Catherine Oxenberg

Catherine Oxenberg
Anecdotes, insights and resources relevant to anyone interested in exploring the mystery of life and death.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My first offense!

Alert! My first offense! I have offended someone with my blogging! And not just someone – she happens to be one of my closest friends!
Well, use to be! (Not really! I would never have posted this blog unless i had spoken to her first!)

This blog is about making amends - because I would like for our friendship to continue into our sunset years! (We are already in our golden years!)

I had this fantasy that my diatribe would soothe all with dulcimer tone and silken cadence. Not going to happen!

The worse thing is that I have offended one of my best friends, someone I love dearly. The last thing I would want in the world is to cause this person distress. Who knew she couldn’t see that I was smiling the whole time I was writing about her!
My heart sank when I read her email; she felt she came across as unsupportive, bratty and a little bit evil.

I quickly reread my blog and I could see why she might think that. How easily words can be misunderstood. I guess I had used her as a device, an entry point into my story.

My muse felt used and abused! Horrors!

And, I can see what offended her – it wasn’t so much about what I wrote, it had more to do with what I left out.

The danger of omission! Such a common mistake we make, especially with our nearest and dearest, where we assume they can fill in between the lines. So, we edit – and that editing leaves room for dangerous black holes.

I had forgotten a proper introduction!

If I was going to tease her, first, I needed to honor her, I needed to build a loving context.

After apologizing profusely and begging her forgiveness, I let her know that my intention had been to include her because I wanted to give her credit for inspiring me to write that blog - She was the one who gave me the idea.

I could see where the honoring aspect might have fallen short.
I could see where I might have neglected to mention she had suggested I write a mission statement for my blog, so other (not her!) people, who might not know me, would have a better understanding of my direction and purpose. The way I wrote it sounded like she was the one questioning my intention.

The truth is, (I’m smiling) that my dear (not sarcastic!) friend (the greatest!) Inga, is like a wonderful big sister to me. It’s not because she is a tinge older than me, (at this point, she would want you to know that she, unlike me, has not one gray hair on her head) it’s because she is wise in so many ways – not all ways – otherwise she would have no need for me! I count on her insight, her humor, her support, her beauty and her unique and original perspectives. I love her unconditionally.

I get to tease her and call her on her ‘stuff’, usually with a chorus of “I don’t believe you!” when I hear her tell me things like “I use to be cross-eyed and buck-toothed.”

And she’s right, if I am going to include her, she deserves an honorable mention, not a glib throwaway - with a snarly finale. (Now you are all going to have to go back to the “What is the point of this blog” blog, to see what the heck I am yapping on about)

But now that I have introduced her – I must warn her, that from now on- now that we have established that I love her - she will be fair game! (Now I’m feeling slightly evil!)
It’s okay honey, you can proof read everything I write about you from now on, and maybe I can convince you to start a sister blog and you can hitch it to mine!

Women are my lifeline. I have big sisters and little sisters, and sometimes the roles switch, depending on the mood and the need.

We get to talk about everything, we get to vent with each other, we get to encourage each other, including supporting each others primary relationships, and holding a perfect vision for the other - especially when the other is having a ‘wobble’.

And we get to throw down a dozen juicy topics on the table, simultaneously darting from one to another, like drunken hummingbirds. Somehow, by the end of our playdate, we have covered every single conversation, wrapping them all up with a neat little bow. It is a thrilling experience that leaves us full and exhilarated.

I use to try this style with my husband, feeling that he was somehow losing out on one of life’s greatest joys. I would trap him in a corner, and dazzle him with the fascinating details of my day!. But I began to notice a dazed, frozen expression of feigned interest as I ran him in circles with my feminine convolutions. (Warning! This word does not exist!)

He just couldn’t take the onslaught of emotion (from the venting) and constant juggling back and forth of subjects. He would try really hard, but I caught him on several occasions, falling into a comatose state.

Then it struck me - He’s overwhelmed! His nervous system is shutting down! This was not good for him!

It was then that I realized – most men make really lousy girlfriends!

Except for Inga’s husband, who really likes listening to her! For one thing she is very entertaining! (Now she’s going to think I’m mocking her!) But seriously, he does! And he’s got great stamina! He can really hang in there! Not that my Casper doesn’t have stamina! Boy, I am really digging myself into a hole here! But Jack listens for a living!

So, although my husband is the love of my life, my girlfriends are my indispensable support system.

I don’t need to torture him with my feminine hurricane all the time. I can whip up a frenzy with my girls and feed my man the eye!


  1. We all make mistakes. The mistake of omission is probably one we are all guilty of and most often it is unintentional.

