March 2013

Human Tourniquets And Freaks Who Love Them

by Bill Brenner March 29, 2013 Communication skills for the crazy

I originally wrote this three years ago. Looking at it again, it’s an important post describing a time when not even best friends were safe from my insanity. I’ve updated it for the present.  Mood music: [spotify:track:2YGwSRjcY4Hjz6fktW9619] You know the type. They hang  out with people who act more like abusive spouses than friends. They are human tourniquets. They absorb the pain of their tormentor daily and without complaint. This is the story of the…  [Read More]

Don’t Go Away Mad

by Bill Brenner March 28, 2013 Gratitude

A funny thing happens when people share stories of the not-so-happy moments of their lives: You walk away thinking they’ve experienced nothing but tragedy. In reality, there are plenty of uneventful pages in between the drama. Mood music: One time I was asked to tell my story at a 12-Step meeting. Under the format, you tell your story for about 15 minutes. The first five cover the speaker’s ugly path to addiction, the second five focuses…  [Read More]

Why This Catholic Supports Marriage Equality

by Bill Brenner March 27, 2013 Love

Yesterday many friends changed their Facebook profile pics to a red box with two horizontal lines in the center in support of marriage equality. I did as well, though I was more punk rock about it, selecting a red box with four vertical lines (the logo for the band Black Flag). Mood music: [spotify:track:4kFfFe38CRVnTsakUTL4E4] I doubt all this online activism will influence the US Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage. The justices march to their…  [Read More]

‘This Post Is Escapism and Blame’

by Bill Brenner March 26, 2013 Communication skills for the crazy

A dear friend hated the post I wrote yesterday on how we’re all lousy parents. He found something in every paragraph to disagree with and found the opening particularly offensive. He told me: “Not all of us were raised by lousy parents. Not all of us ARE lousy parents. No matter how one was raised at a certain point your life becomes your own responsibility. Not your parents. Not your genes. Not your phobias. This post,…  [Read More]

We’re All Lousy Parents. The Trick Is To Not Suck Too Much

by Bill Brenner March 25, 2013 Parenting

I’ve had conversations with other parents recently that highlight a fear we all share: Despite our best efforts, we’ll scar our children anyway. Most of us can point to examples of things our parents did to scar us for life, and we’re horrified to find ourselves doing the same things. My father could be a brutal teaser and taskmaster when it came to things like yard work and working in the family warehouse. It always…  [Read More]

Live Like Renee

by Bill Brenner March 24, 2013 Gratitude

Erin and I attended yesterday’s memorial service for our friend Renee Pelletier Costa, who died a couple weeks ago after a 9-year battle against cancer. The last page of the service program was a copy of a letter she wrote about a year and a half ago. It’s a great testimony about staring down death and learning to live in the moment. Read it and stop sweating the little things. Thank you. May we all…  [Read More]

Stuff My Kids (And Other People’s Kids) Say: Tween Edition

by Bill Brenner March 23, 2013 Children's issues

It’s been awhile since I did a “things kids say” post. It’s getting harder to write these because my children have passed the adorable stage and are now well on their way to manhood. In a lot of ways this makes them more amusing than ever. It just took me a few months to adjust to their changes — especially with Sean, who is almost 12 and starting that phase of his life where Dad…  [Read More]

Middle School Principal Was Wrong to Cancel Honors Night

by Bill Brenner March 22, 2013 Communication skills for the crazy

David Fabrizio, principal of Ipswich (Massachusetts) Middle School, canceled his school’s Honors Night because he believes it could be “devastating” to students who work hard but fall short. A lot of parents are understandably angry. Mood music: [spotify:track:6aimUjelUz8F2qdZbTqyS4] Fabrizio has been widely quoted in the press as saying: “The Honors Night, which can be a great sense of pride for the recipients’ families, can also be devastating to a child who has worked extremely hard in…  [Read More]

I Forgot to Trust God, Now I’m Paying for It

by Bill Brenner March 21, 2013 Faith

I got out of bed this morning after another rotten sleep and it hit me: I’ve been having trouble sleeping through the night and controlling daytime anxiety because I’m in one of my classic control freak-outs, in which I get depressed because I am anxious about everything and want to control it all. In other words, I’ve been stewing over things beyond my control and forgetting to put my trust in God. Mood music: [spotify:track:7v0mtl6oInUtHOmTk2b0gC] Big,…  [Read More]

In the Cold Spring, Whine Flows Freely

by Bill Brenner March 20, 2013 Depression

Fellow New Englanders are pissing and moaning about the latest blanket of snow we received yesterday. Today is the first day of spring, but it looks and feels like January. Nothing is more discouraging and depressing, especially if those with depression feel it the worst in winter. I know this as fact because I’m one of those people. Mood music: [spotify:track:6DfC1aCH6TanpsEwewNn0m] It’s been said that New England is particularly defiant in the weather department. We…  [Read More]