There are two kinds of “good.”

“If you were to give yourself an extra special treat today, what could you do for yourself that would make you feel good?”

I almost feel like this is two different questions because there are two different ways to look at “feeling good.” The first being what I could do for myself that would be an extra special treat and therefore make me feel good, physically; and, then, what I could do that would make me feel good, mentally. Those are two very different things, with two very different answers.

To make myself feel good physically, I’d get laser hair removal. It’s expensive, so it would be a real treat for me. It sucks that it’s so much money. I hate shaving, with a passion. If you had asked me that same question like 10 years ago, I would have likely said get my hair dyed. Now, that’s more of a necessity than it is a luxury; but, whatever, age is nothing but a number.

To make myself feel good mentally, I’d find the time to volunteer more. I keep saying that I’d love to get out there and do some charity work. At heart, I’m very philanthropic; life keeps getting in my way. You know, that pesky thing called work?


Do We Really Have Free Will?

“Is it closer to the truth to say that you chose the lifestyle you now have or to say that your parents chose it for you?”

This question is REALLY interesting to me, because I’ve often struggled withe the whole concept of free will.  Being that I was raised Catholic, I’m supposed to believe that God has a plan for me; or, that I am “here” for a reason.

Then, outside of that, we have our parents.  To a certain extent, of course, they’ve chosen my path for me.  For example, I didn’t choose to live in Naugatuck, CT; I was born here.  Would I be some where else if I could have chosen? I don’t know. I’ve often said that I hate the CT weather, so maybe I wouldn’t have chosen it.  The one thing that I can difinitively say that I got from my parents is the importance of family.  Neither one of my parents are particularly close to their families, so at a young age it was instilled in us that family is first.  We’ve stayed close into adulthood and I’m certain that’s not going to change.  So, I’m still here, in CT,  still hating the weather.

In terms of a career path, I chose my own.  If it were their choice, I would have been a doctor (I wish I were, but that’s a whole different story).  My mother always said that she felt that a teacher was the nobelest of professions; so, a little bit of my decision to do so may have been because of her.  But certainly not forced.

As you all know, I’m chronically single.  My decision alone.  Quite a while ago (after a certain someone broke my heart in a million pieces) I made the decision that I didn’t need a man in my life to be happy.  I decided that my career would bring me happiness; so, I threw all of my energy into it.  Now I’m just so far into my own world I’m not sure I’d remember how to share it with anyone else.  In retrospect, I probably made a mistake by shutting myself out like I did; but, it’s OK.  I’m happy overall, and that’s all that matters.

Thinking about free will puts me in an endless abyss:  my parents, God, my subconscious…who knows which has made the biggest impact?  I guess it’s all in what you believe.  And I, am completely unsure.



Jealousy: the Green-Eyed Monster

“Would you still feel loved if your lover never felt jealous?”

This one is a hard one.  If I’ve learned anything from teaching and management, it’s that there are always two sides to every story (and the truth is usually somewhere in the middle).  I think that is applicable here.

If I were to have a lover I might be upset if he were to never get jealous, but only if he weren’t showing his love in other ways.  What I mean is that I don’t necessarily feel like being jealous is the only way to prove your love.  Yes, I think jealousy is a natural human emotion; and, yes, I can get jealous.  But not obsessively so.  I think that’s where the line can be drawn.  Let me try to explain.

If someone loves me (and I him), there will be some semblance of jealousy; but, if our relationship is based on a mutual trust and understanding, that jealousy won’t become obsession.  We should be able to feel jealous without feeling the need to act on it, knowing that there is nothing to worry about.  I feel like either one of us should always know that we’re loved by our other actions.  You know, it’s the little things that count.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that in a healthy relationship there will be jealousy but it shouldn’t always be externally noticeable.  I’ll know he loves me by the little things he does.

Irrational Fears

This week’s question caused an epiphany (which I think is the whole point of the Book of Questions)! Because of that, I’ve left this piece as raw as I could so that you all could experience it with me…

“Do you have any irrational fears? If so, have you tried to overcome them?”

Yes, I have irrational fears; who doesn’t?

