Category Archives: four letter words

Time is a four-letter word

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image courtesy of forevergeek.com

I was late to work this morning. It was 7:08 as I started up the onramp. When I pulled up in front of my office ten minutes later, it was 7AM. Evidently I drove through a wormhole on the freeway; either that, or my car is powered by a flux capacitor.

 

 

Sir Isaac Newton told us that time was linear, while Einstein argued that time is relative.

The doctor tells us that, “it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly…time-y wimey..stuff.”

I say tempus fugits. Yes, I am quite aware that I’m saying it wrong. For some reason (the length of time since my last English class, perhaps?) I always say “Tempus Fugits”. I’m sure it irritates people no end. I know it makes me crazy when people abuse the English language (My husband’s insistence on saying  “6am in the morning” makes me cringe every time) – but there you have it. My own personal …what? malapropism? made up word? faux pas? issue? What the heck would it be?

But I digress. I wanted to remind you that Time is an asshole. He speeds up when he should slow down, races when he should crawl and generally doesn’t do what we want him to. Time flies.  Not that we need a reminder. Or I don’t, at least. We’re halfway through November, and I still have a stack of last year’s Christmas cards waiting to be mailed.* They say that time flies when you’re having fun but I disagree. I agree with Mary Engelbreit.

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I spent last weekend with old long time friends. At one point my daughter asked us “How long have you known each other?” As it turns out, we have been friends since before any of the “forever 27” friends were born.

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I didn’t need a visit with friends to remind me that time is flying by. My daughter, who is only 8 years old in Mommy Years, is getting ready to graduate high school. It’s weird. I can clearly remember my senior year of high school (yesterday, on the other hand, is another matter). I remember dances, and high school crushes, being Done With High School (on the first day of my senior year) and fighting with my mother. I don’t know why we fought. I’m sure my friends and family members would tell you it’s because I was a Horrible Teen. I’d like to think I was a Typical Teen, but (seeing that I gave my mother grey hair and shingles) maybe they were right. Or maybe fighting with your mother is a rite of passage. My daughter and I fought last night, because we were ______.

I thought she had lost her mind, and I have no doubt that she thought I was insane. It’s entirely possible that I am, but I wasn’t crazy Before Parenthood (no comments from the peanut gallery). It’s a chicken and the egg thing – which came first, the crazy parent or the crazy-making teen?

She might want to pick up this book:

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Because I’m the mommy, Michael J. Bradley’s other book is at the top of my reading list:

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I’m the mommy. That’s weird.  I don’t think anyone expected to ever hear those words coming from me. I know I didn’t. It’s not that I dislike children, it’s just that I prefer being The Fun Aunt to the Rules and Responsibility of parenthood. Parenting is a four letter word (yes, I’m aware that “parenting” is a nine letter word, but it’s work, which IS a four letter word).  Parenting is not for the weak or faint of heart, trust me on this. And there’s no preparing for it, nobody what anyone tells you. You can read all the Parenting for Dummies books you’d like, and listen to hours of advice from well meaning friends and family members. No matter what anyone says, PARENTING IS LIKE NOTHING YOU’VE EVER EXPERIENCED.

Unless, of course, you’re a rock star:

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I have no doubt that I’ve made mistakes (evidently using sarcasm as a parenting tool is a Bad Thing), but I’ve tried to avoid making the same mistakes my mother made. Not that she was a bad mother (because she was AWESOME, as all my friends would tell you), but I decided to make new mistakes in an effort to raise my daughter to be Different Than Me and an attempt to avoid becoming my mother.

I failed. I have become my mother, despite the best of intentions. The good news is that I’m not alone and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. This paragraph from F Diane Barth LCSW’s post resonated with me:

For example, when I was young and my family teased me about being like my mother (who I did not resemble physically), I felt criticized and resentful. I wanted to be different from her, to have my own personality, separate from hers, and besides, I did not like the things they were commenting on (for example, my bossiness!). But today I am grateful to her for having passed onto me numerous characteristics, including her love of books and her interest in writing, her empathy for others, and her incredible stores of energy.

Of course, there is also plenty to be learned when you don’t become your mother. You can read an excerpt here but don’t come looking to me for tissues. My box is empty.

