The Name Game…

hello-my-name-isWonderful news!  His parents have accepted our marriage!

But wait!  There’s more!

Apparently, his mother will only accept it if I follow family tradition and change my first name upon marrying Bear!  😦

Apparently, some families in Maharashtra follow this tradition/custom.  Bear’s family is one of those.

Bear and I had discussed this possibility a long time back when I first heard of it from another source and asked him if his family also follow this tradition.  He had said yes, but that it wasn’t compulsory for me to do so.

Nevertheless, I contemplated it.

The name he had chosen for me should I accept the change was a beautiful one and somewhat sounded like my real name (or my American one).

But my father, of whom I am deeply attached, gave me my name.  He had argued with my mother for days in order to win this particular battle…and he got his wish.  I was given the name he had chosen for me long before he even knew there was a me to name.

My father has been my saving grace over the years.  The one I went to for advice on all things (boys, makeup, and math).  I felt closer to my father than I ever did my mother.  My father was my knight in shining armor.  Always there to fight my battles when I couldn’t do it for myself.  My champion of light.  My father is truly one of the best men in my eyes…and I just couldn’t give up the name he had given to me.  It would destroy him.

You see, when I was younger I hated my first name.  It’s very old fashioned, especially during my youth.  I got picked on A LOT for it.  So I once asked him if I could change it.  He became very serious, his eyes misted up a little bit and he told me how much he loved my name and asked me if I knew it’s meaning.  I said no.  “Worthy of Love”….was his reply.  He told me how he had wanted that name for as long as he could remember and how much my name fitted me.  He said that someday, I would see how beautiful it really was and how true its meaning could be.  And he was right.  That day did come and I loved my name as much as he did.  Even if it took me growing up to see it.

And when I told him that I would be moving to India to be with my soon to be husband, he again became emotional and with tears in his voice, he said “I want you to be happy with all my heart, but I’m so afraid we will only see each other a few times before I die if you move so far away”.  I knew, without him saying anything else, how much my decision to live in India with Bear was hurting my father.  How scared he was.  And I saw how much he was giving up to let me go.  To let me go and live the life he helped give.

It’s because of these things that I know without asking, how very much my giving up my name would hurt my father.

And so I told Bear that I couldn’t do this.  That I thought about it and the reasons why I felt I couldn’t change my name once we were married.  Even though I liked the name he chose for me very much.  I explained that I would be “Aurora” in my heart forever.

And Bear agreed.  He said he had fallen in love with “Aurora” and wouldn’t want that to change if I did not wish it to.

And now this.

JUST when you think you’ve won the war, a new little skirmish comes up to kick you in the pants!

Except this was a big skirmish and I know it’s important to his family for me to do this “one thing” for them.  The only thing that they are asking for.  And they have been very sure to point that out.  That’s it’s the only thing that are asking for from me.

Can we say Guilt Trip boys and girls?  I knew you could.

But you know what?  No matter what, I know what is right.  I know what my value’s are.  And I know I made the right decision.  So I stand by it.  I will not change my name legally.  So I told them that they could all call me by this new name that Bear has chosen, that they can even introduce me to THEIR friends by this new name, but legally and to my friends and family I will remain “Aurora”.

Mom and Dad were NOT pleased with this.  And they relayed this information through Bear and Bhau (means brother in Hindi – in this case it’s Bear’s brother).

So I told all of my feelings to Bhau and to Bhabhi.  And they understand and agreed that this is fair, my wanting to keep it legally and allowing family to call me by the new name.  So they are once again stepping in for me and speaking to the parents to try to make them understand that I am not disrespecting the family by refusing, I am showing my respect for my family while still trying to respect his.

Let’s all pray that they can understand this and agree.

The other good news is that now Bhau will be coming to the wedding.  Bhabhi cannot because she just had a child.  This makes me sad.  I want to meet the woman who made things so much better for us all.  I want her to be there for this.  But we will have Bhau and through him….Bhabhi.

The countdown is on now people.  Let’s see just how sane I can remain!

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I’ve temporarily misplaced my Work Ethic…on purpose.

