Thursday, December 31, 2020

Creating YOUR Year ... 🎊 🖌️

2020 was a lot... 😳
so I hope starting fresh will be even more fantastic than ever. 

Wishing YOU a healthy, happy and fabulous 2021! 

Cheers to creating your most JOYfull Year Ever :)

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Gaslighter, Denier... Where's My Apology?


I'm not sure I had heard of the term gaslighting prior to the last four years- and if I did I probably only knew what was inferred by the context of the rest of the point of the conversation. 

For those unfamiliar, gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse where a "gaslighter" tries to lie and manipulate someone into questioning their thoughts, memories, and the reality of the events occurring around them. It came from an old 30's play and 40's movie where a husband tried to drive his wife crazy- or at least have others believe she was- by messing with the gas lights (and other items) in their home. In 2016, the term made the rounds after Lauren Duca's Vogue article about Trump and then hit its prime as runner up to word of the year in 2018.

Our president is trying to double-down before he leaves office by pretending he won an election he lost so he won't have to leave on 01.20.21. Amanda and Byrnn's tweets sum up what I feel on the topic but it got me thinking about all the other gaslighting I had experienced in life before I knew what it really meant even though many of us had felt it quite a bit in our lives. Bosses, exes, anyone who manipulated others for their own means.

And while I applaud the idea of bringing our country together and am a huge proponent of forgiveness and reconciliation these women point out two of the key elements before true healing can begin- truth & justice!

If someone has been an abuser they would like to skip this step and pretend that any battle was equal on both sides and so let's just call it even and move on. Nope! 

First comes cleaning up the mess they made and making amends before there is the possibility of forgiveness and steps forward. AA is based on this principle which requires making amends (steps 8 & 9) for prior harms caused along the path of recovery. Almost all religions also speak of some form of contrition and repentance when there has been wrongdoing done. 

If we want to move forward as a country let alone live a peaceful life ourselves I don't think it's healthy, let alone just, to let folks that have caused harm with blatant lying, racism, violence against others, or any dishonorable behavior get a free pass. Not only does it send a horrible message that our actions don't have consequences but it also makes healing for the people who experienced the harm more difficult. 

Imagine how hard it's going to be to get 74M Trump voters to see the truth when they have been told by him, the GOP and Fox News that he didn't really lose the election. Good luck trying to reason with the MAGAs they've radicalized! Those lying and attempting to gaslight our country should never be able to hold a place of leadership and trust until they have at a minimum come forward and spoken the truth.   

And even when there is truth finally admitted there needs to be the additional steps of amends and restitution to those harmed. Louis CK is a perfect example of a half-assed attempt to clean up his mess. Yes, his apology was a solid start but then he chickened out on cleaning up and doing the real work to redeem himself. So disappointing as a former fan.   

Recently I had an ex call to check in on how I was during the pandemic like our parting wasn't less than amicable. I was willing to hear them out because after previously ignoring three other attempts I thought who knows it's been a long enough time, maybe they had changed, maybe in this time of reflection they had done some work and were calling with remorse and an apology and we could be at peace. Alas they just wanted to pretend everything was bygones being bygones. Once a gaslighter, I guess always one- so not to mix my Chicks metaphors but I'm not ready to make nice ðŸ˜

I say to my ex or anyone who has enabled Trump or anyone who has harmed someone else and have let things fester and get even uglier: 
Where's the apology? Where's the truth? Where's the justice?

If there's no real truth and justice, then look out... 
we see your lie-lie-lies and we're done with you and your gaslighting 🔥  

Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Pope that Saved the Planet

I, like most people, don’t like being upset all the time, my natural state is- 

wait for it...    Joy!

So as with many of us, the last 4 years have frayed my nerves to the point of crispy 😣. What’s been most upsetting in 2020 is watching folks let our country divide itself instead of pulling together. I mean I get it everyone's passions are running high, patience running low... but it is so self-destructive.


