Anxiety, Be Kind, Being Strong, Compassion, Coping, Courage, Emotions, Fear, Happiness, Invisible Illness, Just Breathe, Kindness, Loneliness, Love, Loyalty, Make a Difference, Misconceptions, Rejection, Relationships, Respect, Self respect, Thankfulness, Uncategorized, Understanding

You Don’t Always Have to Be Strong

I’ve been thinking a lot about the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain lately.  It’s really heartbreaking for their families, and leaves so many unanswered questions, but it seems that only when something like this happens do we really understand how much pain (emotional or physical) someone may have.  Of course, it’s too late to help them at that point, but how do we help someone who is hiding their pain from those they love? How do we know?  Some people love playing “the victim,” and love getting the attention that goes along with that.  Others of us, however, don’t want to be a burden on those we love.

My daughter had a friend who committed suicide a few years ago.  They were very close in high school, and then this friend ended up pushing away my daughter, along with a lot of other people who had been her friends.  Of course, it makes sense why she pushed everyone away now, but at the time, how could anyone know that she was hurting so much?  She pushed people away with meanness and made them not want to be with her.  I guess in her way, she was trying to protect them from the pain she knew she may eventually put them through.  Even when it happened, my daughter was not mad at her.  She hurt for her.  She still loved her.  She understood then that her friend had needed help, and didn’t know how to ask for it.

We all need help from time to time.

Last summer, I found myself in a dark place.  I was not suicidal, but I was sad.  I was afraid.  I was hurting.  And I was feeling a lot of pressure from so many different places.  I had been diagnosed with a medical condition that will be with me for the rest of my life.  I was alone when I got this diagnosis because my husband was in New York with his family.  I had recently been terribly hurt by some people I really cared about. I had no idea how I was going to handle another year of teaching with this type of medical diagnosis.  I was bogged down with some very difficult, important paperwork that was pushing me to my limit.  I was overwhelmed, alone, confused, sad, and hurting a lot.  I didn’t want to die, but I wanted to disappear for awhile.  I laid down on the kitchen floor, and cried.  And cried.  And cried.  And cried.  And finally a calmness came over me, and I got up and finished my paperwork that had been frustrating me so much.  I was still upset and alone, mad and frustrated, but I knew I had to pull myself together to keep going.  It didn’t matter what anyone else thought of me, or how anyone was trying to hurt me.  I had to keep at the paperwork, no matter how confusing and difficult it was.  Al would be home in a few days and we could begin exploring our medical options, and he would be home to comfort me.  It would all be okay.  I was entitled to a meltdown for all I was dealing with.  But I had to get up and face these obstacles.  I had to be strong for my husband and my children.  I couldn’t disappear.

Al and I had a discussion earlier tonight about how when either of us is hurting or sick, we try not to let the other one see how much we’re suffering.  We try to protect each other, even through our own pain.  I didn’t tell Al about my major meltdown last summer until recently.  I didn’t want to worry him, or put any added stress on him.  He worries enough about me….why cause him to worry more?  Why cause him added pain?  When he is sick, he tries to conceal how bad he feels so I won’t worry.  It hurts to see your partner hurt.  We are strong for each other, but we also know that sometimes we can’t handle everything alone, whether it’s a physical illness or a giant weight on our shoulders.  We need help from each other.  We don’t have to do it alone, and it has taken me awhile to learn this.  It isn’t something I’ve been used to.

Those people who are in so much pain that they take their own lives, aren’t trying to hurt anyone else.  So many times they have been protecting their loved ones for so long it becomes too heavy of a burden to carry.  They’ve had to be strong for everyone while they hurt.  They’re really quite selfless, even though some will argue just the opposite.  They’re funny, compassionate, and caring, but they have hidden their own feelings in order to protect those they love.  We know to take care of those who ask for help.  But let’s take care of those who seem strong too.  Let’s be there for the ones who always seem to be there for everyone else.  Let’s be there for the ones who start isolating themselves, even if they don’t want us.  Let’s be there for the ones who make us laugh when we want to cry.  Let’s be there for the ones who say, “I’m fine.”  They may be the ones who are suffering the most, and don’t know how to ask for help.  We are all human, and every human needs help at some point in their lives.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

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Anxiety, Comfort, Pennies From Heaven, Uncategorized

Searching for Comfort

Do you ever see something and it makes you think of someone from your past, or someone who has died?  I assume that you have all heard about the “pennies from Heaven,” where you see a penny on the street, and it means someone who has died is sending you a message.  My mother never carried much change or currency with her, but she always had a paperclip or two in her wallet, and we would tease her about it.  So now when I see a random paper clip, I figure it’s my mother thinking about me!  That always makes me laugh because it’s pretty silly.