    What I take from this is your ability to apologize and to admit that you made a mistake and that is huge. So many have such a hard time with that.

    And your friend Inga was able to speak with you about how she felt; you were able to have a dialogue and to come to an understanding.

    Deep, true friendships weather many storms but trust, honesty and forgiveness mixed with a lot of humour and laughter are what carry us through both the good times, the bad times and the sad times.

  2. Dear Catherine and Inga, you are lucky to have such a special, strong friendship. The bond that you have with one another will definitely last, into and beyond your sunset years.
    And as for men having the ability to be able to listen to us women elaborate on every tiny will never happen! Oh they may try, but just ask them a question about what you were just saying, and guess what, they will never get ten out of ten.....but we love our husbands nevertheless :-)

  3. Carrie Stewart NolanApril 5, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    It's a little like remembering to say "I love you" during a fight with our husband's, we assume they already know that, because, hello, stating the obvious, but at times the obvious gets lost in the blur of emotion.
    The internet is great, and blogging is a great way to express yourself, thoughts and feelings, but it lacks the ability to convey inflection, and there have been many a misunderstanding for just that reason.
    You and Inga have a wonderful, sister-like relationship, and at times, all sister's argue. The important thing to remember, and to remind her of, is that your bond is more important than any misunderstanding and that your love for one another will one day make you both laugh at this one. Apologize,ask for forgiveness, let her process and the rest should fall into place.
    Live and learn...we can only do the best we can do, learn from our mistakes and move forward.
    Hope this works itself out quickly for both of you.

  4. Catherine I love you. You are now officially my favorite writer. (Move over Hemingway). The way you write is magical. From the creation of new and exciting words to waxing poetically. I am completely captivated by your story. I now look forward to each new blog with great anticipation on what you will come up with next and what i will learn. Exciting for me because although I feel that I know you so well after 12 years of marriage, I am learning so much more about you through your knew expression of creativity. You are a genius! I love that you torture me with your storm, your hurricane your tsunami. Your uproarious laughter when you are in a feeding frenzy gab fest with your girlfriends brings pure joy into our home and fills the house with love. I am never bored with you in my life. Thank you. Keep on blogging!

  5. Great read! Glad Casper directed me over this way. I've been working on an acting blog myself and at first was taking a chronological approach to it...a story of all my adventures. Then, I realized in order to be truthful and all-inclusive I would have to hurt some feelings. I've danced around it so far...but eventually, tears may be shed. It's also why I decided NOT to write film reviews.

  6. Catherine, it's great that you have started to blog. I remember when we worked together in South Carolina on the Vogue shoot, going to find that southern BBQ and pies, we talked and we talked and we talked and I was shocked at one point when you started telling me about myself. Things that I hadn't even realized. You have so much to say and you have a deep connection with the people whose paths you cross. There is a spirituality about you that you should share. You have a way of connecting with people on a far deeper level then what the normal person would. That's a gift my friend and I hope that you continue. I feel blessed that our paths crossed and that we have somehow managed to reconnect. I look forward to reading more. Taking from the Celestine Prophecy, there is a reason why people cross paths with us, we have something to learn, we have something to share with someone else that is absolutely necessary, this is your reason for your blog. Keep it up and have a fantastic day.

  7. I guess I forgot to mention that Inga and made up BEFORE i posted this blog! And we laughed a lot through my apology! i would NEVER have posted this story without clearing everything with her first! AND, the point of the story is that we should NEVER try to turn our men into girlfriends!
    I'm sorry if that wasn't clear!
    I continue to appreciate your wonderful comments!

  8. Frederick - scroll down to the bottom for the koi!!

  9. Dear Casper, in reply to your comment, it is gratifying to hear you admit that, "a man can never really get to know a woman". We are far too deep and intriguing and as a woman, I think we speak a completely different language than men. Don't worry, your efforts in trying to "keep up" are admirable :-)))
    p.s. Catherine is MY favourite can't have EVERYTHING. Chuckle chuckle giggle giggle.
    Catherine, I'm so looking forward to the next blog, Don't let Casper have the first peep :-)
    Having so much trouble with my computer today!

  10. THERE they are. I couldn't see them yesterday, just said "KOI". They are now well fed.

  11. Best to talk face to face. The old fashion way.

  12. Loved your latest blog Catherine. It is heart warming to read how much your friends mean to you. Love from South Africa, Anine

  13. and dont turn your friend into your husband!

  14. I always take the high road and my fave saying is:
    'Take responsibility to not become offended' helps stay in a nice warm, sunshiney place. xoxo's

  15. How I wish I could put things right with a close friend whom I deeply offended and life just isn't the same without her in it. Well done for correcting things.