Now normally when it comes election time I encourage my friends and family to vote and try to make it light and fun by talking about my love for voting stickers. They might infer my leanings but I rarely come out and say who I think folks should vote for because usually it's none of my business. 

This year of course was different and I felt for many reason that I needed to take a stand

Not long after, a close friend called me to get advice on how I was dealing with our mutual friends who are Conservatives. I confessed I had been avoiding them. She wasn't the first to raise this concern in our group of friends but I was at a loss. 

Couple days later I realized I was being a hypocrite and a coward by not sharing with these dear friends of over 30 years how I felt; not to change their vote per se, but to share what was going on with me and that many of us who they care about are upset over this president. It did not go well. 

Received a curt text back from one of the two ending our friendship declaring that pro-life was the main thing they vote on (although there was more said, it is unimportant here) and she and her neighborhood friends would be gladly voting for Trump. 


At first I was hurt and then mad and then I got a pit in my stomach that this is happening all over America, probably the world. People who are normally rational loving people are letting this one topic divide them because it is so polarizing. (Would this Catholic suburban mom really be voting for a thrice wife-cheating, vulgar, showman like Trump if not for the judges?) 

I could not let it go. I know, I know this is an issue for me- but hear me out because it might have ironically been a sign leading me to a solution to it all...

As an aside, this situation came along at the time of the year when the MacArthur Genius fellowship awards are announced. Each year for at least a decade my best pal Vickie and I always send each other the announcement with a:

Can't believe it wasn't our year.

We joke about the mystery behind how they are selected and how we really do need to do more to save the world. I mean shouldn't we all?!

So while stewing on the state of the world and contemplating how we are ever going to recover in the US from this chaos of such divided politics, 

I pondered and mapped out what would really make a difference: 

What could save the world? 

How could I help it along?

Well as often happens, the solution hit me in the middle of the night...

The #1 thing dividing US politics is the issue of abortion

The #1 global threat is climate change

The #1 cause of suffering in the world is poverty

What one thing could begin to solve these 3 major problems?

Well, I won't spoil it for you but I figured it out and this slidedoc outlines what I believe could make the biggest difference in solving our divide, easing poverty and saving the planet.

If after you read it you are nodding your head and thinking ~ 

By golly, Joy you are a genius! 

please do find a way to get word to the Pope and the MacArthur folks... 

because I would really like to be able to save the world ðŸŒŽand beat Vickie to it! 😜 

[Timing note: I have been working on this project for weeks, Vickie helped me with final edits Monday, and I uploaded it Tuesday night. I had been waiting to finish this post when the I woke up Wednesday morning to an announcement on the Pope's view regarding gay civil unions. So for folks thinking this proposal seems preposterous- I say who knows we might be days away from it coming true- one can always hope! 🙏 ]

Monday, August 3, 2020

What's Your Plan, Man?

President Trump tweeted last week again how the election is going to be fraudulent and that he is even open to discuss delaying the date from November 3rd.
Just inquiring right?

Nope! He has been doing everything he can think of to try and suppress the vote, slow the mail and sow distrust in the election.

It's SO serious that I am now doing what I wouldn't have even thought of before... I will give up in-person voting for mail-in voting. I was originally planning to vote early which I have done a couple of times but there has been a stress on in person voting with less poll workers available and who knows if the virus might flare up again in Illinois.

So yes, Joy Meredith is sacrificing my love of the voting sticker and the buzz of in-person-same-day-voting so that I can make sure my vote is in before November 3rd.

I have a plan to get my signed ballot hand delivered to a drop box the week I receive it. And I will be encouraging my friends and family to do the same.

Voting is not something I take lightly. It was something our forefathers fought a revolution over and our soldiers defend our rights to participate in to this very day.

If you've never voted before now is the perfect time to get registered and make your voice heard. There are very few requirements to be a decent citizen, voting is one of them.

I try very hard to live and let live. And even though I'm opinionated on many subjects I mostly feel like it's none of my business what other people choose to do. But this is different! This year, this election is the difference between getting a pandemic under control and letting ten of thousands more folks in our country die. I won't even harp on the kids in cages and assault on decency. But Trump is clearly not up to the job of running our country so we need to relieve him of that burden.

