Acceptance, Attitude Adjustments, Be Happy, Being Strong, Coping, Courage, Invisible Illness, Just Breathe, Laughter, Love, Passion for Living, Thankfulness, That's life, Uncategorized, Unexpected Life Events

Just Keep Going…

It’s been 130  days since my AN diagnosis.  Since then, I’ve been through loads of doctor appointments (I’ve lost count), a variety of tests, another diagnosis of an infection in my mastoid bones (behind my ears), which seems to be resistant (I’ve been on 4 different antibiotics so far), and a seizure.  I’m now on anti-seizure meds, and a few things to try to control my headaches.  This seems to be the new “normal” for me, and we just keep hoping for the best with each appointment.

I try not to miss any work.  I’ve actually only missed 3 days out of 70 so far this year, and have taken an early leave here and there for doctor appointments.  I also go in early almost every day……a habit I’ve had for a very long time.  I know if I sit at home, I would get depressed…..something that is easy to do with any illness.  I don’t want to add depression to the list of conditions and symptoms.  Besides, I love my students, and appreciate that this is probably the best class I’ve ever taught!  I guess I need them right now.  They let me know how much they love me, and how much they care about me.  They tell me constantly that they love me, they hug me, they make pictures for me, are pretty well behaved, and they understand that sometimes I can’t get up too fast!  I told them about my recent EEG, and they enjoyed imagining their silly teacher with the 25 electrodes coming off of her head.

I don’t let a lot of people see me when I’m feeling bad.  I have learned to manage that very well.  The teacher who teaches next door to me, Tamesa, has become such a great friend.  We vent, laugh, cry, and support each other every day!  She is one of the few who sees me holding my hurting head, or can tell by the look on my face that I’m in pain, and knows what is going on, without me having to say anything.  It’s nice to have a friend/co-worker like that, but she also understands my fierce independence, and knows when I just need to push through.

I have had people ask me how I do it.  How do I keep going?  The commute? Teaching 1st graders? The work load? One of my husband’s friends in New York said in his thick NY accent, “She’s a troopah!” Well, what choice do I have?  Like I said before, I don’t want to sit home and get depressed, having no interaction with anyone.  While I might need more rest now, I still believe that I can manage this more effectively by continuing to keep busy, and keep a normal schedule. And…..I don’t want to give up my way of life.  I don’t want to get old before my time.  Young at heart = hopefulness and positivity.

I have seen people with chronic illnesses give up, go on disability, stay home, and become old before their time.  If you know anything about me, you know I have a sense of adventure and fun, and a curiosity to learn about people and places.  I love travel.  I love museums.  I’m not old enough to give up that part of myself.  I might stumble a bit here and there.  I might not hear everything, especially in a noisy room.  I might be hypersensitive to loud noises.  I might have headaches.  I might feel pressure in my ear and head.  I might have vertigo that makes life feel extra wobbly.  I might have to be more aware of the signs (auras) of an impending seizure.  I might have to eventually have surgery. But my life will not stop being enjoyable because I have a chronic illness! I refuse to give in to this.  I guess this is where my stubbornness pays off!

Over the last 130 days, I have learned so much.  I’ve learned that I am much stronger and more determined than I ever realized.  I’ve learned that I keep my balance better if I give myself more time and turn on lights!  I’ve learned that my husband is a jewel (I actually already knew this, but he has just confirmed it, as he helps me up every morning so I don’t fall, reminds me to be careful, and is understanding and supportive with my fatigue and limitations).  I’ve learned who really cares about me, and who is there to support me on this journey, wherever it leads me.  Fortunately, there are a lot of people supporting me that I never knew cared so much!  I’ve learned that naps are not only enjoyable, but they really do help!  I’ve learned a lot about two illnesses that I have, that I never dreamed would affect me.  I’ve learned to really appreciate small acts of kindness, quiet moments, fresh air, a good laugh, a walk, and all of the positive things in life.  I want to be the best me I can be for my children, who I know have been worried and scared through this.  I want them to enjoy their silly mama, who loves to laugh and embarrass them in public.  I want to be the best me for my husband, who shows me his strength every day, but I know he worries and gets scared from all of this too.

So the last 130 days of knowing what is wrong with me has been an emotional and physical roller coaster, but I appreciate what it has given me.  Things can always be worse!  I can do this…..with a few adjustments and a lot of support from those who love me.  I’m not ready to give up anything yet…..and I won’t.

