Friday, April 17, 2015

After The Wedding, It Is REALLY Time To Grow Up!

Dear Tazi:

When I was a child, a unicorn was my imaginary friend. I would watch My Little Pony cartoons and wish I could be magically transported to the land of Ponyville where I could live with all the ponies and their friends. I am now an adult and am preparing to be married. My fiancé is unaware of my imaginary friend, but he is aware of my love of unicorns and has graciously given in to having a unicorn and rainbow themed wedding. The reception hall will be decorated like Ponyville and the wedding favors will be My Little Pony ponies with our names and wedding date airbrushed on the sides.


Welcome to Ponyville!


I realize that all of this sounds like a dream come true, but I am afraid it will all turn into a nightmare after my husband discovers that I have a stuffed unicorn and My Little Pony collection big enough to fill a good sized basement. My mother has held onto my collection for me, but has always said that once I am married with a place of my own she wants her basement back. My fiancé owns his own home, and it is into his house we will be moving after the wedding. His basement is furnished and has a huge bar with a sports theme throughout, including many signed collectibles. I couldn’t possibly ask him to make room for Ponyville – his friends are already giving him a hard time about the Ponyville themed wedding.

Could you please print my letter in your column? I am hoping that my fiancé will see it and realize how important my unicorn and My Little Pony collection is to me, and that he will then offer me room to re-create Ponyville alongside his sports kingdom. It’s the only way I can think of to save Ponyville!

Sincerely,
Pony Girl

Dear Pony Girl:

Men everywhere are going to hate me for printing this letter, but here it is anyway – but only because Hasbro, a Rhode Island based company, makes My Little Pony and I never miss an opportunity to promote a local enterprise.

If you are afraid to ask your fiancé/husband directly for something that should tell you that your request is probably a selfish one. Put yourself in his shoes: Would you give up your Ponyville wedding for a sports-themed extravaganza, complete with mini football helmets for favors? I didn’t think so; therefore, I give my full support to the resounding “NO!” that your fiancé is going to give you. As for what happens to Ponyville, that is up to you and your mother. If she wants her basement back, I suggest you box it up and rent a storage facility; or better yet donate your collection to the local children’s hospital, so a new generation of children can enjoy these wonderful toys and so you can feel the fulfillment that comes with letting go in order to help others.

Snuggles,
Tazi

P.S. Your fiancé sounds like a saint!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Life A "Cluster-Fluke" For Woman Who Believed Unfounded Gossip

Dear Tazi:

My life has turned into one big, giant cluster-fluke and I need some help sorting things out. I come from a large family with several sisters and many female cousins; we all grew up very close and that closeness has not faded, even though we are now all adults with families of our own.

My problem started about two years ago, right after my youngest sister got married. Her husband “Sam” told me that, as much as it pained him to say it, he had to let me know that my cousin “Marcy” was gossiping about me and my sisters, telling him all kinds of dirty laundry as her way of welcoming him to the family. Although I had never known Marcy to gossip I had no reason to believe that Sam would lie about her, so I believed Sam.

Rather than confronting Marcy directly, I needled her every chance I got. If she commented on my Facebook page or pictures I posted, I would attack her – right there on my page, not in a private message – for some imagined slight in her words. When she apologized, I saw it as my chance to attack her further. Finally, Marcy got sick of it and told me that she “apparently only opens her mouth to change feet” and would stop posting anything to my page. I took this as an opportunity to gleefully and publicly announce that was going to unfriend her, since looking without commenting is creeping, and then I did just that. That was a year and a half ago, and I have not spoken to Marcy since.

Over the last year and a half my marriage has taken a downward spiral as my husband finds more and more reasons to stay out of the house and away from me and the kids. I have not said anything to my family, who think my marriage is picture-perfect – a façade I can uphold because I live an hour and a half away from the rest of my family. However, I live in a small town where nobody’s business is private and everyone here knows how much time my husband spends down at the bar. Enter Marcy, who just got a new job working in my small town.

The rest of our family does not know that we are not speaking; they just assume that we never see each other because we are both too busy to visit. When I heard Marcy was working in my town, I waited for her outside of work one night to talk to her, face-to-face, and tell her that I would appreciate it if she did not gossip about me to the rest of the family; that anything she heard in town should stay in town. Marcy looked at me icily and replied, “I have never gossiped about you in the past, why would I start now?” She asked me to give her regards to my Mom, got in her car, and drove off, leaving me to wonder if Marcy had forgotten all of the cruel things she had said about me and my sisters or if Sam had by lying about it.

I have been unable to get a moment’s peace since that conversation with Marcy. I need to know if she was telling the truth or if Sam’s story is the real one. I am worried that Marcy will tell my family about my marital issues (she has to know, everyone else in town does). If she is a gossip, she must have sworn everyone she told to secrecy; no phone calls from family have come in yet. If she is not a gossip, this means Sam was lying to me – but I have no idea why! I have noticed that Sam likes to be the center of attention, but he usually just blows his own horn and brags; I have never heard him put someone else down or tell tales about them.

