Tag Archives: Tracey Jackson

Thanks to Tracey Jackson’s guest post, which is published here. Tracey is a screenwriter and author who blogs on her own site www.TraceyJacksononline.com, as well as guest blogging for HuffPo, Tiny Buddha and Society for Drug Free America, she attempts daily to live as mindful a life as is possible.

Aside from connecting with so many old friends one of the great things to come out of the whole Face to Facebook journey was the knowledge that the person I remembered being and on some levels assumed I still was, either never really existed or ceased to exit long ago.

I’m not who I was, I’m who I am. And while this seems like the most simplistic of statements it can take awhile to understand.

Many people wonder, myself included why does high school and the person we thought we were back then leave such an indelible imprint? So much so that for many the person they think they are today, either stems from that early identity or any achievement or disappointment is compared to the person of yester-decade.

People often find their true selves in college, but they assume their subterranean lifetime identity in high school.

High school is when the labels are often affixed and the adhesive seems to always leave a mark. It may be faint but it’s there.

Boys who were nerds always have that little nerd lurking inside even if they grow up to be desirable, successful men. Sometimes it feels like all adult accomplishments are actually happening to that other person, the one no one wanted to be around.
In Hollywood all the short, ugly guys who couldn’t get a date for the prom marry girls who look like cheerleaders and often end up cheating on them with other girls who look like cheerleaders to either punish the original group or relive the experience they were denied the first time around.

A fat person is always a fat person no matter how thin they may get.

The gay kid who didn’t fit in always carries a bit of that feeling of not meeting other’s expectations no matter what he may achieve or how authentically he may live his life.

Labels and ostracization can sadly be lifelong companions.

The grand pooba of high school achievement always seems to be popularity. I have lived much of my life overcompensating for not being popular in high school. My memory of myself is that of an outsider wanting to be apart of a group that wanted no part of me.

But in going back and revisiting so many people I learned so much about myself and them, and in doing so I am finally able to let that leaden balloon fly away.

I learned that people I thought were secure were just as insecure as I was. I learned that while I might not have been a cheerleader or anybodies first choice for a dance at Jr. League Dance Class, while I was always the last choice for any team sport, I was not the loser I have felt it important to drown out by dancing as fast as I can for the last thirty years.

By going back I was able to turn much around at least inside my own head and in the end that is the only place that really counts.

Kids who were not popular with their peers or parents often end up being over achievers. Kids who suffered through both often end up living lives where nothing is ever enough. This is not a great way to live ~ take it from someone who has spent decades in therapy figuring it all out in attempt to let it all go.

I suppose on one level it’s not a bad thing as when you scratch the surface; of some of the biggest success stories are people working overtime proving that in fact they were worthy. Or they had so much free time they had the chance to go off and become really good and excel in different areas.

If Bill Gates had been partying and getting laid every night he would not have been locked up in the computer rooms creating the foundation of what would become his empire.

It’s not an accident that Mark Zuckerberg the personification of outsider invented the ultimate social connecting tool.

I’ve grown to think that the whole notion of being popular is vastly overrated to begin with. But it’s the only currency we have to trade in before we become who we actually are. It’s how we compare ourselves and place ourselves in the hierarchy.

My mother always told me I was unpopular from the first day I showed up at nursery school. I have no idea if this was true or not. I find it hard to believe. But I think it might have planted the seed that that was who I was and I lived that out in my mind as well as my life for many years.

It was quite astounding going back and hearing in fact what others thought of me and how they remembered me and for the most part it was not the way I remembered myself at all. And I found this to be true of others as well. The people I thought of as really cool never actually felt that way. And some thought I was too grown up by the time I hit high school to actually include.

But there are two great things about growing up and going back, one is when face to face decades later you only remember the good, the jokes, the nicknames, the sneaking cigarettes and crushes, all the firsts you went through together whether you were on the top of the heap or somewhere in the middle or even on the bottom. We now relate through this kind of we’re still here love fest.

I was with a friend this week whose wife died of a long protracted illness that turned her into someone she was not. He said now that she is gone all he can conjure are the good years and that is what he misses. It’s like it’s gods joke and his gift at the same time. It applies to so much of life.

And the other thing I really learned is I’m not at all who I was or ever thought I was, I’m who I became and that is all that matters.