So what's your plan?

No seriously... What's your plan, man?!

Update 09.21.20: Since I wrote this post I re-evaluated the importance of having the votes tallied the night of Nov 3rd and since there was enough time for me to change my option I will now be doing early in-person voting when that begins in IL. Anyway you do it please make sure you have a plan and get your voted counted this year. Stay safe and healthy ✌📮! 

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Hair is Everything!

2020 has been one crazy year! Geez I mean 6 months 😏 

Heck, don't need to tell you- you know you've been living it too. I mean my goodness. So a couple of weeks ago when I decided I needed a change I went blonde. 

Been having a little bit of an identity crisis ever since. Every time I walk into the bathroom or pass a mirror I scare myself a little. Who is this stranger I'm living with? I know that sounds bizarre but being a brunette was part of my identity. My hair use to match my clothes, my jewelry, my makeup and my personalty. 

Of course I've been pacing myself so I was talking with my friend Vickie about how it feels strange and I might need to switch back after the summer because it so doesn't feel like me. And I made the mistake of off handedly saying luckily my hair grows fast and it's never freaked me out to try different looks-- who cares it's just hair. Ha! She immediately reminded me: Hair is everything! 

If you want to change your life, change your life.  
It's not going to happen in here.         

Ah, Anthony, true so true! Well kind of...

Because yes, hair can't change everything in your life, but it can change some of your life. It can change a few things. It can change how you see yourself and be the catalyst to jump start the other things you want to change.

That is afterall the reason why when they do a TV makeover the most drastic change is the hair which then matches the new outfit which is then accentuated by the new makeup which leads to the new swagger and sway of a self confident awakening in someone who had been blind to their awesomeness and beauty.

We all get used to ourselves. Numb to our fabulousness. Dull.

I refuse to let a pandemic and our country in upheaval ruin my year or my decade to come. Yes, we need to wear a mask, re-educate ourselves in our use of antiracist rhetoric and actions, and gear up for a life-changing election... but we also need to reinvest in ourselves. Take this pause as a sign we might be in need of a change.

Hair is simple (ok, yes it did take 5 steps) and a fixable chance to take to tweak your life. To try on a new YOU. To see if there is a fresher, more joyful way to be in the world. And now is the time to go for it. Some Clairol and some nerve and voila!

As I had guessed this pause is going to be a bumpy ride and no one knows when we'll be fully open and operating at normal again. We will surely need to not just re-imagine ourselves but the world we go back into. It is scary but also an exciting time to explore what might be possible.

It's not time to sell everything and move to Walden Pond just yet... but why not take a chance now so that when things are more normal you at least experimented with a different way of being. Don't go back to same old, same old. That is so last decade.

What can you try on to mark this time of transition for yourself? What kickstart do you need to feel your best? Because darling... if you look good, you'll feel good and when you feel good you can do anything you set your mind to.
Even change this crazy, dysfunctional world... and that my dear is

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Pace Yourself

My motto for this surreal time in our lives to myself or anyone I speak with is: pace yourself.

In early March I had been at a conference in Houston (traveling through two airports) just when the rumblings that we were going to need to be more careful with handshaking had begun. Most thought it was just hype. No urgency, little concern.

By March 12th I had been sent home from work sick-  still believe it was just a regular cold as I never got a fever or the cough. Since that time most people have also been sent home. Now that we're in week 7,  just pacing myself has kept me sane (-ish 😜).

Here's what I mean by that.. be concerned when things warrant it, laid back when they don't. Rise to the occasion if I'm needed, let things go when I'm not. I check in with my friends that are essential workers or having a hard time but don't get dramatic- not helpful. I'm working during the day and zooming most nights, but if I need to handle something I do it when the timing is right not necessarily by the clock on the wall.