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I’m sad that my mother wasn’t here when my daughter was born – I have no doubt that she would have had some great parenting advice (not that I would have listened), as well as tips for my daughter on how to drive her parents crazy (not that she needs any tips). I wish she were here to watch her granddaughter/grandchildren grow into amazing young women and men. I know she’d love the fact that my Saturdays for the past three months were spent on the soccer field, volunteering wherever they have a need, and that she’d been thrilled to know that the granddaughter of one of her best friends was on my daughter’s team. If nothing else, I know she’d get a kick out of the fact that her mother’s curse  worked, and that I have a daughter just like me. I hope that one day, my daughter will be proud when someone tells her that she’s just like me.

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Mostly I am happy that my “forever an 8 year old” still tries to climb into my lap at the end of the day. She’s 4″ taller than I am, and doesn’t fit very well, but she tries.  One day, when/if she becomes a mother, I will give her the advice my mother couldn’t give me

Tempus fugits (sic) – whatever you do, don’t blink

(and not just because there are Weeping Angels)

I think Kenny Chesney says it bests.

*Note to friends and family – the printer gave me a discount on my Holiday Cards when I pointed out that they were dated 2016.

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The P-word

Most-popular-e1449500390948The song Popular has been running non-stop since I saw today’s prompt . Thanks for the earworm Daily Post!

I started writing about the tree, but realized mid-post that the correct spelling is “poplar”  (scientific name populus) not “popUlar”. According to Wikipedia, populus is “a genus of 25-35 speciies of deciduous flowering plants…(which) include poplar, aspen and cottonwood.”

It’s a good thing it’s a poplar tree and NOT a popUlar tree (although it might be popular with certain dendrologists), because I don’t know anything about trees. I mean, I know that I like the sound of the wind whispering through the trees, that willow switches leave welts* and that I am too old to climb them. After all, as my daughter so kindly reminded me, “Old people fall a lot” and I’d rather not fall out of a tree.

I considered writing a review of the TV series “Popular“, but, seeing that the show ended in 2001 and I never watched it (evidently I was not part of it’s demographic, as it never hit my radar as “must see tv”) I decided against it. I turned to Miriam-Webster for help.

Popular

[pop-yuh’ler]

  1. of or relating to the general public
  2. frequently encountered or widely acceptd
  3. commonly liked or approved

Ah. Popular. My earworm has turned the volume up to 10. For those of you not familiar with Wicked (where have you been?) Glinda tells Elphaba (and the audience) that “It’s all about popular! It’s not about aptitude. It’s the way you’re viewed. So it’s very shrewd to be popular.”

We all want to be popular (or at least to fit in). Can anyone forget Sally Fields’ shriek of delight that “You like me! You really, really like me!” when she gave her acceptance speech?

I had a great group of friends in high school – a dozen or so jocks, nerds and thespians with whom I’ve remained friends to this day. I have no doubt that some of them secretly (several of them not so secretly) longed to be part of the Popular Crowd. Every school has them – the group of girls who are stylishly dressed, with perfectly applied makeup and neatly combed hair. The girls that are mocked and tormented in movies like Mean Girls and Heathers (Is it just me, or did you get the feeling that these moves were penned by someone who was snubbed by the popular clique?)

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When the teen started high school, I hoped that she would succeed where I’d failed – that her weekends would be a whirlwind of slumber parties and dances, football games and romances – and maybe, just maybe, an invitation to Homecoming or Prom. Instead, my daughter has a great BFF, and a handful of super close thespian friends. She belongs to several high school clubs, and knows kids from every “clique”.

OMG. My daughter has become me. I suppose that means it’s time for me to become my mother – a woman who never knew how popular she was in high school

The problem, IMHO, is that popularity is a matter of perspective (the most popular chess champion is unknown to the football team) and that fame is fleeting. Some people try to rely on popularity to get through life, never realizing that there are more important things than learning (as Glinda tells us) “The proper poise when you talk to boys, little ways to flirt and flounce…what shoes to wear (and) how to fix your hair.” These, then, are the people who spend their lives in the past, reliving their glory days.