Advertisements
Acceptance, Anger, Anxiety, Be Happy, Being Strong, Crying, Emotions, Happiness, Laughter, Uncategorized

Healthy Crying

I’m a crier.  I cry when I’m happy.  I cry when I’m sad. I cry when I’m tired.  I cry when I’m in pain. I cry when I worry.  I cry when I’m angry.  I cry when I miss someone.  I cry when I feel sentimental.  I can’t help it.  Sometimes it makes me mad!  I wish I could control it better, especially when I’m angry.  It can get embarrassing at times, but when I’m mad, it really just makes it even worse!  My mother was a crier, and my sisters and I used to tease her about it, or get embarrassed.  I’m convinced I jinxed myself because I’m 1000 times worse than she was (I think).

When I’m mad and crying, the person I’m angry with either thinks it’s funny, or feels superior, as if they’ve conquered me, and that I’m weak.  Of course, those types of people are really just bullies, and their motives are to make people feel weak and helpless.  I am not weak and helpless.  In fact, I”m a pretty strong woman, as was my mother.  I have learned that tears are not a sign of weakness.  Tears are merely a sign of being able to feel completely.  To be able to shut that off would have helped me in a lot of situations, but it also would be the end of me being able to feel every emotion as intensely as I do.  I’m not sure I want that.  If I stopped crying when I’m angry, I may not laugh as heartily, with my silly snorts and not being able to catch my breath.  If I didn’t cry when I’m angry, I may not feel the same compassion I feel now for others.  Or, I may have a cold personality, and not be able to express myself with any warmth at all.

People who antagonize someone, or try to push someone to the point of being angry are nothing but bullies…..or assholes……take your pick!  They find it fun to upset someone, and make them feel embarrassed when they start to cry, or attempt to fight back tears.  Yes, they are bullies, and have no feelings or compassion for anyone else.  I’ve been in that situation a few times.  It’s hard, and my voice shakes, and I cry. I’m not afraid…..I’m just feeling that emotion with great intensity! It isn’t easy at all to deal with, but I feel sorry for them in that they don’t really feel anything at all.  How can they enjoy or appreciate life?

Tears and emotions are okay.  It is sometimes embarrassing, and we end up spending a lot of money on tissues!  When I laugh so hard I cry (and snort), it’s a wonderful feeling!  My kids will make me laugh at something, and I laugh harder and harder…..becoming  silent, to where I can’t catch my breath.  Then they say, “Oh no!  She’s going to snort!” And sure enough, I always do!  Through my tears, I snort like a pig, which makes everyone laugh harder!  That’s embarrassing too, but at least I get a good belly laugh!

I have decided that I will not feel ashamed of this trait I inherited.  It’s me.  It’s real.  It’s sincere.  It’s who I am.  I feel with great intensity, and I’m thankful for that.  Life is too short to have to try to hide who we really are.  I should feel thankful that my mother and father taught me how to express emotions, and communicate my feelings in a healthy way.

Tears are okay.  Tears are not a sign of weakness.  Tears are a sign of a healthy spirit.  Criers unite!  Stand up to jerks who see you as weak, with your healthy tears.  Have a good healthy cry today!  And those of you who may look at us as though we are too emotional or weak……I’m sorry you see us that way, and if it makes you feel superior to us, you are wrong.  I’m sorry you are not able to feel as deeply as some of the rest of us.

 

Acceptance, Attitude Adjustments, Be Kind, Insensitivity, Kindness, Respect, Shit happens, Taking responsibility, That's life, Uncategorized

Everything Does NOT Happen For a Reason

We’ve all heard the saying, “Everything happens for a reason.” Do any of you hate that saying as much as I do?  I believe that SOME things happen for a reason, but not “everything.”

Usually, when that statement is made, it’s because we have learned a lesson by the events that have taken place, or the choices we’ve made.  Yet, it’s also a cop out and lame excuse to make in order to justify an outcome, or to make sense of things.  I understand that certain things in life happen in order to teach us something, or for us to make changes for the better.  I understand that the choices we make help us to make better choices in the future, or at least, different choices.  Yet, there is a whole lot of ugliness, hatefulness, selfishness, jealousy, spitefulness, violence, and evil in this world, which causes a lot of misery for others, at no fault of their own.  That statement makes the victim’s pain seem insignificant…..and justified.  That’s wrong.

The violence and abuse directed at children, innocent women in an abusive relationship, animal abuse, hate crimes against a person of color or someone “different” than them, and murder of completely innocent people happen FOR NO REASON.  Why do we say that a child being tortured and murdered “happens for a reason?” How cruel is that for the child’s parents to hear?  It’s ignorant and mean to say this around someone who is hurting.  Is this said to make us feel better about not being able to prevent it?  Is it said as a way to comfort ourselves in the event of tragedy?  There are so many horrible, senseless tragedies that happen in our world to innocent victims.  It’s unfair to treat their pain and suffering as something the rest of us can learn a lesson from.