So, to recap: my marriage is secretly a mess, the cousin I scolded into humiliation is the only family member who knows this, she may be a gossip but my brother-in-law might be lying and I have no idea which is true so I have no idea who to confront, nor do I know if my private business is going to be the next topic at the family barbecue! 

Signed,
Bothered And Bewildered

Dear Bothered And Bewildered:

Wow. You are living quite a soap opera, aren't you? The worst part of all this is that you have brought it upon yourself by believing…gossip about Marcy! When Sam came to you with an unfounded – and difficult to believe – accusation that Marcy was gossiping about you he in turn was spreading a rumor about Marcy; instead of approaching Marcy and sorting out all the confusion, you acted as judge and jury and condemned her on the spot. Using Facebook as a vehicle for your anger was cruel and childish and only served to further the gap between the two of you; I am reminded of the William Blake poem “A Poison Tree”. Do the lines ring familiar to you?


The first thing you need to do is trust your instincts. You say you have never known Marcy to gossip, so ask yourself why she would start. If you can’t think of a reason, give her the benefit of the doubt and approach Sam. Ask him point blank – as you should have to begin with – exactly what Marcy said about you and your sisters. If it was so harsh that he felt the need to tell you, I doubt his memory will have completely faded by now. If he tried to “save” you from hearing the details or uses any other kind of stalling tactic, there is a good chance he is lying to you. Why he is lying is not important; maybe he just doesn’t like Marcy for whatever reason, some relationships are like that. However, you cannot allow him to destroy your relationship with Marcy over (possibly) untruthful and (in my opinion) mean-spirited statements.

The next thing to do is to go see Marcy. You know where she works, so why not ask her to join you for coffee after work? I am sure she would love to see your kids again. Tell her that you owe her an apology for taking out your temper on her in such a public way, and tell her that you should have asked her about this in private two years ago: Did she ever gossip about you and your sisters, even to other family members? You do not have to tell her it was Sam who suggested that she was a gossip because she probably already knows, judging by her reaction to you in the parking lot of her job. Whatever Marcy tells you, accept her at her word – and accept that this relationship needs repair, starting with the two of you letting go of your anger towards each other.

 Anger is a funny thing…we may think nobody knows about it but it can fester and affect the relationships we have with those around us – including a spouse. Could your husband want to spend less and less time at home because your attitude has changed over the last year and a half? Look deep for the answers; ask him to accompany you to a few counseling sessions to get to the root of your problems or even go by yourself to figure out why you were so quick to believe someone else’s gossip and so slow to let go of your anger.

Snuggles,
Tazi

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Gardener Needs To Grow A Heart Full Of Caring

Dear Tazi:

I am an avid gardener who grows everything from seeds. I live in an apartment, and every spring I plant my vegetables and herbs in pots on my large balcony. Since I have limited space, I only plant a few of each crop - tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, peppers, lettuce, etc. as well as various herbs for cooking. My vine vegetables hang down off of the balcony, but I keep them trimmed so they are not encroaching on my downstairs neighbors' space.

Every year, my neighbors admire my garden and tell my how lovely it looks. I always offer to show them how to plant and tend to their own gardens, and a few have even taken me up on the offer! Invariably, some people will always ask me to "share" any extra vegetables, but I tell them that I really don't have any extra - my husband and children love fresh veggies and eat them as soon as they are picked!

I have one neighbor who just does not get the message that my vegetables are for my family, not the neighbors. She will admire my garden, comment on how much money I must save growing my own veggies, talk about the high cost of food nowadays, and always ask for some of what I have grown. I politely refuse her and offer to show her how to grow her own garden, but she argues that she does not have the time to tend a garden, and that she does not have a "green thumb".

The growing season has begun again, and I am once again expecting my neighbor to not-so-subtly hint that she would like a portion of my garden's bounty. Short of telling her off, how can I get it through her head that my vegetables are not up for grabs?

Signed,
Urban Gardener

Dear Urban Gardener:

Your family must eat a lot of vegetables in order to go through the bounty of a few of each plant! My Mommie keeps a vegetable garden, so I know that a single tomato plant can result in over 30 tomatoes a month! Her cucumber plants result in even more, and her summer squash plants, while not so bountiful, do grow large fruits. I will give you the benefit of the doubt, though, and assume that you and your family do, indeed, devour all of these veggies.

It sounds to me that your neighbor is having difficulty keeping up with her food bills, and is hoping that you might share what appears to be excess. Fresh vegetables are expensive, and herbs even more so. Rather than shoot down your neighbor, might you plant an extra seed or two and present your neighbor with some seedlings and watering instructions? Tomatoes and cucumbers are hearty plants that do not require a whole lot of attention, just daily watering and plenty of sun. Once she realizes that she can successfully grow her own she will be more inclined to try, and thus less inclined to constantly ask you for your veggies. The extra effort put forth on your part will result in a harvest of good-will among your neighbors, and a good feeling in your heart knowing that you have helped someone in need. Consider the favors others have granted you in your life, and consider this a way of paying it forward.



Snuggles,
Tazi

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.