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Monday, October 6, 2008

Warm and Fuzzy

I once had a friend say to me “I have to re-evaluate our friendship.” I am not sure I can express the shock and surprise I felt when she uttered those words. It was one of those moments in life when I imagined myself as a cartoon with a thought bubble above my head filled with a question mark. Her statement seemed to come from nowhere. I had been nothing but a friend to this woman. As she continued to talk I realized that my “transgression” in the relationship was asking questions that she knew needed to be answered but did not want to be reminded of.

After that experience I asked other friends if they felt “questioned” by me and if it was uncomfortable. And I heard a resounding yes. You see I have an uncanny ability to surmise the intricacies of a person or situation and get right to the heart of the matter. I guess I am kind of like that nagging voice in your subconscious when you are trying to make a decision but are not ready to deal with the outcome.

This talent of mine would have served me well had I decided to become an attorney as I originally planned. However life is not a court and my friends are not witnesses on the stand. Having this insight enabled me to change my modus operandi. Now if someone has a problem to discuss I am sounding board and a listening ear. I ask no probing questions or offer advice. Unless of course it is requested.

This new way of dealing with others was difficult at first but became easier as time progressed. Instead of asking the questions, I simply listen. In this way I can ascertain where a person stands on the matter. I occasionally ask questions in a very non-intrusive way for clarity. I think I have taken the same approach to blogging. I am testing the waters to see the receptivity to the things I put out there.

I mention all of this because recently my friend fly tie called my blog “warm and fuzzy” and that is complimentary. But it gave me pause because I know that life is not always “warm and fuzzy.” Like you I deal with issues on a daily basis, nirvana has not been achieved in the Cutie Booty household. And perhaps that is a part of it – the name of my blog denotes “warm and fuzzy.”

I just want to have a moment of candor. In homage to Langston Hughes," life ain’t been no crystal stair." Warm and fuzzy is nice but reality can be gritty and rough at times. This mommy is imperfect, questions her parenting ability and wonders about the future. As a writer I want my voice to be heard and remain true to myself. So please know when you visit many days you will find “warm and fuzzy” but on others not so much. Parenting, marriage and life has rough patches and I plan on chronicling it all.

Please consider donating to Georgia Public Schools! I've already raised 19% of my goal.

35 comments:

Ms. Bar B: said...

Bravo! I think that most of the time our friends need to be asked those probing questions and you are right when pointing out that they aren't always ready to face reality. It makes it hard to back off when you care deeply for your friends, but sometimes you may have to.

I appreciate your outlook on "warm and fuzzy". I laugh in the face of warm and fuzzy, but I can definitely feel flytie on giving your blog that compliment. You have a warm and fuzzy heart and it shines through in your writing, no matter what the subject matter is.

Kelly said...

you have your warm and fuzzy moments, but i think i would describe your blog as down to earth. you tell it how it is, and if warm and fuzzy is how it is, then that's how you tell it.

btw, i love your new blog design!

Juliana RW said...

I like your new layout :D

Christy said...

Well, that's certainly true of life, right? I like the fact that you've addressed some difficult things because we all go through that (although I realize that there's a time and place for bringing the more difficult matters to light & you can't always put it out there for everyone to see while it's happening.)

I've actually had friends tell me the same thing in terms of my questioning them about certain things, and I too have had to change the way I go about it. I guess I always figured that everyone wants to get to what's really going on in a given situation and face it head on, but that's not always the case. Sometimes I guess there's a different process, and that's okay. And sometimes, certain people will NEVER want to look at the truth of a situation.

Whether you're warm and fuzzy, or gritty and real, I like reading b/c it's you. I don't want fluff! LOL

BTW--love the new graphics--it's a great design!

Jewelry Rockstar said...

Sincerity and honesty can still be "warm and fuzzy." Our human experience shows many sides of us. Despite all your explanations and prefaces, the true warm and fuzzy you shows up wherever I see you comment and post.

ParentingPink said...

As a therapist, changing little things about us is so difficult. No one wants to see their faults. But it sounds like you did a great job of figuring out a way to best help your friends while helping yourself. Kudos!

Oh,and I also wanted to be an attorney - a prosecutor to be exact. Glad I'm not! Life turned out much better for me! LOL

Dorsey said...

How right you are!!! I've often said to friends who have similar views on my marriage that married life CAN be roses and castles, but even roses have thorns and castles can have mold. You have to take the good with the bad, and just learn to deal with each situation to the best of your ability.