Stop saying, “Everything happens for a reason.”  It doesn’t.  It’s mean.  It’s stupid.  Just because it makes YOU feel better for saying it, others, who have truly suffered at no fault of their own, find it painful.  Everything does NOT happen for a reason.  Just because you learned a little (or big) lesson on the path of life, does not mean that “everything” happens for a reason.  Life is about learning, and finding who you are.  Learning along the way is normal.  If you don’t learn anything, then something is wrong with you, and you will continue to make the same mistakes along the way.

If events in your life were different, and if you made different choices, you would still learn something.  You would still meet significant people along the way.  You would still have goals and aspirations.  Timing would still be important to what happens, and where you would end up.  There would still be difficult people along the way.  If you said then, that “everything happens for a reason,” then wouldn’t that contradict the life you have actually led?  We don’t know how different things would be if certain events didn’t happen along the way.  We don’t know what it would be like if we met different people, chose different careers, made different choices.  We don’t know.

Every time I hear someone say, “Well, everything happens for a reason,” I want to tell them that I feel sorry for them.  They obviously don’t have any faith in their own decision making, or confidence that they can make changes in their life.  I also pity them for going through life having no compassion or empathy for anyone who has suffered.  Do NOT say, “Everything happens for a reason” to someone who is hurting.  Actually, just stop saying it altogether. Things happen.  Life happens.  We obtain goals.  Dreams come true.  Terrible events occur………lift each other up, support each other, and stop making the lame excuse of “everything happens for a reason.” It just happens.

Acceptance, Be Happy, Childhood Innocence, Growing up, Growing up too fast, Innocence, Let kids be kids, Self respect, Uncategorized

Protecting Innocence

Yesterday at school, one of my little girls ran up to me at recess to tell me in an exasperated manner that her mother won’t let her wear high heels.  She had a friend with her, who exclaimed, “Can you BELIEVE it???” I think they were telling me this in hopes that I would talk to her mother, and convince her to let her wear them.  They also informed me that her mother won’t let her wear makeup.  Now, we are talking about 6 year olds! I remember playing in my mother’s lipstick, and wearing her heels, and playing dress up with some of her old dresses in the toy box. Little girls love pretending, and love imitating their mommies.  That’s natural (please no one start a gender identity argument with me….this is not about that).  I think I surprised (and disappointed) these girls by telling them that I agreed with her mother!

I have real issues with encouraging our children (especially girls) to grow up too soon.  The innocence of childhood lasts for such a short time.  Why do we want to rush them through it? Make up? High heels? To me, this feels like we are sexualizing our little girls, and teaching them that the only way to be cool or lovable is to have them dress like Barbies for attention.  Am I being too critical?  Maybe. Yet, I have a student who comes to school in 1″ heels at least two or three times per week.  She can barely walk in them, she slips on the tile floors, and she can’t participate in PE or recess the way she should.  These shoes would be fine for a special occasion or church, but not at school.  I have students who wear makeup.  Why?  Their skin is so perfect and pretty at that age.  Their bodies are like little babies.  Why do we want them to look grownup?  It’s creepy.

I didn’t allow my daughters to wear makeup until they were in middle school, and even then, it was very basic.  They’re pretty girls…..why would they need much makeup?  They’re also pretty enough without it to get attention from boys! Fortunately, I feel like I have been able to help them see that their inner beauty, and the way they conduct themselves, is much more important than any outward beauty (or the mask of a ton of makeup).  They’re REAL.  They’re genuine.  They’re originals.  They’re nice.

My oldest daughter got her belly button pierced when she was 18, and sent me a text to tell me because she was afraid of my reaction.  I guess I’m scary!  Ten years later, she has let it close up, and realizes it was just one of those youthful phases that really doesn’t fit her personality. I’m glad it was something that could be easily remedied!  Everywhere we look, there is pressure on our girls to grow up too fast, and to be looked at in inappropriate ways!  Makeup, heels, piercings, inappropriate clothing…..there’s even a television show that glamorizes teen pregnancy.  There will be plenty of time for all of this, as childhood goes so fast…..it really does slip away.  Why are mothers doing this to their daughters?  Let the girls make their own bad decisions when they’re old enough (like I did)!  Don’t make the bad decisions for them!  Grow up, moms!