Also, my mother loved cardinals, so when I see one, or possibly a pair, I think she is with me….maybe even brought my dad along with her if I see two. There are a couple of cardinals that appear in our backyard quite often. It’s kind of funny how I may be needing some comfort, and suddenly, there is a cardinal! How does that happen?  Is it just a coincidence?  Maybe…..but it still provides comfort, and makes me smile.

This morning, Al and I were watching CBS Sunday Morning (my favorite show), and they were talking about a lady who had been disrespectful towards her neighbors.  She became sick, and had a change of heart.  In the story, they showed a cardinal, and Al said, “See?  Your mom was there to help her!”  It’s funny how he only met her briefly once…..many years ago……but he has embraced the feelings we all had for my mother through our stories and memories.  He knows how good she was, and now he also thinks of her when he sees a cardinal!

When I’m near the water or hear certain jazz music, I think of my father, who loved the sea, and the big bands of the 1940’s.  When I eat certain foods, I think about my grandparents.  But those cardinals just seem to appear at the right times!  The Beatles sang, “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.”  Well, my mother was Mary, and I do believe she comes to me when I’m struggling, in the form of a cardinal.  After my mother died, I couldn’t sit through church without getting upset.  Certain hymns or scriptures could send me straight to tears.  I do okay now, but the cardinals are the strongest symbol I have of my mother.

Lately, life has been a struggle for different reasons.  I’m supposed to be avoiding stress, but circumstances and other people make that impossible.  A serious health condition, a heavy workload, bills, negativity, dishonesty, manipulative people, horrible things on the news, divisiveness, worrying about my children……..these things always weigh on me.  I want to fix things.  I want people to understand each other.  I want everyone to respect everyone.  I want to be completely healed.  I’ve been looking for cardinals lately, and haven’t seen any.   I need the comfort of that bright red bird, giving me the comfort that I feel when I think my mama is nearby.  A mother’s love and comfort is like no other.

The first day of spring is coming up, and I always look at this season as a time of new beginnings.  I will be spending more time on the back porch, looking for the cardinals, who will come to comfort me, and let me know that it’s all going to be okay.  With their presence, they let me know that everything will be fine.  This too shall pass.  We will survive.  Be patient.  Don’t be afraid to do what is right.  Start taking better care of myself.  Ignore the hate and negativity.  I am loved.

What is it that comforts you?  What reminds you of loved ones who are no longer with us?  Is it a song?  A certain type of food?  A television show?

Anxiety, Bad doctors, Be Kind, Bedside manner, Communication Skills, Equal Pay With Equal Skills, Kindness, Uncategorized

Time To Switch

What do you do when you don’t like your doctor?  I don’t mean my family practitioner.  I actually love him.  I believe he has saved my life on more than one occasion by referring me for more tests and to good specialists.  I was lucky enough to grow up with great family doctors in Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa.  We always received great treatment.  Trying to get in to see a specialist is a pain.  It takes forever!  So switching is going to be hard too.  Unfortunately, I am always going to need a good neurologist.

When all of this stuff started going on with my head, I started out seeing a couple of different doctors.  I liked one of them.  The other one….not so much.  Now I seem to be stuck with the one I don’t care for.  Wait…..I take that back.  I can’t stand him.  He has horrible bedside manner.  He’s rude.  He doesn’t listen.  And he seems to prescribe unneeded tests.  He makes me very uncomfortable.

The last time I went to see him, I told him my vertigo was extremely bad when I got off the elevator and came into his waiting room.  I was hanging on to the counter while checking in, trying not to lose my balance.  His response?  “Uh-huh.” I told him about some other things I was experiencing, and he decided to order a carotid ultrasound, and then said, “I don’t think it has anything to do with this, though.”  Okay!  So WHY are we wasting my time and money?  I shouldn’t have to take time off of work for tests that he thinks will be inconclusive, but will cost me more than a month’s salary.