I hope my daughter listens to my favorite bit of advice:

Whatever you do, be true to you.

Which is really just reinterpretation of Shakespeare:

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* Please note – No need to call CPS I was not “switched” by my parents as a child. My friends and I used to whip each other when we were pretending to be horses

Yet another F-word

howtofocusimg[1]Once again, The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt has me stumped. I have no idea who he/she is, or how he/she comes up with the word of the day, but I’m pretty sure it involves a couple shots of tequila, a dictionary and a blindfold (sounds like a party to me).

So I’m going to cheat. It’s ok, I’ve done it before. Cheated on my diet, cheated while playing Monopoly with the girl (c’mon, if you don’t cheat, the game is ENDLESS).

I’ve talked about the F-word once or twice. Hell, I’ve blogged about the F-word so many times that today’s original title (The OTHER Other F-word) was already taken.

Today’s F-word (as defined by Oxford Dictionaries) is focus

[ˈfōkəs]

VERB

focused (past tense) · focused (past participle)

    1. (of a person or their eyes) adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly:

“try to focus on a stationary object”

      • cause (one’s eyes) to focus:

“trying to focus his bleary eyes on Corbett”

      • adjust the focus of (a telescope, camera, or other instrument):

“they were focusing a telescope on a star”

synonyms: bring into focus · aim · point · turn

      • (of rays or waves) meet at a single point.
      • (of a lens) make (rays or waves) meet at a single point.
      • (of light, radio waves, or other energy) become concentrated into a sharp beam of light or energy.
      • (of a lens) concentrate (light, radio waves, or energy) into a sharp beam.

I find the word ironic, because I can’t seem to focus lately. I could blame my new prescription. I’ve always been extremely nearsighted (can’t see to find my glasses unless I’m wearing my contacts), but now that I’m “a certain age” my vision needs an additional adjustment if I want to read a menu or the display on my cell phone.

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I could also blame menopause – evidently hormones are the culprit for my adult onset of ADHD.

But I don’t feel like blaming anyone or anything today. Instead, I’m going to use this blog to talk about the importance of changing focus.

This year has been a hard one. Too much loss. Too much death, illness, sadness and hate. I found myself being dragged into the pit of despair by the black dog of depression. This morning’s prompt reminded me of the importance of focus. As Sandy Henson Corso says in her 2013 Huffingtonpost piece “Whatever you focus on, expands is such a simple, easy and truthful idea.”

I know for a fact that this is true. I know it both from personal experience, and from a Google search for “What you focus on changes your life.” I found dozens and dozens of links to articles on the internet, and everything you read on the internet is true.

So I am choosing to change my focus – to focus on the miracles and gifts that surround us – to find something to be grateful for every day. Who knows, I might even start a gratitude journal. Probably not, but I AM going to pick up a copy of Rapt, by Winifred Gallagher. I  loved the excerpt I read on Utne.com this morning.

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I also love this video on battling the black dog of depression:

 

 

Bullying and the F Word

th[1]When The Girl was in 8th grade, she was targeted by Mean Girls. She was lucky. Not because she was bullied. There is nothing lucky about it*. According to nobullying.com/causes-of-suicide/ “Teenage bullying is one of the leading causes of teenage suicide, and suicide is the third leading cause of death in young children.” My daughter was lucky because she was targeted by a handful of Former Friends, and the bullying consisted of them telling her “We’ve never been your friend” and running away when she approached. While the loss of a BFF can be devastating (at any age) it does not compare with the stories that make the rounds via social media or breaking news.

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Image courtesy of keyword-suggestions.com

I had no idea. I mean, I knew something was wrong – my usually cheerful, gregarious tween became curiously quiet – but, when pressed, she would only say that she was “tired”. Her mysterious fatigue (which we blamed on a growth spurt and hormones) only lasted a week. It wasn’t until one of the other mothers greeted me with “I’m so sorry that Lauren’s having problems in school” and suggested I pick up Queen Bees and Wannabes that I knew there had been a Serious Problem. When I confronted discussed the situation with her that night, she shrugged “It’s no big deal. I’m not going to be friends with them in high school, so why should I care if we’re not friends now?”