Give your daughter the confidence to be herself without wanting to hide behind an artificial mask.  Teach her that brains, ambition, sincerity, and genuine care and love for others will carry her much farther than wanting to look like every other sex object in the world.  Teach her humor.  Teach her compassion.  Teach her humility.  Teach her to value her own self worth, gifts, and talent WITHOUT needing to pretend to be something else.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look pretty.  We all enjoy it, and it’s fun to get dressed up.  There’s nothing wrong with makeup and having your hair done.  There’s nothing wrong with heels.  But there’s also a time and place for it.  Once the innocence of childhood is gone, it will NEVER come back!  Value your daughter’s innocence and natural beauty.  Protect it.  Let her know that she’s just fine without it.

And last of all, here’s a shout out to those moms who say no! Good for you!

Acceptance, Anxiety, Bad Attitudes, Be Happy, Be Kind, Being Strong, Don't Judge, Doormat, Happiness, Kindness, Manners, Rejection, Relationships, Respect, Self respect, Support, Uncategorized

Acceptance vs. Rejection

Acceptance.  We all want/need/crave it throughout our lives.  We first need it from our parents, siblings, and extended family.  Some people aren’t fortunate enough to ever feel that.  Then we need acceptance from friends, teachers, and coaches, employers, co-workers, our adult peers, and even our spouses and own children.

Why do we need acceptance?  Why is it so important for us to feel loved?  Besides the basic needs of life…..food/water, shelter, and warmth, we also NEED love and acceptance. Humans are socially wired, and need each other.  I know there are some people who really don’t care if they are accepted or liked, and I will admit, that I don’t care if I am liked by certain people.  Life is too short to waste our time on negativity or hate. However, if you’ve done your best to be kind, considerate, honest, generous, helpful, and truly nice to someone, why wouldn’t they like or accept you?  Why would they reject your sincere efforts to be a good person?  Rejection is painful.

As a child, I was fairly well liked by my teachers.  I was quiet and did my work, so that helped.  I did have a teacher or two in high school who just really didn’t like me though. It was a miserable experience!  I hated jumping through hoops for them, only to always be shot down, or criticized, no matter what I did.  It was a hard lesson to learn about the human spirit, and how mean people can be.  My husband had the same experiences with a few coaches along the way.  No matter what type of effort he put in at practices, games, etc. the coach was never satisfied. I think everyone can relate to similar experiences.

Why?  What gives someone the satisfaction of rejecting people?  Is it a power play? Is it fun having control over someone’s future or feelings?  Or does it make them feel good to hurt someone? Are they miserable people who only feel good when they are hating and disrespecting someone else?  Does it make them happy to criticize everything someone does, even when that person is doing their best?  Is it jealousy?  Are they rejecting you for the way you look?  The way you talk?  The way you dress?  The career you chose?  Your social status?  Where you come from?  Who you marry?  Misunderstandings, miscommunication, and grudges can also be a source of contention for us…..and it’s very unhealthy spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.  As a wife, mother, and educator, I can’t imagine ever treating someone so unfairly.  I want to be an example of how to treat people.

A friend recently told me about her 2 year old granddaughter getting scratched by another child. Not only was her granddaughter physically hurt, but she was confused as to why this other child would intentionally hurt her.  We do what we can to protect our loved ones, but sometimes we can’t protect them from everything and everyone. Teaching kindness, acceptance, forgiveness, and love is far better than teaching them to be jealous, spiteful, or resentful.  Teaching them to stand up for themselves and walking away from negativity and meanness is much harder.  They still need love and acceptance.

I guess this is all a part of life, and learning how to deal with difficult people. I have learned that there are people in this world who I can never make happy.  I can’t control their thoughts, their actions, or what is influencing them.  I can only continue to be myself……trying to be the best version of myself, and how my parents raised me.  I can never be cold to someone who has done nothing to hurt me.  In fact, sometimes, I find myself being nice to people who have been unkind or unfair to me, and really don’t deserve my niceness!  I get annoyed with myself for doing that at times, but I just can’t help it!  I don’t want to go through life making anyone feel rejected or hurt.  I can’t.  I have to keep telling myself though, that when I encounter rejection, especially when I have only been kind….it is not my problem.  When a person intentionally rejects you in order to hurt you, you are not the problem.  As hard and hurtful and mean as it is….as long as you continue to be the bigger person, it is not you.

Choose kindness, not hate.  Choose acceptance, not rejection.  Wouldn’t you rather be known for your kindness and acceptance instead of someone who intentionally hurt another by rejecting them?  Don’t be so caught up in yourself that you hurt someone else with rejection.  Remember…..acceptance is a human need.  Be kind.