He also increased my seizure meds, and told me I’m not having any side effects.  Does he know this without asking me?  I asked what the side effects might be, because I am extremely tired, and experiencing more dizziness.  He smirked and sort of laughed at me, but didn’t answer the question.  He also didn’t explain why he was increasing the dosage.  Why am I paying him?

Communication skills are not his strength, but he sure is making some big bucks by being an aloof asshole.  I make a fraction of what he makes, and have to have excellent communication skills in my profession.  Then I thought about cashiers and people in the service industry…..they better have great communication skills too!  Their income depends on it.  No one will want to do business with anyone who has poor customer service or communication skills.  Why does this guy still get to make a great living and be an asshole?  The people in his office are nice……I’m pretty sure they’re the only reason any patients stay with him.  After feeling uncomfortable and unsatisfied, I looked at his ratings online.  He has very low ratings.  At least I’m not the only one.

So I guess it’s time for me to find someone else…..wait for the next opening…..2-3 months down the road? Maybe doctors should start getting performance pay, like they’ve started doing with teachers……and bedside manner is part of their overall evaluation.  If patients aren’t happy with the performance of the physicians, then they get the minimum pay, or they lose their job.

As I’ve said so many times before, what does kindness cost?  Not being nice just makes people feel crappy, and may cost you in the long run.  But being nice doesn’t cost a thing, and always, always, always makes you a good person, no matter what your profession. So adios, Doc, and I am off to find a new neurologist, with good bedside manner, good feedback from other patients, and who will make me feel comfortable with knowledge of my condition.

 

Anxiety, Attitude Adjustments, Be Happy, Be Kind, Being Strong, Bewitched, Busy Minds, Civil Rights, Compassion, Coping, Courage, Empowerment, Family, Fear, Focus, Happiness, Insensitivity, Invisible Illness, Just Breathe, Kindness, Laughter, Laughter is the best medicine, Life Happens.....Make the Best Of It!, Loneliness, Love, Loyalty, Making life interesting, Manners, Misconceptions, Passion for Living, Peaceful Protests, Racism, Rejection, Relationships, Respect, Self respect, Support, Thankfulness, That's life, Tom Jones, Uncategorized, Understanding

Hocus Focus

I’ve had a bit of writer’s block lately.  Part of it is because I have a hard time typing with a brace on my wrist. Part of it is just because I’ve been a bit distracted with a few things lately.  I start to write, and I find myself not wanting to finish the topic because I get worried how some people might react.  I try to keep my posts positive, and try to inspire people to do their best, while maybe sharing some experiences from my life, or funny stories.  I know I shouldn’t worry about that, because I know if I’m doing the best I can, that’s all that matters.  I have a level of sarcastic humor that not everyone gets, but I can’t worry about that either.  I’ll try to give you an idea of what my mind has been like lately….

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is today……let’s keep moving forward.  Even my 1st graders think racism is awful.

Broken wrists suck.

Vertigo sucks.

I have a secret crush on Tom Jones.

Migraines suck.

Free movie passes are great.

I, Tonya was a good movie.

Catch the movie, Mudbound on Netflix……eye opening, and should tug at everyone’s heart.  Let’s not ever go back to that. Mary J. Blige does an excellent job in it.

I love Kansas City at Christmas.

I love warm weather.

My dog is the sweetest, snuggled next to me as I type this.

The Vikings had an awesome game yesterday, and I hope they go all the way, especially for my best friend’s sake…..she loves them!

Some people really take advantage, and are attention whores.

I would never have the nerve to set up a Go Fund Me account for myself…….

Therefore, medical bills and trying to get by through this really sucks.

Donald Trump sucks.  Yep.  I said it!

What happened to manners?

Why can’t people respect your time and your finances?  It’s not up to anyone else how you spend these things, and if you have the time or money for something.  I would never tell someone, “You have time for this,” or “You can afford that.”  No one’s energy level is the same as someone else’s, and no one knows what your financial obligations are.