A post courtesy of Tracey Jackson. She is a screenwriter and author who blogs on her own site www.TraceyJacksononline.com, as well as guest blogging for HuffPo, Tiny Buddha and Society for Drug Free America. Our own opinon is that, if two adult people really tried their best and still a relationship is not working for them, then letting go may be an appropriate decision to take, understanding fully the conseguences of doing, or not doing, so. Thanks to Tracey for sharing this!

This is an idea that has been nibbling at me for some time. Glenn and I spend a lot of time observing far too many truly unhappy couples.

Now, I want to take a moment out, I am talking about A LOT of couples. So if you think I am talking about you, it might just be a case of you’re so vain you probably think this blog is about you.

Being unhappy is one thing, perpetuating it is another. Lot’s of us make the wrong turn in life; god only knows I have plenty of times. But I do believe that we owe it to ourselves and those we love who might be traipsing along on our unhappy journey with us, to perhaps stop and maybe think up some ways to get ourselves into a better place.

Being unhappy is truly a terrible thing. There are situations where it cannot be avoided, during those times we just have to muddle through until time and a change of luck come our way.

But, but there are situations where we have much more control than we think we have. We can change the course we are on whether we chose it or not, whether we think people might think badly of us or not, whether we may think badly of ourselves our not. Choosing to be happy is never the bad choice, unless you are really hurting someone in the process and I know in personal relationships this can be sticky. There are ways to make your life work and not destroy someone else’s in the process.

Though I have a theory, if one half of a couple is suffering, the other is too; they just aren’t brave enough to face it.

The first step is actively admitting something isn’t working for you.

Listen, nothing is as bad as a bad marriage, I’ve been there, I thought being 30 and single was dreadful, it was heaven compared to being 35 married and miserable.

I know endless couples who don’t speak, don’t have sex and I don’t mean for a month I mean for a decade or more and I am talking about lots of people.

I am not willing to live my life that way. I wasn’t when I was unhappy and while it did take me longer than I would have liked, I did eventually leave.

I have so many friends who I look at and yell “Get out.”

Every day you are unhappy is a day you are not happy and as simple as that may sound, many people do not get it. It’s very interesting most people have the same response, “I’m stuck.”

“I’m staying for the kids.” That one is a big waste, as kids living with two miserable people are a whole lot unhappier than kids living with one or two people who may not be together but are at least present emotionally where ever they are.

When you are not happy you are not present, not in the real way. Which is one of the reasons people say they are stuck. Stuck is the inability to move forward, you feel trapped, like you have no choices and it only adds to the despair.

And then with many couples who find themselves in this situation, there is one who wants out and one who is willing to trundle along in the land of gloom.

That is I think when misery truly loves misery.

There are couples and I truly believe this, where misery just loves misery. It’s what it knows, on some deeper level it often thinks it’s what it deserves, or the old “devil known” adage comes into play.

But I know couples who have just settled in for a good four to five decades of hell. Separate rooms, separate lives, separate remotes.

Not a good way to go. It may sound trite but life is short.

I can’t tell anyone how to leave a bad situation other than just do it. It’s scary; one often fears the next situation will be just as bad or worse. This is seldom the case if you have learned your lesson in the first go round.

I spent five years driving around Los Angeles trying to figure out how to escape. I spent so much time trying to figure it out I got more lost than I already was. I think I was just buying myself time, which really only turned into more time to be unhappy.

One day I just woke up and set a deadline to leave and like most of my deadlines, I made it. And the amazing thing is it was so much easier than I had ever imagined and what I had feared might be the stupidest move I could make turned out unequivocally to be the smartest.

So choose happy, only you can, no one will do it for you. Because while misery may like company, company seldom really wants much to do with misery.

Thanks for this guest-post to Tracey Jackson. Tracey is a screenwriter and author who blogs on her own site www.TraceyJacksononline.com, as well as guest blogging for HuffPo, Tiny Buddha and Society for Drug Free America, she attempts daily to live as mindful a life as is possible.

It’s been awhile since I did a bossy Tracey posting but I realized today that Breast Cancer Awareness Month is coming to an end and I have not addressed it.

It’s not like me and I have actually had an “in the future posting” on the books since I got my last mammogram.