People are anxious to get back into their routines, their offices/jobs, get their hair done and be served a sit down meal- I get it. I do. Not everyone thrives in their homes all day. This is where my gift for calmness kicks in. I can live like this for a very long time. Don't want to, but I can. And I know we all have different lifestyles and concerns but in order to not drive ourselves nuts we need to find the pace that works for us. Here's a couple of things that have worked for me or that I'm at least trying to practice:

  • Meditation: I am a regular meditator but I've been even more diligent about checking in with my zen while this craziness is all around us. Normally I use Headspace but I've been grateful that this Oprah & Deepak Hope In Uncertain Times one is now free to use. If you're tense- or even if you think you're not -deep breaths make everything better (of course away from others). 😌🙏
  • Weekdays: Staying away from junk food (chocolate, sugar, chips) or alcohol during the week. And in bed by 11. Find what feels good for you so you're not beating yourself up but still staying as healthy as you can.
  • Zooming: I'm on video-conferencing during the day for meetings and co-worker communications but now I am keeping in touch with my family and friends most nights as well. To keep things fun my family and I are doing theme calls (above was hat day). Take advantage of the tech that makes it possible to see people even when you're not seeing people. 
  • Music: There is a singer I adore 😍who I see once or twice a year when I visit my sister in WI but now he's doing Facebook live shows so every Saturday I make myself an adult beverage, grab a little organizing project to do and sing and dance around the house and rock out with Phil Calkins.
    • The other thing I've been really enjoying is cleaning to Parisian tunes. Makes me feel like I'm somewhere else even while folding laundry. 🎶
  • Flowers: We need live things in our life so if you don't have a pet or person in your space grab some plants or flowers to pep up your place. It's a small expense (esp. at Trader Joes) for a much more happy day. 🌺😊🌷
  • Love List: No need to wait until Thanksgiving! Make a list of the people you love and pick a couple to check in with each week. Doesn't need to be long talk, but call them and tell them you love them. Priceless! 🥰
  • Forgive Everyone: Good idea even when not in a pandemic but especially great reminder- life is precious and most folks are doing their best. If this was actually the end of the world what would you want to have had said? 

These days I am not even pretending to play a doctor on Twitter- I really have no idea how the rest of the year is going to go. But I believe it's going to be a lot longer to get back to some sort of normal then most think; I'm guessing at least a year. So I'm doing what I can: being in touch with those I love, keeping expenses low, trying to be understanding of others moods and concerns, and mostly taking care of myself so I can take care of others when needed and others don't need to take care of me. 

This pause is a great time to declutter the rest of your home, reevaluate your lifestyle (mapping helps 😉), get back to essentialism, and rejoice in how grateful we are to be alive and well and living through this unprecedented time. 

And if that's too much to contemplate- no worries... just pace yourself however is going to work for you. Because I know it feels sad but it could be so so much worse.  All you need to do is live through this pandemic. Not perfectly, not even gracefully on days that's not possible, but just get through it. 

This isn't a sprint, isn't even a marathon, this might be our new way to be in the world. Instead of running yourself down find what will make that ok for you. For me, I've found to make JOY out of this situation I need to pace myself

Stay healthy, well and joyful ðŸ¤—

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Theme 2020

The past decade was filled with lots of good, lots of love, much fun, and as is with being human, some deep sadness as well. 
I always love a new year but I'm extra excited to start 2020 because its name is part theme in itself! So cheers to creating a vision of even more happiness, more appreciation and more love ❤️🤍💗
JOY Only to me means to focus on the good in people, avoid the drama, be the most myself I can be and most importantly to keep things in perspective. Get it: 2020, focus, perspective.
I've got a vision of this decade as my happiest and most fulfilling ever. Thanks for the inspiration Garry Shandling!

And since I've lost my Mom, several people I've loved and a version of a life I thought I was going to have for myself... all in this past decade... it's just another reminder we only have so much time, energy and life to live. 

JOY is the most important thing for me at this time in my life and luckily my mother's lasting gift was reminding it's a part of me wherever I go. 

Cheers to 2020!!! and to 
 JOY Only  ðŸ™☺️🎊