I think the new layout is ADORABLE!! My only question is, is there a way to resize the Technorati-DonorsChoose.org graphic? It covers up a good portion of your blog for me (who browses via a 4yr old laptop).

Dori said...

I love your "warm and fuzziness". Your blog is a calm place to visit. As you said, life has its grittiness sometimes for all of us, but I love how you write about the grittier things in your own peaceful way. Keep up the great work!

And oh, I love your new design. :)

Amazing_Grace said...

Love your new blog template! WOW!

Liza said...

love the new layout. very cool to the eyes.

mannequin said...

Renee, echo on those design compliments.
I think each of us has something to bring to the table and one of the things you bring is challenge.

It's not always pretty to challenge ourselves or others but you do it in a most gracious way and that's not easy to do!

Being a melancholy gal myself, I like coming here; you always make everyone feel welcome and sunshine is welcome some days in my world

Then again...
The people want dirt...

Kia said...

Love your new blog template, Renee. Have a happy Monday! :)

Babette said...

I like your new layout! :) As for the 'warm and fuzzy' thing, not all your posts are like that. I like your blog because you cover happy and sad things, just like real life.

mrsbear said...

I don't know that I would describe your blog as warm and fuzzy. I appreciate that your posts are always thoughtful and honest and straightforward. I think you're achieving just what you set out to do and making a great job of it.

Petra said...

I think your blog is a great balance of warm and fuzzy and realistic and true to yourself and life's intricacies. Yes, life is certainly not always warm and fuzzy, and it is nice to hear about others' experiences so we don't feel alone.

Keep it comin'!

Black Woman Thinks said...

Hi Renee,
This post resonated with me as I was an inquisitor. I have extensive experience in one of my past lives as an investigator of sorts and this required me to hone my skills to get to the heart of the matter quickly. Unfortunately I carried into my personal life, although I have always been a questioning person.
Over the last few years I have moved into a new situation where I am not required to 'perform' and I listen more, ask a few probing questions where necessary but I close my mouth more than I used to and I have found I actually learn and understand more about others and myself. Now I have a more constructive outlet about life and life and I use my blog for that.

Your new template is great, more 'big people-ish' (if you know what I mean!).

A great post, Renee! Very thought-provoking and demonstrates just how considerate you are.
Glad you are in the blogosphere.
Zee

fly tie said...

indeed indeed. great post.

and i'll have to agree with jewelry rockstar and dori. even in expressing those aspects of life that wouldn't necessarily be perceived as being warm and fuzzy, you've still got a way of doing so that makes me feel good after reading.

regarding the the situation with your friends..i can understand how others might feel uncomfortable with this talent of yours (i like how you described it), cause as you said, many times people are just not ready to deal with what's real. they think they are but they really aren't. i tend to be one of those "tell it to ya like it is" types as well. i mean, i don't know what else to do. my mom can't stand it, yet she continues to ask me stuff about her personal situations. i don't get it at all.


great new look you've got going on.

Keisha Coconut said...

The new layout rocks ! :) Great posting too.
I can identify with being that questioning person.
I still struggle to balance .

T.Allen-Mercado said...

I'm feeling your new digs, very pretty!

Re: relationship re-assessments...I wrote about this some time ago after having been the one to call for re-assessment. We all have a committee so to speak. A group of people in our lives and each has a reason for being there. Perhaps you have been called to question others-many answers can be found within. The human condition is very complex and I find that the simplest way for me to deal is by remaining true to me. Sometimes that entails asking probing questions other times it comes as a curt albeit honest answer.

Insightful post.

Carrie said...

Great points on the friendsship post. They bring the best and worst out in each of us. Good accountability is necessary.

I love,love your new page. It's nothing short of beautiful.

CailinMarie said...

Thank you for stopping by the blog! i laughed at your "I don't do cats" i don't either I'm afraid. I am a dog girl - big dogs. But "purr" seemed to fit the emotion :) While I can get that your friends don't want to be on the witness stand; i think they are missing out if they don't give you permission to occasionally call them on what they are saying, doing, and wishing for. Not all the time right; but sometimes having an uncomfortable but true moment of clarity can be such a gift!!!
So don't get too fuzzy :) I think I like you just like this.

CailinMarie said...

OH!
How did you get the donation button? and what is it hooked up to???
We have a Christian Outreach Center that is trying to build a MUCH NEEDED building in town and I'd love a donation button!

Dawn said...

I like warm & fuzzy but wouldn't want people to try to be like that all the time. We all have ups and downs and I think we should be able to share some of that with our blog friends. I enjoy your blog!