A man complimented me in the elevator in the medical building for the boots I had on….then he asked if that was okay because he wasn’t sure it was acceptable….compliments should always be acceptable.

Work/teaching is exhausting.

Trying to get my foot in the door with real estate is next to impossible while teaching full time.  Taking my post license course now.

I don’t like one of my medical specialists…….at all.

Sometimes no matter how nice you are to people, they just won’t like you.  Be nice anyway, but protect yourself.  You can’t make them care.  Their actions will show you how they feel.  Be kind.

Seizures suck.

My family is wonderful.

I don’t get to see a lot of Al this time of year because he works at lot with youth basketball, so we spent today together.  He helped me with groceries and put gas in my car…..helping me with that wrist thing.

My kids are great…..and goofy, and I worry about them all the time.

Social anxiety can be crippling……try to smile and get through it.  I feel it every day.

Youth basketball games are fun to watch, especially when they’re scrappy little kids.

Some people are heartless.

I’m addicted to reruns of Bewitched.

Spring and summer need to get here soon. I need summer now!

So you can see……my mind is all over the place…..writer’s block, because I can’t focus on anything.  Not feeling bad or depressed….I’m just overwhelmed with a lot right now, so my mind is a busy place.  I wonder if I have adult ADD to add to the list of conditions? Maybe if I am able to reduce the stress in my life and get the rest I need, I can focus!  For now, I will rely on exercise and meditation (and Bewitched) to get me through!

I hope you all have had a great Martin Luther King Jr Day.  Did you do anything to give back? I didn’t this year.  I just don’t have the energy.  My justification for this is that I give back each day when I walk into my classroom. Every teacher does……

Get focused! Now back to studying….

 

 

 

 

Anxiety, Childhood Innocence, Christmas Movies, Christmas Stories, Happiness, Holiday Spirit, Holidays, Innocence, Laughter, Love, Season's Greetings, The Polar Express, Uncategorized

I Can’t Stand The Polar Express!

Why does everyone but me love The Polar Express movie?  I will admit, that the book, written and illustrated by Chris Von Allsburg, has beautiful illustrations, but an entire movie about it????  It’s dark, and creepy, and sad.  I find nothing enjoyable about it at all.  The season, and the movies that accompany it should be joyful, happy, and make you feel GOOD!  So before all of you Polar Express fans start beating me with your Christmas bells, let me explain…..

So many things don’t make me feel good about this movie.  Children get on a train in the middle of the night with strangers.  Haven’t they ever heard of “Stranger Danger?”  It’s a fairly modern tale……I know there are stories from the past that have children doing all kinds of dangerous things (Home Alone has dangerous antics, but at least it’s funny), but this is creepy. If my kids took off in their pj’s when they’re supposed to be in bed, I would hope that law enforcement would issue an Amber Alert…..even if it was Tom Hanks who took them!  Haven’t they told their kids not to get into a car (or a train) with a stranger?  Not only do they board a train, but they also end up on TOP of the train with a hobo, who is also played by Tom Hanks.  Who the heck was that guy?  Why did he need to be in that movie?  Is it symbolism that was lost on me?  I could not connect the dots for this one.  He serves no purpose except to add more creep factor, in my opinion. That entire scene made no sense, and really scared the crap out of me!

There are a bunch of hot chocolate guys who dance and sing through the car.  Why?!  It doesn’t flow with the rest of the story at all.  Strange little men, doing acrobatic type stunts with hot liquid on a train car full of children.  They may as well be running with scissors too!

The characters aren’t attractive or appealing either.  They look very cold, expressionless, and sad.  At first, I thought it might be because of early computer animation, but the conductor looks just like Tom Hanks, so I don’t think that’s it.  They’re just unattractive and stiff!  And the poor little boy sitting in the car all by himself…..what’s that all about?  Is he being punished for being poor?  Tom Hanks’ conductor character is rather intimidating and impatient.  Why is he working with children? He needs to be more patient to work with kids.  Why would a child go with him when he isn’t exactly oozing with charisma?  He actually seems a bit threatening and mean about those darn tickets, even if he can make art with his hole punch!

