Friday, January 28, 2011

The friction over the Oprahization of America--also (wearing Cowboy boots more often as a goal)...

My husband was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland (Balleyfermot to be exact).  He was/is the youngest of 12 siblings.  This is as much information as he is comfortable sharing with anyone about him.  He has forbidden his picture on facebook or any personal information anywhere online.  He is very private.  I recently snuck some pictures into albums that would never be profile pictures and he was very angry with me.  I deleted them--genuinely befuddled why he would care.  I have my facebook set to the most private settings and I honestly try to honor his requests for privacy--I just don't really get it.

In addition, we have had a long-running disagreement over how much sharing is too much sharing.  He believes in what he calls the "Oprahization" of Americans--meaning we will tell anyone anything.  It's hard to argue that this isn't a large characteristic of Americans.  We have all had the experience of having a complete stranger in the grocery store or post office tell us something extremely private and inappropriate.  We have grown up (many of us) in the age of Oprah, Springer & Maury--not to mention Perez and TMZ.  People will reveal embarrassing things about themselves just for the attention.  So, in some ways I agree with his assessment...Americans could stand a lesson in boundary setting.  Maybe lots of lessons...

However, I'll give you an example of where we come to part in our understanding of sharing information.  I have lots of facebook friends, lots of real-life friends (always have), am extremely extroverted and write a blog.  I am not quiet about much.  Sometimes this has gotten me in trouble, and sometimes I have been rewarded.  No matter--as Popeye would say, "I y'am what I y'am." 

I am a smoker.  I have been a smoker for twenty years.  I am not proud of it and wish I'd never started.  Every time I get the nerve up to think about quitting, I pick a date (like the experts recommend) and tell a "support group" to hold me to some sort of account.  I have never successfully completely quit for more than a month.  Each time, my husband blames my failure on the fact that I told someone/anyone that I was going to quit.  He says it should be internal and secret and that this would decrease the pressure on me to follow through.  I don't know if he is right.  Next time I try and quit, I'll try it his way--as mine has obviously been not so successful.  The fundamental barrier for me is that I am a conscientious person, usually dependable and responsible as a parent, daughter, employee, wife, etc...I feel deeply that I deserve some sort of way to be "bad."  I say to myself:  "Don't I deserve one thing that I'm not supposed to do?"  Unless and until I figure a way to dismantle this internal thought/expectation/perception--I fear I will not quit smoking.  Plus, I like being able to go outside at any time for a little chat or for alone time...

This brings me to this reason for this entry.  I've shared with you, dear readers that I've become uncharacteristically optimistic lately and in this state, I made a list of goals for 2011.  I'm sharing them because a) I don't think my husband is completely correct about his penchant for secrecy b) I want them out there so that I know I said I wanted these things and c) to encourage others to make reachable goals in the coming year.  So here we go--this is what I want (some are intentionally vague because I don't yet know how to get there):

  • Go camping at least once every two months (weather permitting) & go with my brother and his family or other friends w/younger kids
  • Visit a State Park at least once a month in warmer months
  • Have a least one Girls Night Out every 3 months or so (I typically get less that one a year)
  • Continue to regularly visit the Drive-In
  • Plan a wknd trip to the following places:  Townsend, TN (in summer and take kids tubing and to Cades Cove), Asheville, NC (to visit friends and explore mountains), Chatt, TN (to visit friends and go to the Aquarium again and slide down lots of hills on cardboard), Knoxville, TN (to visit friends and introduce my kids to all the cool places I know about in K-town--I lived there for 12 years)
  • Swimming lessons for all three kiddos
  • Visit a Planetarium and the Zoo
  • Visit the Frist (trip planned for next wknd)
  • Get a smartphone
  • Do yoga when I am able...Doc said I can start in one month...also, plan hikes and ways to swim
  • Buy chester drawers for kids and for us at second-hand stores and sand them down, repaint them and funky them up
  • When we move into our new house in June (I hope) use paint in interesting ways throughout the house
  • Get important photographs, prints and drawings framed and hung
  • Sand the top of our old coffee table and use tile to recover it (I have the tiles already and have priced electric sanders)
  • Buy lots of cork board for the kid's rooms and use one wall in each room to cover w/cork and/or create a blackboard on the wall (w/paint)
  • Go out with my hubby at least once every two months and hire a babysitter.  We barely get out once a year together--we are WAY overdue for some date nights
  • Investigate what it would take to become certified as an ESL teacher.  I'd like to have an additional skill and be better able to work with students who come to me now speaking English as a second language
  • Learn to play chess (the hubs can teach me and we already have at least two sets)
  • Have at least two parties at our house once we move...I love hosting parties (shocker, I know)
  • Work with Kari to teach Creative Writing to a group of people in need
  • Volunteer with folks at my campus on a project for our community
  • Blog, blog, blog
  • Work harder, smarter and better at work and at home to maximize my outcomes
  • Wear my cowboy boots more often
So there you have it people--the things I want in my life in 2011.  Maybe I shouldn't share so much, but I honestly can't help myself.  I believe it will push me forward to know that you know.  If the hubs is right--well, then--I'll probably just keep that to myself.

1 comment:

  1. Kristen, this is great! I am afraid of oversharing, but that doesn't always stop me if I think it will help someone else. I agree with Paul that it is empowering at times to reach a meaningful goal without sharing...100% you...pure and without influence. I love the goals you set! I understand what you mean about deserving one way to be "bad." I agree. You are amazing!