Monday, June 10, 2013


As a writer, sometimes, it is a challenge to decide what word best suits the emotion you are trying to express.  My writing often revolves around topics that evoke a variety of sentiments.  I love the thesaurus.  I love finding alternate ways to describe something.  Often, although the meaning is similar, the words bear a slightly different tone.  Recently, I looked up the word pity, and found many synonyms: shame, disappointment, misfortune, sympathy, and compassion.  These words mean the same thing, but each word has a different flavor. 

For example:  A glamorous Hollywood movie star recently underwent a double mastectomy to prohibit the growth of the cancer cells her medical history dictated.  As a high risk woman she opted to take somewhat drastic precautions to avoid the disease. I have compassion and sympathy for a surely difficult decision, but I also have admiration for her bravery.  Pity is not a word I would use in connection with Angelina Jolie, for she is a survivor.

Heinous crimes are always in the forefront of our news.  The most recent one is the Jodi Arias trial who received a Murder One verdict for the heinous murder of her former boyfriend Travis Alexander.  When the jury could not reach a decision regarding the death penalty, Travis’s family broke down in tears.  Watching them, I felt empathy that justice had not been given that day.  My heart ached for them and for their pain.  Pity is not a word I would use in connection with the siblings of Travis Alexander, for they are survivors.

Pity is a word used for situations that appear to be unchangeable.  Pity is used for those in a downward spiral, or stuck in their circumstances, stagnant, and unable to find the strength to question, move or rectify.  I would use the word pity for the starving children of the infomercials, living in horrible conditions.  Pity is induced toward the suffering victims of handicaps or deformities.  Pity is also called to mind for children of hostile aggressive parenting or parental alienation.  This behavior is not visible like the Save The Children infomercials.  This is a secretive occurrence that happens behind closed doors, hiding the atmosphere of revenge, and the methods used to prompt the children to hate.  One can only have pity for them at the unfairness of being estranged from a loving parent, and being betrayed by their other parent, who is selfishly utilizing his own anger to promote revenge.  What a horrible childhood it must be when the one person you trust is lying just because they are angry that their former spouse who wanted a divorce.  My three oldest children have the misfortune to be such victims.  They were exposed to continuous vitriolic verbiage since a very young age.  If they did not hear it from their father, they would hear it from their step-mother, who was equally misguided and cruel.

This was confirmed years ago when the nine-year old seated beside me at the ballet school, questioned my identity after seeing my daughter wave to me from her dance class.  After I told her I was Arielle’s mother, she stated, “Oh.  I’ve heard all about you!”  She was the niece of my daughter’s step-mother.  Why would a 9 year old be privy to any conversation about me?  My ex was constantly spewing evil, and I wondered what was going on in that house that allowed young children to hear, and easy remember his sordid words.  It was happening in a house where the secrets were concealed.                  

To date, my three oldest children (now 21, 22, and 24) are fully alienated by their father’s cruel ways.  Nevertheless, they have been continuously feeding his narcissistic supply, as he is the money giver.  Regardless of what he does, they worship him.  They have no sense of speculation.  They have no questions regarding his gleeful slander.  He has erased any reasoning abilities from their minds.  They are, in a sense, malleable puppets, on this earth to do the bidding of a malicious sociopath.  Pitiable.   

Maybe someday they’ll return to me with questions or regret.  I do not know that answer nor can I be consumed with these young adults whose emotions are impenetrable, hardened and mean.  I can only concentrate on making a wonderful life for my youngest daughter.  Sometimes, I have flashes of thoughts about my oldest children, yet all I feel is intense pity for three individuals whose future relationships will undoubtedly be bleak.  Unless they can start to realize that healthy people do not encourage their children to hate, based on lies, then the cycle of being a pitiful individual will continue.  Personally, I would rather be known for my strength as a survivor, than pitied for remaining a victim.  

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Yard Sale

Today I had a yard sale.  Being very analytical, I debated over each detail – when should I hang the signs?  The day before, or the morning of my sale?  And where?  And how large did they need to be?  Tape or nails?  Should I post pictures online of the items I was selling?  Should I run the ad in other publications?  Should I bring a sign to the location of other yard sales in the area – so perhaps they can send their customers to my house once they’re finished.  I know I can make myself a little meshugana worrying about silly points – but I like knowing I put 100% effort in each endeavor.  I was so worried about this yard sale, as it seems like such a new and foreign event to plan…..until, for some reason, I remembered another yard sale I hosted…17 years ago.

I was moving out of the house in Newton.  How naïve I had been in believing that my ex husband was going to buy another house after renting for a year – in an attempt to alleviate his non-payment of taxes for over 10 years.  He had sworn he would never live in Newton – only because he knew that’s where I wanted to live and raise my children.  He had to be the decision maker…as well as coming up with the original idea.  How stupid was it to agree to live in a rental house for 1 year, just prior to going on the market?  But, we all make mistakes….and we all digress…..

 At that time, all yard sales ads were printed in local newspapers.  My ex was living with his mistress in her house and I was planning on moving further North with the children, which was closer to my new job.   He never read the paper, but he relied on his source of information from my (former) best friend.  They had an ongoing affair and she reported everything I was doing or planning.  So, it should have come as no surprise when midday during my yard sale, he pulled up in his Toyota 4-Runner and screamed out the window, “You can’t have this sale!  You’re selling marital assets!” 

Ironically, there was a woman there chatting with my mother, who was helping out.  The woman looked up when she heard the yelling.  “Who is that?....He looks familiar…”  My mother told her who he was, as the woman happened to be a former teacher at Needham High School.  Upon hearing his name, the woman nodded her head.  “Yes, I remember him.  He was extremely problematic.  Your daughter is lucky to be away from him.” 

The event was actually something I later laughed about.  On drives with friends, if we saw a yard sale, we’d yell out the windows, “Get away from those marital assets!” and then burst into laughter.  It never ceases to amaze me that the more I learn and reflect on the characteristics of a scorned narcissistic sociopath, the luckier I feel to be free.

Today, my yard sale was not as successful as I would have liked, but it was a start in unloading some unwanted items.  It was a quiet and peaceful day with no unwarranted interruptions from a crazy man yelling at me from his window.  But, I had already unloaded that unwanted item 17 years ago.