangements to bring me home.  So I did it, I went down to the hospital.

Anita looked awful.  End stage liver disease is a brutal killer that shuts down the body’s natural cleaning defenses.  From a healthy large woman with stunning blonde hair, she had shrunk to a hundred pounds and her hair had darkened to auburn.  The skin of her body had turned a rusty red color, blotchy and uneven and everywhere I touched felt rough, except her face.  I came to her bedside to show her love, to hold her and to rub her skin and legs and arms.  She was still lucid and recognized me.  Travis called while I was with her, and as we were hanging up, I said “I love you.”  Behind me I heard from Anita “I wish I had that.”  I turned around and looked at Anita and it was one of those moments that burn into your memory like a brand burns into cow hide.  I asked her “what?” and her face crumpled.  Then, we are thankfully distracted.  Anita is in vast amounts of pain, it is consuming her.  Later, her temperature gets warm, but the nurses do not worry.  Soon, she is sedated and asleep, and so I travel home.

The other side (literally) is Anita’s identical twin Anna Lee.  Anna Lee was with Anita, almost always when I visited.  She cleaned Anita up, fed her and caught me up on all that was happening.  I know that Anna Lee’s grief is overwhelming.  I can see it in the way she stands and the way she moves.  We don’t speak of it.  The two who were born together, will not die together, they must say good-bye in their own time.  I’m not sure how Anna Lee will walk through this.  I am scared for her.  I know what grief does to us (my sisters and I) and it is harsh.

So now is the end of possibility.  We must surrender to the doneness of it. 

Anita was severely damaged in our childhoods.  We all were, some recover and some do not.  The positive thinkers want to say that those who create success after living through the hell of a childhood like that is proof that anyone can do it.  I will disagree, and wholeheartedly so.  A hellish, nightmarish childhood will follow you throughout your life.  No one ever recovers from that, it is just a matter of degree.  In my family all of the degrees are covered, from no recovery, to as much recovery as 35 years of therapy can give you.

The damage wrought by such a childhood is insidious and as already stated, lifelong.  The damage has no boundaries and seeks to cause additional damage.  The damage wreaks havoc on the next generation and from there, can extend beyond life~long.

For Anita, there was no recovery.  Addiction swallowed her whole by the time she was sixteen years old and it was that addiction that killed her.  She walked through life unhappy, hurt and angry.  Worse, she expressed her frustration over and over again to all of those around her and ended up pushing away those who loved her.  She was unhappy, and it ended that way.  

Dear Anita; I hold your loving spirit in my arms and with me always.  Your sisters loved you terribly, you could never change that, ever.

03May

My Sister is Dying

Playing, Sun N Fun

Playing, Sun N Fun

Keeping the sisterhood alive!

1999 Keeping the sisterhood alive!

1994, Before Momma died

1994, Before Momma died

Summer of 1982, Becky and I are both pregnant.

Summer of 1982, Becky and I are both pregnant.

Anita is always on the left, not sure why, but that is the way it is here.  She sits on the left in each photo.

Shannon's birthday, May of 1972, Location Sun N Fun

Shannon’s birthday, May of 1972, Location Sun N Fun

She is left handed, as am I.

I am filled with grief.  I cry on and off for several days now.

Because of the way she lived, I knew that she would go first and no more than second.  We have 7 siblings and in varying degrees, we all chose our deaths at very young ages.  For her it was alcoholism.  When she got hepatitis, I wasn’t surprised, her unwillingness to complete treatment did surprise me.  She was unrelenting in her addiction to alcohol.  For several years she added cocaine into the mix.

In her twenties she had violent relationships with violent men.  I often told my husband that she would cause me great sadness.

After mom died in 1996, I didn’t want to be around my sisters.  I felt betrayed by the insensitivity (of course, we were all that way).  Over the next fifteen years, after I left our hometown, I tried to stay away from them, particularly the twins, of which my dying sister is one.

I often thought that I could distance myself, that by being indifferent I could get away from being hurt by them.

I was oh so wrong.

I’ve never quite figured out love, or how it works.  I don’t understand why I instantly love someone and not so much with others.  I just don’t get it.  As much as I tried not to love this woman (my sister) I did not help myself.  I love her and I grieve for her now.

