In Loving memory of Joyce Angel Dolinger, my Mom… 8/24/33 – 4/4/11
I don’t think you need to hire a psychologist to sift through the writings of the Large Man to figure out how I feel about women. If you are new to the Chronicles, and you don’t know me that well yet, I’ll front you some insight: I like women. I like all women…a lot.
I love my wife. I adore baby girls, and I like just plain girls too. I like ladies, I like broads, and I like grandmothers. I like my mother-in-law, I like her sisters, and I like their daughters. I like my aunts, and all my girl cousins, I love my sister, and her daughters too. I like my neighbor’s wives – every one of them, I like my boss’ wife, I like my daughter’s friends, I like the women I work with, and I like the wives of the dudes I work with. If they are women; I like teachers, I like nurses, and I like bricklayers, race car drivers, doctors, some lawyers, and waitresses. (I REALLY like waitresses –‘cause I like food and beer too) I love housewives; I like single moms, married moms, working moms, expecting moms, and new moms, and of course, I love my mom.
I’m sure the love of all these women comes from the relationship with my mom; this seems to make sense. My love of the ladies has to come from the love of my mom, or maybe a little of my need to be loved by my Mom. I’m not completely sure. Whatever it is, the root of this fixation will have to be tracked and figured out by some Freudian disciplined shrink sometime in the future…I hope she’s hot. I love hot shrinks.
If you don’t know my Mom very well, the thing you would find most remarkable about her is her unfiltered honesty. Many people refer to this kind of honesty as brutal. That’s not really the case with my Mom, if you ask her a question, she will simply reply to your question with what she really thinks – she will most likely NOT tell you what you want to hear. When people are as honest as my mom they can seem difficult to figure out – or simply difficult. They’re difficult to figure out because there’s nothing to figure out. What you see (or more likely what you hear) is what you get, and if you don’t get it at first, she can clarify things quickly for you. This kind of truth can jack with your equilibrium, and leave you a little off-balance.
That kind of honesty also allows you real clarity on both sides of the windshield. That honesty scrubs away all the smooshed bugs and road dust of life, and if you know nothing else, you know that my mom likes you…or doesn’t, and you know whether or not you like her. You won’t have to figure it out over a long period of time. Not everybody likes this trait, I do. I wish I was more like her.
Despite my self-deprecating sense of humor, I do believe I have a couple of decent qualities – maybe three. My mother’s unconditional honesty is not one of them – I’m not even sure I would classify that as a quality for me – it works for her, but I’m not strong enough to pull that one off. Her capacity for unconditional love however, is a quality, and I got me some of that! If I love you, you know you are loved, and that love stays.
I’ve picked up a few other things from this woman over the years that stuck too. Things that forged who I am, things that I like about me – those “core” kinds of things that last. Those things make me so thankful for my Mom.
I am thankful for the fact that I won’t be treated poorly. If you treat me poorly, disrespectfully, or rudely, I won’t travel with that baggage for very long. I work in a job that requires some compromise from time to time, and that’s OK. Every now and then the world I work in can create some confrontation; this requires a little patience and flexibility – mostly on my part because of my role as a sales guy, and that’s OK. In my working world, your private world, and anybody’s any world, there is no necessity or reason for stripping away someone’s dignity – that’s not OK. I won’t tolerate it. I have been around people who do, and I find it so sad. I can tolerate an incident; I can even tolerate a bad day or a challenging week, but I refuse to tolerate that kind of environment. My mom gave me that gift. She doesn’t take any shit – never did. I don’t either – never will. I like that about myself. With God (and my Mom) as my witness, I’m going to like that about my kids too.
I’m also thankful that it never occurred to my Mom that she couldn’t climb out of the Civil Service clerical pool at the Pentagon and become a GS-15 Procurement Officer with the Department of Defense; so she did. It never occurred to my Mom that because she was a retired woman at the age of 66 it probably didn’t make a lot of sense to go to college; so she did. And while researching a term paper in her Sociology class, it didn’t occur to her that a 120 pound 66-year-old woman shouldn’t go – BY HERSELF – into a migrant workers camp to interview real people about the real conditions that they were living in, and their real fears about the world around them, so she did. It didn’t occur to her professor that the student who would have the most profound impact on his Sociology class would be a retired, fearless, relentless, 66-year-old, 120 pound woman…but she did.
My Mom is a fearless badass. I didn’t get much of that, but…on the other hand…
…I don’t think there is any reason I shouldn’t write a blog, publish it on the internet, call it The Large Man Chronicles, and expect it to mean something to someone other than myself. I might even get paid to write this stuff one day. Why not? Other people have done it. Why not me?
It never occurred to me that I needed to have an MBA to be successful in my day job – that’s not in any way meant to devalue someone else’s education, I’m simply stating that it didn’t register in my head that I wouldn’t be as successful as others in my field because I didn’t have the same education credentials. I have never “peed down my leg” when I’ve presented something to a room full of “big boys”. I have never been nervous for a job interview, and if my flag football team is down by 6 points with 20 seconds to go, I want DJ to throw me the ball – even though I’m the slowest guy on the field. I rarely let the fear of inadequacy into my kitchen, when that fear does show up, I cook the meal anyway. Thanks Mom!
I have an old friend who is this amazing artist – but he refuses to show his work until he gets his degree… in Art. He has always believed that a degree would give his work more credibility. I wish I could express how much I respected his thought process…if I did…but I don’t. Are you f-ing kidding me? Not to strip away the man’s dignity, but what a dumbass! What a waste. To date, he hasn’t finished his degree, so he deprives the world of his amazing talent, and he deprives himself the fulfillment that comes with success. All because there is a tape recording in his head telling him he can’t or shouldn’t, “because...” I guess he’s not really a dumbass; he just didn’t have my Mom.
The tape that plays in my head is a continuous loop of reasons why I can…most of the time it’s my Mom saying, “Why not?” The volume isn’t always as loud as it should be, and there are certainly other voices on that tape – I have had some amazing mentors, supporters, and believers through the years. And of course, every now and then, that tape will give “Doubt” a chance to speak – I’m no Tony Robbins. (Although I am a Large Man) When that happens, it’s my Mom’s voice that pushes “Doubt” to the back of the room and allows me to hear her say, “Why not?” The best gift my mother ever gave me is the gift of what is possible. Thanks again Mom.
A final note on the unconditional love thing…
One of my son’s most respected teachers suggested that he should work on his reading over the Christmas break because he was falling behind the rest of his class on comprehension skills. I shared this with my Mom over the phone one day. My Mom (who had not heard my son read in at least a year or so) replied, “That teacher sounds like she’s trying to get some attention to me. He reads just fine.” End of conversation.
The voice isn’t always rational. Unconditional love probably isn’t rational…except for when it comes to a mother’s love-and especially a Grandmother’s love. My Mom isn’t always right – nobody is. She would be the first to admit it… well…maybe. But that voice is not afraid to be wrong. Why not? That voice believes it’s better to take a bold step and be wrong, than to stay in one place and be nothing.