For starters, I hate clowns. I’m not sure that it’s a fear per sé, it’s more of an annoyance, I think. They just creep me out.

I am terribly afraid of spiders and snakes; this is (mostly) irrational. I know that both have the potential to be deadly; but, I live in Connecticut. I’m more likely to get mauled by a black bear than I am to come across a deadly spider or snake; but, whenever I see one, I freak out! If you know me, you know what I mean. They just seem unnatural to me.

Then, there’s the big one, my biggest irrational fear…enclosed spaces. I don’t know what it is; but, it’s REALLY bad! It’s gotten to the point where I know that I need to see a doctor for my shoulder, but I won’t because I know he’ll send me for an MRI. Nope, not doing it. The first (and only) time is still burned forever in my brain. It’s also so bad that I’m not a fan of flying.  No, I’m not afraid to die. I’ve said this on many occasion: when it’s my time, it’s my time; and, I believe that (well, mostly). I’m just freaked out by the fact that I can’t get out.

Wait a second, maybe that’s what it is! Maybe it’s not claustrophobia at all. Maybe it is the fear of not being able to get out. If you think about it, it all fits. I don’t like MRI’s because I can’t get out (or move), I don’t like to fly because I can’t get out (or move well). And, I don’t like elevators because there is the potential not to be able to get out (should it break down).

OK, now that I’ve narrowed it down; maybe now I’ll be able to figure out how to overcome it.

Final Destination?

Hello, my name is Stephanie, and I am a chicken! As you may (or may not) already know, I hate horror movies. I once let a boyfriend convince me to see Scream with him and had nightmares for a year. I didn’t even make it all the through when I started watching Final Destination (I had no clue it was a horror movie). So, given that, I totally freaked out when I saw this week’s question:

“If the day before you were to fly home from a vacation in Jamaica a fortune teller warned you that a plane was going to explode, would you alter your travel plans?”

I’m a lover of all things Shakespeare, so the first thing that came to my mind here was “beware the Ides of March” (Sorry Stacy). Then, my mind went to what little I saw of Final Destination. Those two things together make for quite a conundrum. On the one hand, if I believe in what the fortune teller has to say (unlike Julius Caesar did in the play) I would change my plans. But, then, if I believe the story of Final Destination, (which in a nutshell says that you can’t escape death because it will find you) it probably doesn’t matter.

The rational side of me wants to side with Caesar on this one and completely ignore the fortune teller (they’re cuckoo for coco puffs anyway, right?). But, the irrational side of me, the part that believes in destiny, thinks that maybe, just maybe, this person was put here to tell me this because it isn’t my time to die.

I don’t know; now I have a headache. Apparently, there is no right choice. What about you guys, what do you all think?

All of Me

This week’s question is one that I often think about: Do you think people see you as you really are? If not, how might you better show your true self?

The problem with this is that I don’t know. You see, quite a while ago, I made a conscious effort to cut the B.S. out of my life. I tend to be a you get what you see type of gal. I vowed always to say what I mean (and I mean what I say). I never make a promise that I don’t intend to keep. I think about others before thinking about myself. In my humble opinion, I’m a nice person. I work hard, and I always try my best; but, do people see that?

Well, I’d like to think so; but, one can never really be sure. To answer the question, though: I hope so. I hope folks take me at face value and realize that, while I may not always tell you what you want to hear, I WILL tell you what you need to hear.

How can I show my true self? Well, but doing exactly that. Being who I am (nothing more, nothing less) every day. No matter what.

You can’t really argue with that.


Decisions, Decisions…

Hey, Everyone! Sorry, I missed last week; I was just so crazy busy I didn’t even have time to think. Between buying a house, working, and helping out with my mom, it’s been nuts. But, on the plus side, we’ve finally got some magnificent news regarding my mom; so, I’m feeling especially buoyant this week!

This week’s question is regarding choice! “If you were sentenced to solitary confinement for one year with only one of the following, which would you pick: a pet, 25 books, 25 songs, or a pen with ample paper? If you choose the books or songs, which would you include?”