So I love these people, my sisters, whether I like it or not.  To add an extra layer of fear, she is my “little” sister.  How can that be so?  How can she precede me into the darkness, into the space of no more?

I will give her what I can in her dying days.  I will remind her that she is loved by others, whether she loves herself or not.  I will communicate my love and I will leave no doubt.  Oh my dying sister, you are leaving so soon, could we not have been different in that long ago time when we were all blondes?  I miss you now and I will miss you then.  Our love did not end, and now, I am happy that it did not.  I am glad that I love you and that you hurt me still.

14Apr

I Believe in Bastards

Now I Believe in Bastards

I used to believe that humans were inherently good.  Being cruel or mean, or being a liar and a thief was a matter of childhood construction.

The perfect little children were treated badly somewhere and then somehow (justly so) became angry and mean.

I never gave DNA much credit for behaviors, thinking and character.  I thought that the world crafted each child based on the environment of the child and the environment that parents live in.  I still believe that all of this is relevant information, but oh, was I wrong about DNA.

There is a cruelty gene, there is a selfish gene, just as there is a loving gene and a kindness gene.  Socialization forces us to behavior and that behavior hides our true self.  For some of us, that means that our loving character is quiet, for some of us that means our feral nature is crouching and waiting to lash out. 

I wish that I would have known this sooner.  I would not have tried so hard to have relationships with some people; I would not have tried so hard to help others.  I would have developed a discerning eye that could assist me with determining the difference between a cruel person and a good person lashing out because of pain.

This is another observation that I have noted with the selfish and mean that are among us.  They understand that they must justify their meanness from time to time.  They devise elaborate victim stories with sketchy details and even sketchier outcomes.  These victim stories are nothing more than tools to gain access to a good person’s psyche.  The cruel and mean are seldom suffering, rather they are planning ways for others to suffer.

It is a shame that so many people are selfish and mean.  It is a blessing that so many people are loving and kind. 

Which one are you.  No question, only statement.

20Jan

Death unto Life

If you have experienced the death of a loved one, you know what dying means.  We instinctually know that death is the end.  Nothing goes past death.  We can remember, we can believe in heaven and the afterlife.  However, for us, the living, death is the end, life is over.  You get no comfort from your loved one. ever. again.  Your loved one will never touch you, talk to you, smile at you or laugh with you.  It is a daunting reality.  No wonder that we indulge ourselves in denial.  No wonder that we walk around referring to our loved one as if the one is still here and alive.  We cannot, do not accept the absence of the one we love.

As the days and the years run forward, reality rolls on and you experience more and more the absence of your beloved.  You cannot deny the absence as years go by.  You cannot deny the ending of what was once a beloved life.  You must surrender to the ending.  You must surrender to the absence of your loved one.

So many try to pull the life forward, as if pretending the loved one still exists on earth will keep the loved one alive.  I don’t believe that sentimentality helps.  I saved many, many of my mother’s things after my mother died, only to relinquish bit by bit, painfully spreading out the separation.  My grief kept me from living in the present.  I lost myself in the grief.  I just did not want to let go of her.  I mistakenly believed that her things would transmit a piece of her heart to me.  It took a long time to separate her things from her.  It took a long time to know that she really was gone.

I do not wish to have done anything differently, the death of a loved one is ‘life interrupted’.  There is nothing you can do to change the reality of your grief.  

I just know today, that nothing could be different.  Not any amount of bargaining, denying or trying, could make my mother’s death different, nor could it have made my grief different.  My resistance did not change anything.  Hanging onto my mother’s things did not sooth my loss.  My loss was my loss.

Today is the eleventh anniversary of my children’s father dying suddenly of his one and only heart attack.  I hope that my children are not bargaining, denying and resisting the truth of today.  I hope that they can embrace the grief of the day and then walk away from the day.

 

07Dec

Respect Your Past

The PathBut it doesn’t define you.  A great psychologist once said that “if you don’t like your childhood, then re-invent it.”  It is part of you and yet, the emphasis is up to you.  You can give power to any part of your past that you want to.  Do you want to remember the embarrassment of your mother’s harsh words or do you want to remember what your mother gave to you?  Do you want to remember the teacher who treated you badly in grade school, or do you want to remember the pride you felt when you earned a B in Math?  All are true, but which will characterize you?