“But why didn’t you tell me? I’m your mom! You’re supposed to come to me when you have problems.”

She gave a slow “no comment” blink.

“Because I would have gone to school to kick a** and chew bubble gum….”

She smiled. “…and you are all out of bubblegum.”

Seeing that 8th grade is far behind us, you might be wondering why I’m bringing this up now. Contrary to what the EIC says, it’s NOT because I’ve been unable to come up with a topic for a post for days weeks months. My daughter went to camp last week.

I know what you’re thinking (I do! I’m psychic! No, wait – I’m psychotic. I always get those confused) What does camp have to do with bullying? Did she go to a special anti-bullying camp? No. I don’t know if they have anti-bullying camps, but if they do, they should include karate or self-defense classes (please note, WE DON’T HIT!) Was she bullied at camp? No. Did she flip to the dark side and bully kids at camp? Also no. Did she have horrible flashbacks and wake up screaming in the middle of the night? Not that I’m aware of, although when she was little she did have night terrors. Did she run through camp wearing a plastic mask and screaming “Welcome to Camp Crystal Lake – run, bullies run!” While that would have been really, really funny, again, the answer is no.

According to the youth leaders, my daughter epitomized this year’s lesson on forgiveness. She stood up in front of hundreds of young men and women and spoke about the different types of bullying, and the importance of forgiveness. She warned the campers that “If you don’t forgive fully, memories and emotions will pop up when you least expect it.” She told them that she had reached out to the girls who had bullied her to tell them she forgave them and shared their responses.

“I told them ‘I don’t mean to make you feel guilty, but I want to let you know that I forgive you for what you did to me.’” The Meanest girl (the one who wanted to replace Lauren as BFF to the Queen Bee) responded with “You have nothing to apologize for. We are the ones who owe you an apology.” A second girl responded with a lengthy text message, thanking her for reaching out because “I have always felt guilty about what happened, but never knew how to approach you/how to bring this up. I knew it was wrong, but, as an incredibly insecure tween, I didn’t have the strength to stand up to the others to stop it.” Not all the girls have grown up. A third girl responded with “I think you have the wrong number.” Which would be possible except for the fact that my daughter had JUST gotten her phone number from another friend.

I am so proud of my daughter. I think it’s amazing that she was mature enough to handle the situation on her own (although I’m still butthurt she didn’t come to me). I am in awe of the fact that she was willing to share her story with hundreds of strangers, and I think it’s incredible that she was willing to reach out to her bullies to tell them she forgave them. I’m also proud of the girls who showed remorse for their actions. The F-word has allowed all of them to heal.

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image courtesy of discovryproject.wordpress.com

Mostly, I’m impressed that my daughter has a heart that’s willing to forgive, because she comes from a long line of stubborn strong-willed women who hold a grudge. I’ve spoken before about the importance of forgiveness, but the lesson isn’t sticking. Evidently I have a lot to learn, because I still want to punch the little B’s** in the neck.

*The statistic (courtesy of bullyingstatistics.com) on bullying and suicide are alarming:

  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths/year according to the CDC. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14% of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7% have attempted it
  • Bully victims are between 2-9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University
  •  A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides amount young people are related to bullying.
  • 10-14 year old girls may be at even higher risk for suicide, according to the study above
  • According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30% of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 1600,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying

If you are a victim of or witness to bullying, you can report it here.

If you or a friend are fighting thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please call. Someone is always willing to listen.

**Bullies! That’s the B word I meant – could I have meant anything else? 😉

And, lastly, a song that never fails to make me cry

Fork, yeah!

thvtmdn5vdI swear. A lot. I didn’t always have a filthy mouth, but, once I started, I swore loudly and often (my parents were so proud). My favorite word started with an f and ended in a k. It wasn’t “fork”, but that’s the word I will use in this post, because I am trying to beat my addiction. I’ve even started a 12 step program. Hello, my name is Tracey, and I’m addicted to four letter words. Like most 12 step programs, the first step is admitting you have a problem and that you’re powerless to stop. The second step is to believe that a power greater than yourself can help you stop (Yeah, right. Even the power of parenthood couldn’t stop me. My daughter’s first sentence was “Bite me jackass”). The third step is…ummm..fuck if I know. Dammit. Back to day one. Hello, my name is Tracey, and I’m addicted to four letter words….