Work Ethics...redifined

Work Ethics...redifined

Work Ethics and Corporate Sloth by Living Me 101

I read this blog and it was like I was writing it myself.

Except that I no longer work for a company that sees me as an individual.  That was my before.  I was laid off from the dream job that I didn’t want to loose.  Now I work as a corporate number for an extremely huge (and ponderous and clumsy in my opinion) company making six figures and hating EVERY SINGLE MOMENT of it.

I have a deeply ingrained work ethic, my job is not just my job it’s my responsibility.  I take full responsibility for anything and everything with relation to my position.  Delivered a product and missed a bug?  Completely my fault.  If everything went off without a hitch…it was a team effort.  I took pride in what I did.  Ultimately, I was the last bastion of hope when it came to getting what the client wanted in a timely manner and with little to no issues attached.  I LOVED that work.  Now…I’m a data monkey.  Anybody could do this job.  For the past 7 months, I’ve sit here, looking around and wondering why the hell they needed to hire me in the first place.  The work I do is unrewarding, repetitive, and it could have been easily parceled out to the employees already hired.  No reason to pay extra mullah for a contractor.  But this is just one example of the wasteful nature of this company.  I’m surprised at it.  This is definitely NOT a tightly run ship.  It’s more like a behemoth that has gotten out of control and is trumping through downtown Los Angeles and they have to call in Kurt Russell to save the President because the Governator Arnold is off shooting the new Terminator.  J  ha ha ha  You get the point.

But to be quite honest, I’ve had to teach their own employees some things that I always thought of as simple (but to them is horrendously hard), I’ve created about 20 in depth training documents and power points for their use when once I’m gone (The Beer Truck theory…if we all went for a drink at Dave and Busters, and got hit by a Beer Truck on the way…would just anybody be able to do our work with the documents we left we behind?  That’s the theory…step by step, in depth and concise documentation).  I’m essentially doing the dirty work that none of them really wanted to play with before because they were too busy “working from home” or taking 2 hour work lunches or taking those stupid leadership classes online or (my all time favorites) going to pre-meetings, meetings and post meetings.  They have a meeting to discuss having a pre-meeting.

So, I quit caring about work for the time being.  It’s the only way I can continue to come into this place.  It’s the only way I can preserve and maintain my sanity.  I come in, I do my work, I leave.  I sometimes feel a little bit guilty (like right now when I could be running a monkey report instead of blogging) but then I look around me and the contempt comes crawling back up to lodge in the back of my throat.  I’m choking on it.  The lack of respect that I have for this company will be the death of my track record for exceptional work place integrity.  And I don’t care!

I miss the thrill of my last job.  It was hard work, I worked long hours, I was stressed over deadlines or bug’s most of the time….but damn I was happy!  We had Beer O’clock Friday’s at 3:30.  Granted I don’t drink, but I always came to hang out with the crew while they talked completely politically incorrect office talk.  We had lunch catered on Wednesday’s.  We had impromptu cube fights.  We had foot races in the parking lot.  We destroyed each other’s cubes with tin foil or thousands of balloons (and yes, we did this to my boss who is the Director of the entire Development and Delivery Team).   We had a game room with a foosball table, a pool table and a 42’ flat screen with Wii.  I used to kick my manager’s butt at Wii Golf.  The people made the difference.  We worked hard and played hard.  We argued over deliverables or designs or what platform to use.  But we still worked as a team, holding each other in respect even when we wanted to yell our heads off at them.  Our manager’s and directors would play with us as well as work.  They wanted to know what we did.  They would sit in to watch us work and asked real questions about what they could do to make our work lives better.  They asked US what OUR opinions were on making a better business.  They knew our families.  Heck….we WERE a family.  I loved going to work everyday.

And then the corporate dog, the parent company who bought us out for our intelligence and unique abilities for web hosted clients…decided that they could do some of our work themselves.  And so the lay-offs began and the clients started having complaints over larger amounts of issues, server down time, web-designs, and data integrity….all of that.  So the corporate dog lay-off more of our people to make up for the clients that they had lost (which we had had for YEARS and then lost once we were bought out and the new company started screwing things up).  They didn’t lay off their people who were screwing things up…no, no, no, no….they laid off our people who knew the structure of our product.  Smart nah?  Highly intelligent.  Absolutely.  Now both companies are in trouble.  And it’s sad…my old company was the perfect combination of hard work, ingenuity, creativity and personality.