The scenes from the North Pole seem like an industrial country left over from the Cold War.  The way the citizens/elves and children cheer for their leader, Santa…..also voiced by Hanks, is rather reminiscent of the old film footage of the citizens of communist countries cheering for their leaders…..or like a cult worshiping their leader…….spooky! And Santa isn’t merry and jolly and happy…….why?  Where is our happy Santa?  Why is this movie so dark???

I need joy, laughter, and happiness for a Christmas movie.  I don’t want to be afraid, confused, or see characters as something scary or dark.  Give me Elf, A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, Charlie Brown, Rudolph, and the original Grinch.  Those each have a happy ending, full of love and hope.  They don’t leave me asking questions about the plot line or symbolism.  The Polar Express leaves me feeling sad and depressed, and has me completely freaked out while I’m watching it!

As much as I love Tom Hanks, Christmas movies, and the holiday season, I just can’t get into this movie, no matter how hard I try.  Believe me, as an educator who has to watch it every year, and a mother who’s youngest child loves it, I’ve tried!  I just don’t like it.  I’ve always wondered if there are more people like me out there…..hating on this movie.  Anyone?  Or am I alone in my disdain for this film?

Anxiety, Bad Attitudes, Be Happy, Be Kind, Compassion, Happiness, Holiday Spirit, Holidays, Innocence, Kindness, Laughter, Love, Negativity, Passion for Living, Season's Greetings, Togetherness, Uncategorized

Stay Off the Naughty List!

Each year at this time, I’m reminded of the time I was at the grocery store a couple of years ago just before Christmas.  The place was a madhouse, packed with busy, stressed, uptight shoppers.  Apparently, I wasn’t moving fast enough for one shopper, because she very impolitely ordered me to, “Get the hell out of my way!” I moved, but looked her in the eye, smiled, and said, “I guess we know who’s on Santa’s naughty list!”  She didn’t appreciate it, but I got a good chuckle out of it!

I have a ton of holiday cheer.  It’s not unusual for me to be playing Christmas music in the car, in my classroom, at home while I cook, in the bathroom, etc.  I love my decorations and my tree.  I love Christmas movies.  I’ve talked about this before, so I won’t bore you with it again.  But the most wonderful thing about about this time of year is the spirit.  Yet, I try to keep the spirit alive all year with a positive attitude, cheerfulness, appreciation, and compassion for others.  I don’t like it when someone tries to kill my spirit.  That lady at the grocery store tried to kill my spirit.  People who insist on taking the fun out of Christmas or other times of year are attempting to kill my spirit.

I used to stress about the holidays, trying to get everything done with my kids, my family, shopping, wrapping gifts, traveling, cooking, and also taking care of my students, planning fun activities for them as well.  It was ALL on my shoulders.  I felt such pressure to make it all perfect for everyone else, and I really didn’t take the time to appreciate the true meaning of love, sharing, giving, and togetherness……and I never felt appreciated for all I did. I have learned not to stress as much, and to let some things take a back seat to others.  Because of my health, I’ve also learned to say no, and stop with a few unnecessary things.  I’ve scaled back on my decorations a lot, but still have a houseful.  So when someone else puts grumpiness, anger, negativity, or extra burdens on me, it makes me upset that they are trying to kill my spirit.  I want to enjoy this time of year without feeling pressure to do what everyone else expects of me.  I need to stay healthy, so I can’t do it all anymore. I have to slow down and take time to enjoy the spirit.

I decided today that my dog needed a new sweater for Christmas because his is looking a little shabby (Shhh!  Don’t tell him).  I went to the little shopping center where the pet shop is, but I couldn’t find any parking spots.  I drove in circles through the parking lot, trying to find a place to park, for at least 10 minutes.  It seemed like it was taking a lot longer.  I had a couple of spots picked out, and was waiting for the other driver to pull out.  I waited patiently with my blinker on, only to have someone pull in from the other direction before I could get in.  I could have become angry and cursed them out, but what for?  What good would it do?  If they didn’t do it intentionally, then I might be ruining their spirit by getting mad at them.  If they did it on purpose, I wasn’t going to let them ruin my spirit by getting angry.  I eventually found a spot, and enjoyed a nice little (long) walk into the store to find the doggy sweater.  When I got into the store, I was surprised by Santa Claus, who was taking pics with pets.  He was sitting alone, and caught me off guard.  I said, “Oh!  Hello Santa!” He said, “Hello Little Girl.  Have you been good this year?”  I actually stood there, and thought about it for a minute.  Then I told him I have!  I’ve been really good!  It’s been a rough year in a lot of ways, but I’ve been good, and I’m still full of happiness, positivity, good cheer, and holiday spirit.  He wished me a merry Christmas, and then welcomed a couple of little dogs in elf hats onto his lap.