My husband hoped that becoming an accidental mother would change me. After all, mothers are sweet and kind, loving and gentle. Evidently I didn’t get the memo, because the only thing that changed was that I went from being a wife that swore to a mother with a dirty mouth. The good news is that, when people would “slip” and swear in front of my tweenager, she would just shrug and roll her eyes when they apologized (“I’ve heard worse”).

I know, I know, women shouldn’t swear/it’s not ladylike. TBH I don’t know what the big deal is. Studies have shown that swearing is good for you and reduces pain. Just recently I posted a popular FB meme as my status. I’ll share it here, ICYMI

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image courtesy of imgarcade.com

There are issues when you’re a woman who loves to swear. Nineteen of them have been identified by the awesome Erin La Rosa from Buzzfeed. Being far from “normal” (FYI normal is just a setting on the dryer), my issue wasn’t one of them. Using the “f-word” was cathartic at first, but, like most gateway drugs, one day it stopped giving me the rush I craved. I tried using other words, but they didn’t have the punch I needed. The logical next step in my progression (regression?) was to link them together in strange and unusual ways, but”I’ll see you next Tuesday you cat-faced mother forking son of a female dog” took too damn long. In searching for a new/better four letter word (one that will express my frustration with my current situation and the increasingly dark and dismaying world climate) I found the perfect word.

HOPE

(hōp)

v. hoped, hop·ing, hopes
v.intr.

1. To wish for a particular event that one considers possible: We are hoping for more financial support.
2. Archaic To have confidence; trust.
v.tr.

To desire and consider possible: I hope that you will join us for dinner. We hope to buy a house in the spring. See Synonyms at expect.

I’ve spoken about hope before. One of my first posts talked about losing and finding hope. the other one talked about fear and the power of Hope. When I picture Hope, I see a rare and delicate flower. It’s a fragile thing, easily lost and hard to find when life gets rough. The good news is that Hope is bioluminescent, allowing you to find it even on the darkest of nights. With a little love and a lot of TLC it will blossom, bloom and grow. I believe the best way to feed Hope is by sharing and spreading love, which is how I came up with an acronym –

Help

One

Person

Every

Day**

Look, it’s getting scary out there. It’s too much. Too much anger. Too much hate. Let’s see if there’s such a thing as too much love**. Hold the door for someone, share a smile, compliment a stranger. Be kind to each other. Play nicely in the sandbox.

And on those days where life beats you down and everyone is being an asshat, swear like a sailor like a woman who loves to curse. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.

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image courtesy of gurl.com

 

I have a couple of questions (take out your #2 pencils):

  1. Do you swear, and (if so) what’s your favorite four letter word?
  2. What is your favorite story of hope?
  3. How do you “pay it forward“?

*Oops, that’s “HOPED” not “HOPE”. Dammit, I was hoping that this post would be perfect 😉

**there is, and it causes chafing, but that’s a topic for a different post

How to Adult

14322559_10208457641376300_3302490184261649212_n1 I don’t know what a dult is, or why anyone would want to be one, but welcome to lesson#1 of an occasional series

My coworker just insulted me. She called me a four letter word, and it pissed me off, but I’m pretty sure the HR director would laugh if I filed a complaint.

She said I was “nice”. If that’s not an insult, I don’t know what is.

I am not a nice girl. For one, at (mumbles quickly) years of age, I am no longer a “girl”, no matter how bad your vision or how low the lighting. And as far as “nice” goes, I am many things (smart, funny, sarcastic, cynical, bitchy and brutally honest*) but I am not nice, no matter what people say.

All of my life people have said “you’re so NICE”.  I’m usually quick to respond with “No, not really”.  What I am is polite. My mother was from the south, and it appears that her southern manners have rubbed off on me. She taught me how to behave in public – to be kind to strangers as well as friends, to say “please” and “thank you”, to hold doors open, and to respect my elders (yeah, that last one didn’t stick). I may know how to behave, but I have always been more Disney Villain than Disney Princess.