The more you tell yourself you have suffered, then the more you have suffered.  What you tell yourself becomes your truth.  In this brave new world, where we are scrambling to understand our higher and better selves, we are prone to an over emphasis on psycho-analysis.  Both psycho-analysis and behavior modification work when you want a change, but behavior modification skips over the emphasis of what went wrong to you in your past.  We have all suffered, some of it awful and traumatic, all of it traumatic, yet we cannot compare a sports injury to a rape, we cannot, one induces much more trauma than the other.

I don’t suggest that we have no need to work through our very own trauma, I suggest that we move through our traumas, not into our traumas.  That may take a long time.  We must be aware of the time that we spend there.  Is the time we are spending inside of our past traumas, damaging the life we have available now?  Are the past traumas causing belief structures that damage us, for example, does the rape victim say to herself “what’s wrong with me?  I don’t matter.”?   Does the child bullied live in fear for years?  If this is happening to you or to one that you love, how do you empathize and encourage, either your loved one or yourself?  How do you make it across the divide of great sadness to being ready to move on with this life?

The way to moving forward is not to be in the past, reliving it and psycho-analyzing it.  Work through the past, yes, yet use behavior modification at its best.  Decide to make things different for yourself and reward your different ~ every step of the way.

Give yourself the very best childhood that you can recall and then move proudly and confidently into the very best future that you can build.

13Aug

Envy

Quintana RooI remember vividly the two most prominent cases of envy that I have felt for another.  My envy always starts with me and what I feel I don’t have.  As a young woman (in my early twenties), I wanted very badly to go to college.   My family of origin didn’t have the funds (nor the inclination). By the time I met Brigitte, I had children and could not even consider a college education.

Brigitte was a cocktail waitress who worked with my mother.  She was tall and beautiful and had movie star hair.  Her hair was a deep brown, naturally curly and framed her face naturally and provocatively.  My mother marveled at Brigitte’s choices as Brigitte had traveled the world with her military parents, spoke a foreign language and had a college degree.  I saw and met Brigitte many times.  Once, on a cruise dinner party that I attended with my mother, Brigitte was present.  I was a bit lonely and it must have shown as Brigitte spent a lot of time befriending me.  She was sweet and loving and beautiful.

I met Brigitte’s boyfriend, who was a highway patrolman.  They seemed happy together.  Secretly, I nursed a grudge against Brigitte.  I thought that she was wasting her college education working as a cocktail waitress.  I felt that I should have been given her educational opportunities as I would have made use of them.  I felt that the world was unfair, giving gifts to those who don’t care or don’t appreciate.

And then I got the call. My mother asked me to come over.  My mother told me “last night Brigitte and her boyfriend were arguing.  Brigitte went home with another one of the cocktail waitresses and a male friend was with them.  Brigitte told her boyfriend where she was.  Sometime between 3:30 and 5:00 a.m., he found them.  Brigitte’s boyfriend took his gun and shot all three of them.  Clearly, Brigitte’s girlfriend ran, because she was found in the hallway with a bullet in the back of her head.  The only survivor was the male, who was shot in the face”.  He suffered a deformity for the rest of his life.

It came to light that Brigitte’s boyfriend was a combat veteran who had served in Vietnam.  For the next fifteen years I was afraid of Vietnam vets.

My next example of Envy is much, much later, after my divorce from my husband: the father of my children.  It took us quite awhile to finalize our divorce and he struggled mightily to avoid our debts and to avoid paying child support.  It was an extremely difficult time for me as I could never quite pay ALL of my bills.  Taking care of the kids financially always left me feeling inadequate.  I took a second job and just kept trying.  My ex-husband remarried and I was so very envious of their financial security.  They bought a new home, drove new cars and had a vacation home in North Carolina.  In the meantime I couldn’t afford a new prom dress for my daughter.  I envied my ex-husband’s wife’s financial security.  She is childless and could focus all finances on her self.  I went five years without buying new underwear, I just couldn’t afford it.

And then, the unthinkable happened.  My ex-husband died from his one and only heart attack.  He was only 54 years old.  The new wife got to keep the estate, but it didn’t matter because my children’s father was gone.  That single event shattered everyone’s security for many years.

And now when I look back, I think Envy is the most wasteful emotion of all.