Julie said...

The problem with most people is that they can't handle the truth. I've gotten that before too-people saying 'TMI' (I can't stand that) or pointing out that I don't 'beat around the bush'. I think you're awesome. Sometimes warm is fuzzy needs a slap across the face.

Lorie said...

Great post! I missed the middle though because your Technorati widget covers a good section of your post...I don't know if it is just me, or just firefox, but wanted to let you know.

Davida said...

I see that we have (had) a similar personality--discernment and perception. I don't think I've learned the lesson nearly as well as you have though, because I find myself still offending people. In friendships, I try to ask, "What role would you like for me to play here? Do you just want me to listen? Offer advice? Give you the pros and cons?" You get what I mean. So, yes. Friendly relations have improved, but for everyone else--interactions are battle zones. Trust me, it doesn't get any easier being an attorney. Sure, I can pull answers out of people, but it is still adversarial and confrontational by nature. I find myself going into a shell and not wanting to talk to people at all. This is really the reason I started blogging. I can put my thoughts and ideas out there and if anyone wants to benefit from it--so be it. If not, so be it. Anything offensive is a "harmless error".
Davida
http://glue4families.today.com

lisa said...

Oh wow, I love your new look.. Did you do it yourself or you had it done??

Really nice blog!! Love it!

Kristen Andrews said...

love your new design!

Frogs in my formula said...

That's very brave of you to look to your friends for their honest feedback. I really admire that. It says you take friendship very seriously.

amiable amy said...

reality bites indeed... whatever others say, think positive and improve for the better....but, the most important thing is that i like the thoughts you shared...and that matters right?

American in Norway said...

I have been to your blog before & I think you have a nice balance.. We all know that life is not PERFECT..as some mommys like to pretend...but then again I get turned off to those "Woe is me" type of blogs as well....
Great post!

Joanie said...

We are not always sweet and fun. We are complex creatures. We have our ups and downs and our honesty can be both welcomed and unwelcomed, good and bad. One would think friends accept you as you are, wouldn't you?

I was recently at one of my lowest points emotionally and at a breakfast meeting with friends, another friend and I both fell apart. While support was unconditionally offered to the other gal who lost it, when it came to me, I was told I needed to change my negative attitude. Now, in my mind, I had never been negative with this group. Oh sure, I was occasionally stymied by events and would bring them up for discussion, you know, to see if anyone had advice on how to get beyond the situation. Friends would say their piece and I'd counter with "what if and how about?" Apparently that was deemed negative thinking.

Sure, after being told I was occasionally too negative for their liking, my friends offered faint praise for my normally sunny approach to life, but their comments weighed heavily on me. When I asked for clarification and examples, they couldn't give me any. "It's just a sense of negativity from you" was what they said.

Later, after talking with the other gal who spilled her guts, she told me she thought the other two had been a little harsh with me and that she, who spends way more time with me, thought I handled the situation and the comments with grace. I cried. It was a relief to know someone saw beyond my low moment(s). And like me, she agreed that sometimes in our questions and doubtful comments we find our answers, which is all I really do when I start in on my "what if and how abouts".

I tried to revisit this topic with one of the people who came down on me, but it came out wrong and she launched into me again, saying I need to change the way I approach life and need to change my outlook. Last I recall, I was the one who had to live with my circumstances, not her. I know she's had her problems in the past, but just because she's in her happy place right now doesn't mean we all are. Funnily enough, when she'd sought our opinions at the beginning of our group discussion, she wouldn't have any of our advice deter her from her path or her decisions, but we should definitely heed her advice.

I guess this is a long winded way of saying we are who we are and we're either accepted for that or we're not. I tend to stick with friends through thick and thin and rarely dump people because we don't see eye-to-eye or have different approaches to life. But after this one encounter, I have thought just maybe I'll limit the type of contact I have with the people involved and how much I'll let them into my life.

It sucks, but sometimes we have to put up walls and/or play by somebody else's rules for a couple of hours.


Da Goddess

MyBrownBaby said...

Super-cutie new design... and it's okay to be "warm and fuzzy" on some days, and "cold and matter-of-fact" on others. That's the beauty of being human. Keep up the great posts!

Toni said...

Great post! All Mommies are imperfect, at least I think they are, well I know I am!

anymommy said...

That's the only way to keep it real. I love your blog because you have such a strong voice and it feels real. And, now I want to sit down with you and tell you some issues I'm struggling with and have you help me get to the heart of the problem!!

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