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image credit to Hayden Williams

I know what you’re thinking (I do. It’s because I’m psychic. Or psychotic. I always get those two confused) – what’s wrong with being nice? Let’s start by looking at the definition, from Miriam Webster:

adjective \ˈnīs\

Popularity: Top 40% of words

Simple Definition of nice

  1. giving pleasure or joy : good and enjoyable
  2. : attractive or of good quality
  1. : kind, polite, and friendly

adjective po·lite \pə-ˈlīt\

There are, obviously, worse things to be called (I’ve been called those things too, usually by people who have issues with strong, independent, opinionated women). I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with being “nice”. What bothers me is the fact that being kind and polite has become so rare that people assume that someone exhibiting those qualities is a nice person**. I am not one of them. I’ve met some genuinely nice people – their kindness is not tinged with any sarcasm or cynicism. It’s weird.

Over the past week (hell, over the past year) it’s become apparent that we need to be kind. We need to treat each other with, at the very least, respect and dignity. We need to stop focusing on our differences and find some commonalities. We need to be less angry and more forgiving. We need to be nice to each other.

Yeah. I said it.

We need to be nice. Especially with Black Friday coming up next week. Trust me, there are worse things you could be.

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*Seeing that I’ve made more than one person cry when I was “just being honest”, I’ve come to the conclusion that honesty is NOT always the best policy

** There’s also this:

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And now I miss my mom, and my Okie relatives:

Hope

 

OnceYouChooseHope[1]It’s been a rough week – on top of everything else, my poor little limping-along Volvo went to the scrapyard in the sky (well, not literally – today it’s sitting in my driveway, like a giant paperweight or car shaped sculpture).

I came across this reminder (huge shout out to Livehappy.com), and wanted to send it out to all who are feeling hopeless this week. Sending love and light your way –

Life! Some things bring you closer & some tear you apart. I've been there, i've walked through the storm. Hope & Love made this Life Stronger than it has been in a long time.  Follow: https://www.pinterest.com/recoveryexpert/:

 

The Game of Life

th5I’ve done it again – allowed the four letter word known as Life to knock me off the writing track. It’s not that Life is a bitch (and not just in a strong, intelligent independent way), or that she cheats when we play her game. Life is a rollercoaster, and getting off track can be bad. Nobody wants to ride the coaster off the rails, especially when you’re rounding the top corner.

My life has been busy, and uneven, but no more so than usual – so why did I stop writing? (And, right on cue, the EIC pipes up with “Because you’re lazy!” Thank you so very little, Evil Inner Critic).

I blame S&H*. Stress and hormones melted my brain and kept new ideas at bay, caused me to lose sleep (boo!) weight (yay!) and hair (boo!). They also caused me to crave beer, salt and sugar, but that’s neither here nor there. Whatever the cause, I found myself spiraling, once again, into the pit of despair.

I spent a long time trying to figure out what “caused” my depression, and then it hit me. My life hasn’t changed, but our world has. I know that change is inevitable, but things do not appear to be changing for the better. This election (don’t forget to vote!) has brought out a level of hostility, racism and sexism that knocked me so far off track I thought I’d woken up in the past and found myself trying to collect green stamps again.

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I used to say that I was raised to be color blind. I’ve been assured by several people that “color blindness” is just not possible, so I won’t say that, but I’m not sure what else to say. I was raised by parents who chose to focus less on the external (race/sex/sexual orientation/religion/career) and more on what type of person the individual was. I was raised to believe that every person is entitled to an opinion, and that everyone’s opinion is valid, even if it differs from mine. I was raised to believe that we should be able to discuss and debate our opinions in a respectful manner. Yes, the debate might get heated, but it should never get ugly.

And it has. Our world has become an ugly place, filled with ugly people saying ugly things to each other. It breaks my heart. I could blame the media – in the race for ratings, they have chosen to focus on images of violence and hatred. I could blame the election – this race this year has been particularly nasty. I know that politicians are human (although it’s entirely possible that they’ve been replaced by the aliens from They Live), but I believe they should be held to a higher standard than most. The name calling and chants of “Make American Great Again” or (mockingly) “Make America Hate Again” do not inspire respect for either candidate. Mostly I blame myself. I blame myself for being naïve.