Now, I work in a job where creativity is down-played because if you came up with that new fangled idea, you most likely did it at work and THAT takes away from the other monkey work that the managers want you to do.  Now I work for a company where people are more concerned with the “empty big shot talk” (you know the talk I mean…where it sounds great but mean absolutely nothing).  Now…I am almost always late.  I hate waking up in the morning.  I stay up late each night thinking that I deserve just ONE MORE HOUR of rest because of all the hours of BS that I put up with at work during the day.  I’m exhausted.  Emotionally and Physically.

And I can’t wait for my contract to be up.

Even if it means I will loose my apartment and have to move in with family…which I haven’t done in almost 20 years.

I’ll do it with a smile on my face this time.

Thanks to Leese at Living Me101 for her post…God it feels so good to know that someone else is having the same feelings and going through the same thing.  YAY!!!!!!!!!  J

And just for fun….

Giving 100% From a strictly mathematical point of view it goes like this:

What makes 100%? What does it mean to give more then 100%? Ever wonder about people who say they are giving more then 100%?

We have all had those experiences where someone wants you to give more thern 100%

How about achieving 103%?

What makes up 100% in life?

If:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z is represented as:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 200 21 22 23 24 25 26.

Then:

H-A-R-D-W-O-R-K
8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%

and

K-N-O-W-L-E-D-G-E
11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%

But,

A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E
1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%

And

B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T
21+12+12+19+8+9+20 = 103%

AND, look how far assskissing will take you.

A-S-S-K-I-S-S-I-N-G
1+19+19+11+9+19+19+9+14+7 = 118%

So, one can then conclude with mathematical certaincy that:

While hard work and knowledge will get you close,
and, attitude will get you there,
bullshit and asskissing will put you over the top.

**Addendum** After re-reading this I realized that I sounded realllllly whiny.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  I’m not bemoaning my job, I’m glad to have one…I think what I was trying to say in this post is that this economy has forced me to work for a company who’s morals and ethics do not fit my own.  This in turn has made me miserable.  I don’t condone people not working because a job is less than glamorous…what I do have an issue with is someone working in a place which severely goes against their own moral fiber and work ethics.  The job I’m in presently fits that bill.  I would be happy working at anything…be it Mickey Dee’s to the US Government…but what I can’t stand is working for hypercritical, wasteful, judgemental, stifling, prejudiced, favoritism using blockheads.

Intricacies of Family

Freedom

Freedom

Freedom of Choice.  That is one of the few laws in which God and Congress agree on.  That we all are free to chose.  However, in most cases this freedom comes with a price and that is if you disagree with what someone else’s beliefs or wants…there will be consequences.  So are we really as free as we think we are?  Or are we only deluding ourselves.

One of the biggest issues with any relationship, be it intercultural or not, is the issue with family.

Definition of Family:  parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not.

It is somehow ingrained in us, whether it is a learned behavior or a genetic one that we must feel a sense of obligation to the people who bore and raised us.  The people, who clothed us, fed us, comforted us and cared for us.

Somewhere along the line though, we loose the understanding that we are also obligated to ourselves.  As individuals, we have a tendency of feeling guilt or selfishness if we set aside the needs of another in order to better fulfill our own needs.  And then when the time comes that we start asking “What about me???” we suffer through the feeling of being ill-used, taken for granted and misunderstood.  We continue to feel that way until someone is in need of us and the cycle begins all over again.  Perhaps before that last cycle, we even start doing little things for ourselves…but then the consciousness that sounds so much like our mother or father…speaking to us in our own thoughts…pipes up and tells you how ashamed of yourself you should be.  Aren’t there starving children in China?  And yet you are buying some elaborate food that you know you don’t need.  There are children with no clothes and you are spending money on a jacket you don’t need?  There are children with nothing and you are getting a pedicure?  Or perhaps, you overhear a “well-meaning” friend who says (just barely out of earshot) how selfish you have become…you didn’t even invite her to go with you for the pedicure!