After a lot of thinking, I came to the conclusion that I would most definitely take the pen and paper. Here’s why:

1. Solitary confinement with a pet could get messy; think about it, I’d have to train him or her to go in the toilet, and that could be tough.  Besides, while the company would be great, he/she can’t talk back, so it’d be a pretty one-sided conversation.

2. While 25 books would be great, it’s probably not enough to last me a whole year. With the way I read (especially with nothing else to do), I’d be done with them in a month or two. Then what would I do?

3. 25 songs over and over again? I love music, really I do! But I just don’t think I could listen to the same 25 songs over and over again for a year. That is what I like to call “overplayed!”

So all’s that’s left is the paper and pen… I’ve always said that I would love to write the next great American novel, I guess that would be my chance! Besides, I love journaling and writing poetry, and my blog. So I could do all of it!

Now it’s your turn, leave a comment, what would you pick and why?

All Hail President Stephanie

“If you ruled the US how would you change things?”

I make a concerted effort not to discuss politics publically. Far too often, I see folks voicing their opinions on Facebook or Twitter and then getting bashed because of it. I’ve read one too many “know your role” mean tweets even to attempt it. So, that said, know that I answer this question in mere jest. It’s for the fun of it people! Don’t hate!

The first thing I would likely do is find a way to “get rid” of internet trolling. There has to be a way where we can punish those who like to hide behind the mask of their computer screen to say things that needn’t be said. I know that it sounds a bit “big brother” like; but, I think it’s necessary.

Next, I’d find a way to eradicate childhood hunger. As a teacher, I’ve seen hungry children far too often. It’s heartbreaking.

Next, I’d tackle the gosh darn tax issue. I live in CT, and the taxes here are ridiculous- I going to end up paying more in taxes for my house than some people pay for their car. Trust me when I tell you, my house IS NOT super fancy in the least. It’s just the nature of CT living.

Lastly, but certainly not least, I have to, HAVE TO, find a better way to deal with student debt. I have 2 degrees and a state certification; I’ll be paying for them until the day I die. Let’s put it this way, I owe almost as much on my student loans as a friend of mine does on his condo. It really shouldn’t be that difficult; otherwise, why go to school? I work like crazy to pay for a bill that I wouldn’t have had I not gone to school to get that job to begin with.

Now it’s your turn. What do you think?

To Life…

Do you more often feel that life is too short or too long?

I think the answer to a question like this relies largely on the age and experience of the person. As a kid, it’s likely that I would have said that life is too long. When you’re young, it’s hard to imagine yourself as old, or destructible, or (God forbid) mortal; we can only yearn for the days when we’re not “too young” to do anything we want to do. Then, of course, we do grow up, and we start to wish that we could go back.

For me, though, things are a little more different. In my eyes, age has always been nothing but a number. I’ll admit it, when I was younger, I never thought much about death (or dying). But recently, the word has become front and center in my life. It’s something that I think about now, almost constantly. Had I been asked this question a year ago I’m not sure what I would have said. Now, I’m fairly sure (given my mother’s situation) everyone knows what I’m going to say. Life is TOO SHORT! How can I answer any other way? Any amount of time that I get with my mother will never be enough.

One more lesson.

“What one additional skill that you could have learned as a child would be very valuable to you now?”

When I read it, I had to laugh; I automatically thought of an article I read once called something like “I Learned Everything I Needed to Know in Kindergarten.” To a certain extent, that is true; treat people how you would want to be treated, don’t lie, share, and make sure you can read and count. Is there really anything else? Theoretically, one CAN survive knowing only these things. But, if you delve a bit deeper, is there something else?

In my humble opinion, YES; and, it’s loyalty. I know that little kids are “loyal” to their parents; but, I’m talking about the kind of loyalty that we (as humans) develop as we age. I’m talking about the kind of dedication that it takes to be a real friend. I’m the type of person who would do almost anything for those I love; and, I can’t help but think that if I had this dedication as a child, I wouldn’t have done some of the awful things I did to both my parents and some of my friends.

Honestly, and hopefully without sounding preachy, I think loyalty is a lesson that EVERYONE needs to learn now and again. It seems that this particular trait is becoming a bit extinct.

What do you all think?