My parents raised me to believe that the world was becoming a better place – that people were overcoming their perceived differences and uniting in a way that gave me hope. Hope that my mixed-race daughter wouldn’t have to deal with the hatred my mother witnessed as a teen in the south (please note – my mother was Caucasian, so racism didn’t necessarily have a direct impact on her life). The violence and hatred she saw caused her to caution me against having children. I assured her that I had no intention of having children, but that, if I changed my mind, racism was “a thing of the past”.

I am no longer naïve. I am broken hearted, angry and sad, but not naive. The hatred/anger/prejudice that I believed was long dead is alive and kicking, like a cockroach that somehow managed to survive a visit from the exterminator.

Make America Great Again? I agree with Amanda Blanc – Let’s try making America kind again instead (image credit to Amanda Blanc)

nc_makekind_1611051

*Stress and Hormones, not the green stamps we collected in the 60’s

So tell me – how do you write when your brain has melted or is filled with fog?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Other “Other F-word”

 

imagespnibp0jmI had a point when I warned you posted about my return to blogging.  My brain, however, is filled with the dust  of disuse (and cobwebs of confusion), and I missed it. I meant to tell you that it’s important that choose your F-words carefully.

When I was diagnosed with PVCs, I panicked. Part of it was due to my overactive imagination, part of it was due to the fact that my brain was overloaded with the pain and adrenaline that came with being in the emergency room with excruciating jaw pain, but most of it was because my mother had a massive heart attack at the age of 57. The closer I’ve gotten to the “magic number”, the more certain I’ve become that I would do the same.

My cardiologist ran a whole slew of tests, which showed that my heart is, in fact, pretty darn close to perfect (which makes the Mary Poppins in me very happy). He also assured me that PVCs are fairly common (around one in 20 normal people will have at least one PVC on a two-minute ECG strip, and a much higher percentage will have PVCs on 24-hour Holter monitoring) and that, as long as I wasn’t having any symptoms, it wasn’t something that needed to be treated with medication.

The incident made me realize that I have spent far too much time letting fear stop me from doing things. I should know better – after all, I read Dune when I was in college.* Even 20+ years later I can hear Frank Herbert’s Bene Gesserit reminding me that “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration….” I know that I’m supposed to “Feel the Fear and do it Anyway” and I’ve been told (more than once) that FEAR is nothing more than False Expectations Appearing Real.

I should know better, but I’ve found that knowing something intellectually doesn’t necessarily mean that you KNOW it (if you know what I mean). I spent time pondering the problem, wondering what it would take for me to let go of fear, and then I realized that all it takes is another F-word. To let go of fear, we must have faith Don’t worry, I’m not going to show up at your door asking if you’ve been “saved” –  I’m talking about the secular definition.

From Miriam-Webster dictionary:

Faith

[fāTH]

NOUN

complete trust or confidence in someone or something:

“this restores one’s faith in politicians”

synonyms: trust · belief · confidence · conviction · optimism ·

Middle English: from Old French feid, from Latin fides.

Fear screams at us to stop before we start, to hide under the covers from the monsters in the dark. Faith whispers that the monsters exist only in our imagination, and that, with trust and a little bit of pixie dust, we can fly.

Today’s F-word is Faith.

F-k

Anxiety

Initiate

Trust and

Hope

 

*I saw the movie, too. Please don’t.

P.S. In an amazing bit of synchronicity, today’s email from DailyOM was “Overcoming Fear & more courses.” In the course description Debbie Ford says that we can learn from fear. I’m not sure what lesson I’m supposed to learn, but I’m open to the possibilities.

So tell me – what has fear taught you?

In case of Emergency….

imagesCAO5Z6TQMy girlfriend is going through a really sucky period right now. REALLY sucky. If the situation were reversed,  I would be curled up in a ball under my bed, which would be difficult since it’s on the floor. She posted this yesterday, and I had to share. Because she’s awesome, and is handling this with sense of humor intact. Plus her post has some really good advice. I hope that you never need it, but just in case you do….