Either way, we almost always find our way back to the cycle and begin it all over again.

And there seems to be a master manipulator in every family.  You know the type I’m talking about…that one person in the family who seems to have gotten their Masters and PhD in Manipulation and Guilt Trips.  Every family has them.  Some have more than one.  In my family, it is my Mother.  My parents stayed together until I was out of the house leaving just my much younger brother to fend for himself until my father finally decided to leave and my brother went with him.  But to be quite honest, I started asking my father at the age of 8 or 9 whether or not we could divorce mommy.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother very much.  But I swear that if, when I “grow up”,  I am in any way, shape or form like her in her bad moments, I will commit myself immediately and take whatever mood enhancing drug they put in front of my face.

My mother would make her life seem far worse, the people that she knew were far more ill, her life was far harder, whatever it took so that when she “competed” against other people in the pity party department…she could be assured of winning.  And also, she would look like either a Saint or a Martyr living her life as she did.  Nothing was ever…EVER her fault.  It was my fault.  Or my father’s fault.  Or Grandma’s or Grandpa’s or the neighbor’s or the dogs….ANYBODY’S fault but HER’S.

But her personality was a beautiful one and when she was in a good mood, she could be great fun.  She always came up with the best games or the best ideas for places to go.  She was always willing to try something new with us kids.  She wasn’t afraid of a little dirt or a big mess.  Then again…getting her to clean up that mess afterwards was sometimes a bit of a chore.

Over the years, my mother also learned to become the greatest manipulator this world has ever seen or will ever know.

Note:  this is obviously the opinion of someone who had to live with her…I’m sure everyone feels the same way about their own family manipulator

Being that I did not, have not and will never, do well with authoritative behavior, with demanding and controlling personalities, my mother and I did not get along very well.  So I spent more time with my dad.  With my dad, I learned about football, spark plugs, fixing cars and building things with wood, mowing the grass, changing oil or playing golf.  I would much rather throw my hair back in sloppy pig tail and take off on my trusty blue silver steel monster ‘Traveler’ (my trusty metal horse…which was actually a boys dirt bike which my dad had put a girls seat on for me), than to sit around in the house learning how to put on makeup or curl my hair.

My mother couldn’t seem to find a balance between teaching me things and letting me be ME and because of this, she had a hard time finding reasons for us to spend time together and bond.  However, my father did…which made an even deeper wedge between my mother and me.  I know, eventually, she didn’t feel she understood me at all.  When I finally started becoming interested in ‘girl stuff’, I didn’t ask for her help.  I asked my dad.  The poor man would stand in the makeup aisle at Woolworths’ or Roses and stare at blue sparkly eye shadow or pink rose lip gloss and wonder what planet he had landed on.  I remember one time; he brought me home green eye shadow, green eyeliner and green mascara.  When I asked him why…he said that he knew green was my favorite color and this way I could match.  I wore that stuff three days out of the week…and yes, all at once.

My mother on the other hand, would try to make me a fashion plate, but HER version of fashion.  She read that colored jeans and cowboy boots were ‘IN’, so she ran right out and bought me a teal and yellow stripped Izod shirt, banana yellow jeans and a pair of suede, teal colored cowboy boots.  She proudly showed this outfit to me and was actually mad at me when I said that I liked all the pieces…but SEPERATELY.  I could never wear them together for God’s sake.  Oh, I forgot to mention that she also got a two for one deal on the boots, so I got a pair of puffy iridescent purple high tops.  Those things glimmered ok?  Picture a purple shimmery version of the shoes Mork from Ork wore and you get the idea.  Can we say Shazbot???  I knew you could.

Note:  HELLO???!!!!!  We are talking about the 80’s…these things were at least semi-cool back then.  Today they would have gotten me killed.  But I also had bangs that were two feet higher than my head.  I could go to bed for three nights running and not have to do more than give a quick re-tease to my hair to have it back in 80’s high fashion.  Plus, I invested in Lacquer Hair Spray…which only hairdresser’s could get and my mom is a hairdresser.  I know you’re jealous!  😛

When I lived at home, it was easy for my mother to control me, as I didn’t have any other place to go and she knew it.  I couldn’t move out and I could only appeal to Dad so much for intervention.