But the message is very clear and the question astoundingly simple, if you are a woman forty or older or a woman any age with a family with a history of breast cancer have you had a mammogram in the past twelve months? Just like the mole check, I’m not interested in 18 months or 20 months ~ 12 months: in the last year.

Most people think this is a lame question as it is just assumed most women are religious in getting their mammograms: Surprisingly the opposite is true. When I was in for mine in July I asked my doctor the stats on how many women DON’T get checked and she told me around 40% do not get them. And this often times despite what you might think has nothing to do with socio-economic status, it has to do with stupidity and fear.

In the last year alone, especially since I started Between A Rock and a Hot Place I have come across many women whom you would think were diligent about this part of their health care, but some how, some way let it slide.

Well, guess what you can’t “let it slide.” I know it doesn’t help that the insurance companies and various reports keep switching the rules, some say every year, now they’re saying women over fifty only need it every two years. They all say don’t start until you’re in your forties. I think much of this comes from the insurance companies as let’s face they don’t want to pony up the dough.

Breast cancer hits many women in their thirties and some in their twenties. I’ve been getting regular mammograms since I was 35 and there is no history in my family. But my long time doctor Ed Liu said when I hit thirty-five “ The technology is there, why not take advantage of it, it could save your life.” And I’ve been going the same time every year ever since.

I’m not looking for brownie points and believe me I don’t like going anymore than anyone else: But you have to do it. And you can’t say I can’t afford it as there are clinics where you can go that charge small fees and sometimes do it for free. I know this as I have spoken with women who go each year and pay little or next to nothing.
And the real shocker is the high-income, well educated group with insurance who don’t go.

I will tell you a brief story that proves my point.

Last summer we were having people over for dinner. Someone brought along a friend, handsome women in her mid-fifties. It was immediately made known she went to Yale and had a very impressive job that only someone with a great mind and educational pedigree could pull off.

I instantly went to my Oh Christ; this is one of those women who will find me to be the blonde bimbo with too much cleavage who didn’t go to college. So I was polite but went to the kitchen to make some guacamole, for some reason she followed me.

We started talking and within minutes our conversation led to what I did and the topic of the book came out, and menopause and within minutes we were chatting like old friends.

The upshot of the story is this woman is fifty-six years old. She has not been to see a gynecologist or had a mammogram in over four years. I almost dropped the skillet I was holding. “Are you crazy?” I asked her. “ No, just scared,” she said. “It’s been a difficult few years and I think any bad news will make it worse.”

Well, that is one demented way of looking at it. I didn’t say that. But I did say, “If you get news that something that could have been minor is now major it’s going to be a whole lot worse”. She agreed and admitted she didn’t want the doctor to see her because she had gained 40 pounds as well. SHE WENT TO YALE. SHE HAS INSURANCE. When it comes to health often times rational thinking flies out the window.

I immediately gave her the name of my gynecologist Robin Phillips who is a menopause specialist, this woman was suffering terribly from lack of estrogen and I gave her the number of my radiologist. I told her to call in the morning and use my name, as she is hard to get into. I even offered to go with her.

I had come far from being intimidated by her to realizing this very competent women was paralyzed by the fear that her body was somehow a time bomb and that she needed help. She promised she would take care of it all and email me.

I never heard from her again. I know Robin didn’t see her as Robin always writes a thank you note whenever she gets a new patient I send her way. And my guess is she didn’t get her mammogram. My hope is she doesn’t wait too much longer. Eighteen months at her age is a long time to go between appointments, five years is an eternity.

So please, don’t assume all is fine and don’t’ be afraid of them finding something. Their job is to find something if it’s there and get it in time.

The best thing you can do is book your appointment for the same time every year. That way you don’t miss a month and it becomes part of your permanent health care regime. Often times people miss a few months and before you know it an extra year has been tacked on. I’ve heard too many stories of women with advanced breast cancer who “Got so busy they hadn’t been checked in several years.”

The other thing to do is spread your doctor’s visits apart by four months each. By this I mean go see your GP who will give you a manual breast exam, four months later do the annual gynecological visit and he/she will give you a manual exam and then have your ANNUAL mammogram. That way every four months someone in the know is feeling your boobs. It’s important. Your life could depend on it.

The other thing you can do and I do this every day is click on the link for The National Breast Cancer site. One push of the mouse gives a mammogram to someone who can’t afford it.

And that makes every day Breast Cancer Awareness Day.