Others can choose to be negative, angry, suspicious, manipulative, mean, and critical.  They can attempt to kill my spirit when they have none.  Others can choose to rush, and put pressure on themselves to do everything, feeling stressed and drained of any Christmas cheer.  Don’t force that on others who choose to be appreciative of life.  Take your “Bah humbug!” somewhere else.  Find your true Christmas spirit, and keep it all year long!  Spread true Christmas cheer year round.  It will most definitely keep you off of the naughty list!

Anxiety, Be Kind, Being Strong, Change, Compassion, Courage, Empowerment, Insensitivity, Manners, Respect, Sexual Harassment, Support, Uncategorized, Understanding

A New Tomorrow

It seems that every day we are hearing of another famous person (man) being fired and/or accused of inappropriate behavior in the workplace.  Men disrespecting women in the workplace and other areas of life has been happening since the beginning of time, and happens worldwide.  Different countries and cultures have placed women in submissive roles for a very long time.  Thank goodness the tide is turning, and women are finally beginning to have the support to stand up for themselves, and hold these slime ball men accountable for their actions!  But we need to be careful, and make sure to look at each case individually.  This is where things could get cloudy and confusing.

I’m so proud of these women who are able to gather the strength for this battle.  I have been harassed in the work place and other places.  Like these victims, I was afraid to stand up.  I felt embarrassment, shame, and guilt.  Was it something I invited?  I’ve also had co-workers who have acknowledged a nice outfit I’m wearing, or have given me a compliment that I look nice.  I have taken it as just that.  A compliment…..and who doesn’t need a compliment every now and then?  Being able to tell the difference is key, but where do we draw that line?  How do we keep the violators from using that as a defense?  I realize that sexual assault and comments made about anatomy are different than compliments, but some may not as we face this new era of empowerment.  I’ve complimented the appearance of my colleagues.  I work with a friend who has GREAT legs, and looks fantastic in a dress.  I compliment her every time she’s in a dress, because I would love to have her killer legs!  I know she takes it as a compliment, but it would be inappropriate for a man to say the same things I have said.  I know she won’t accuse me of sexual harassment.  She knows that isn’t my intent, and she is level headed enough to know the difference.  Not everyone would get that.

My daughter worked in an environment with a lot of homosexual men for a few years.  A few of them made inappropriate sexual jokes and innuendos made in her presence that made her uncomfortable.  These things weren’t directed at her, but sex talk in the work place is inappropriate.  She was very upset a few times about how they laughed at her when it was brought to the attention of management.  After all, she couldn’t claim they were hitting on her, but she was uncomfortable.  I’m sure she would have had a legal case against them, but didn’t want to lose her job, which is exactly what would have happened.  With all of the awareness and training about sexual harassment in the workplace, they should have known better, even if they weren’t hitting on her.

I live in the South, where calling someone, “Honey,” “Sweetheart,” or “Baby,” isn’t meant in a condescending way.  These are terms of endearment.  They let someone know that they care about you.  Said in another part of the country, however, it could be taken in a completely different way.

I despise what these men have done, and how they have used their power to humiliate and abuse their victims.  My heart aches for the victims, who have had had to endure years of pain and suffering, sometimes sacrificing their careers or personal happiness because of these arrogant birdbrains.  However, I’m also afraid that a few women are going to take it too far, and try to ruin someone over something innocent.  This is the cloudy area I referred to earlier.

We are on a new horizon with all of this.  We don’t really know what to expect, except change.  This is GOOD! However, with change, we need to have guidelines, and use good judgement on all sides.  We all need to mind ourselves and speak and act carefully.  What is funny and acceptable to some may not be funny and acceptable to all.  It comes back to that word I’ve written about quite often……respect.  Respect and understanding for all should always be taken into consideration.  Then……..we may just make it through this.