But even at a very young age, I began learning that while being respectful to my mother and her wishes was important, I still needed to be true to myself.  I began arguing with her.  I began disagreeing with her.  I began openly going against her if I felt that what she was asking or requesting of me went against who I was as a person.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about chores or things of that nature…sure, I was a teenager and I didn’t like doing that stuff…but I still did it even if I grumbled some too.

But my mouth would get me into trouble, and my balking at her absolute and authoritative rule did not go far in winning me over with her.  We had some tremendous fights.  I learned to start defending myself and saying NO to certain behavior.  I started protecting my brother in the same way.  I began taking my grievances to the higher authority (Dad) and then paying for it later when he wasn’t around.  When I finally left my parents home, I told my mother that she would never again have that much control over my life and that the sooner she accepted that, the happier she would be.  It would take her three more years to finally come to terms with that and in some ways she still never has.

So, while my Dad totally understood me, or at least tried to, my Mom was busy trying to make into a mini-version of her.  Reliving her misspent youth through a daughter that was nothing like her.  I feel sorry for her actually, I was never as beautiful or girly as she was, I tripped at fashion contests, I sang beautifully but refused to wear makeup or foo foo dresses at talent contests.  I thought boys were for beating up; anything else gave you a serious and possibly fatal case of the cooties.  My mother started dating when she was 14.  I waited another 4 years beyond that until my first date.  My mother is blonde and blue eyed.  I am green eyed with reddish brown hair.  My mother is fair.  I have olive skin tone.  About the only thing we have in common is that my mother is short and I am short.  But I still love her and I still respect her and now that I’m older I do have more in common with her than I ever did growing up.

And there lies the problem.  Now that I am older and more interesting to her because we finally do connect in some ways…she is trying harder than ever to hold on to me.  Keep me in reach of her, within visiting distance.  She sends me job opportunities for my home town and state.  She talks to people about me to see if they have something anything that I could fit into.  And she’s been doing this since before the economy tanked.  She’s been trying to get me to move back home for the past three years.  I’ve explained to her over and over again that the job market back home was never in my field of expertise and it hasn’t changed much since I left.  Did she really want me working in a position that was beneath my skill level?  In a job that bored me?  She would always respond “Of course not Aurora” (she uses my name in order to add emphasis to the tone that she uses which IMPLIES STRONGLY that I am misbehaving and disrespecting her by even asking such a question).

She’s gotten a little less manic about it over the past year, actually ever since I told her that I had finally met “the one” and after years and yeaaaaaars of thinking that I would wind up an old spinster, I was finally engaged.

The trouble started when she learned that this might also lead to me moving to India.  And that is when the proverbial shit hit the proverbial fan.  Accusations, Guilt Trips, Threats and Demands…OH MY!  They started up right away and to be quite honest, I finally started to get sick and tired (I can hear Bill Cosby saying this in my head as I type it) of being treated like I was a teenager still living in her house.

So, I laid down the law and explained to her, in no uncertain terms, that she needed to treat me with the same respect I give to her, and to knock off the condescending tone of voice that she was using.  To which she hung up on me.

Note:  This is classical and text book, when  you become a mother, you will get the revered text book that tells you these things…if daughter/son does this then you do that, it is guaranteed of 90% return on guilt and depression in which the child will back down and 75% do what you say.

Anyway, I called her back and asked her if she liked being hung up on and when she responded no, that is was disrespectful, I told her I felt the same way and that is why I’ve NEVER done this to her.  She hung up on me again.

So I called her back and asked her if she was going to continue this behavior because if so, please just let it go to the answering machine so I can finally say something without hearing the dial tone.  She hung up on me.

So, I called her back and left her a message.  And in it I did something that ate at me like acid through metal.  I told her that until she could show me respect, until she could recognize that I was an adult, until she could accept that I was going to make my own decisions in life and she no longer could control me with either threats or emotional black mail, until these things happened, to not contact me again.  And if that meant that she wasn’t a part of my wedding, that’s what it meant.  And then I hung up.

I also sent her a five page email explaining all the same things in more detail that I had said in the voicemail.  I explained that I had been raised by two amazing people who had instilled in me a level head and the ability to rationalize and research any issue before making a decision.  Did she not trust her own upbringing of me so much that she felt she had to go to these extremes?  To alienate me?  To hurt me?  Or was this not about me at all?  Was this about her and what she wanted?

Who knows, I haven’t heard from her in over a week.

Sure, she started this fight over her concern for my moving to and living in India.  But she brought up old reasons that I had already explained away for her (misconceptions about India, her own prejudices due to ignorance, etc).  She brought those up like I had never even talked with her about them.  I asked her if I was going to have to explain this to her each and every time, if I was going to have to ‘win’ her over each and every time, to PLEASE let me know now so that I can start saving up my energy.  And it wasn’t just that she had concerns, come on….my father and step-mother have them as well (heck…I do, I would be crazy not to).  It’s the WAY in which she expresses them.  When she starts with what my brother and I used to call “THE TONE”, we knew hell was on the way.  She is a master with tone and inflection…but mainly it’s the combination of the words that she uses and the tone of voice that goes with each statement that can drive one mad.

As an example:

…but if you are so far away I’ll never see you again, I’ll die an old woman without seeing her one and only daughter ever again.  And what if something happens to you over there?  How are we supposed to be able to afford to get you back home?  And you know that you are going to be a servant over there…they aren’t going to let you work.  And what about the terrorism?  Did you think about that?  That you could die in a bomb blast while shopping for groceries?  I hope you aren’t planning on letting him take out a life insurance policy on you Aurora Coda, because then anything is possible.  I just don’t UNDERSTAND why you two can’t move here, he could get a job, you could get a job, you could both live with me until you found a home…I just don’t UNDERSTAND.

Even though I’ve explained a million times WHY we couldn’t do that and that we HAD looked into the possibility, I was still getting the same thing from her four months after telling her the first time.

So, what am I to do?  I could sit here all sad and depressed and missing my mommy.  Feeling like I am the most horrid and disrespectful daughter in the whole wide world.

OR

I can understand that this is not my problem…it’s hers.  This isn’t about me moving to another country.  This is about how it will affect her.  This isn’t about my happiness.  It’s about hers.

And why on earth am I going to sit here and allow myself to be affected by someone else’s issues and problems?  I’ve already done everything that I could do to help her feel easier on this situation.

NOTE:  in all actuality, she will see me more once I’m married and in India, than she ever did with me living right here in the US…I’ll be able to come home at least once every two years and for more than a month each time…now I’m lucky if I can afford to take off 1 week and fly home every three years.

So, there you go, I just dumped all my dirty laundry right out here in front of you.

Why?

Because maybe it might help you.  Maybe it won’t.

What my goal here was to show you that you have to live YOUR life.  Not someone else’s.  If they choose to disown you or stop talking to you because of your life choices (I’m talking marriage or moving and the such…not deciding to do drugs or any other illegal activity), then that is THEIR issue…not yours.  It is their decision, not yours.

You are no more ”making” them do something than they are “making” you feel a certain way.  You are feeling a certain way because you are allowing that to happen.

Isn’t time we stop that vicious cycle?  Isn’t it time that we stop allowing other’s to live or rule our lives out of what we think of as obligation to that person?  Isn’t it time that we stop making ourselves and our loved ones miserable?  Isn’t it time that we started living our lives?

I know it’s time for me.  That’s why I’m letting my mother sit in her little stew of negativity and throw her big bad “Ohhh poor me” pity party.  I love her, I’m open to talking to her, but the ball is in her court now.  She has to make the next step.  And if she tries the same old games again, I’ll do the same thing all over again.

Because, this is my life. I am free to live it as I wish.  I will live it.  And by golly, I won’t feel bad for it either!

PS:  I’m testing AlphaInventions by putting this link at the bottom of the post just to see if what they say is true…that you get more readers by linking to their site.  Let’s test this theory.  http://alphainventions.com/life.xml