perspective

Diamond or Volcano?

I don’t know anyone who has escaped the pressures of the pandemic. Frontline workers putting their lives on the line every day.  Parents who are trying to work from home while managing kids, maybe even multiple kids, who themselves are trying to manage learning from home.  Those same kids who have to try to learn while so many of the best parts of school (friends, fun events, recess) are taken away for now. Adults who can’t work, who have lost jobs, who are facing bills with less or no income. People being abused who are now quarantined with their abusers. People who are anxious, fearful, in despair.

After weeks of staying mostly at home, seeing mostly my family and a familiar four walls, I am restless, tired, often irritable.  I am worn out on eating well some days.  I have less motivation to exercise.  I am quite aware that my problems are much smaller and more manageable than most.

I said in one of my early pandemic posts that this crisis will bring out the best in some people and the worst in others.  A friend recently shared a smart post that said that in this time, jerks are becoming bigger jerks.  Compassionate people are becoming more compassionate. Our essences are expressing themselves.  Which are you?

We all have our ups and downs.  Good days and bad. Some of us have bigger problems looming than others. I get that.

Still, there really isn’t an excuse to be unkind.

I thought to myself, we are all under pressure.

Some of the most beautiful and most deadly things in the world are both born of great pressure.  Diamonds developed when pressure gets extremely intense.  Diamonds, something many consider extremely precious.  Something that sparkles.  Something we cherish. Have you seen diamonds coming out these days?  Kindness?  Generosity? Understanding? Even curiosity?  A willingness to listen?  Changing of minds?

At the same time, pressure between tectonic plates can collide and erupt into a volcano, spewing lava and destruction for miles and miles.  Something we run from, something many of us might fear.  Have you seen any examples of volcanoes around, spewing negativity and lack of understanding?  We’ve all seen them.  Angry protesters screaming at medical workers, police.  Nasty commenters belittling people instead of listening to their sincere concerns.

The 2 chicks have embraced “choose daily” from nearly the start of this blog.  I don’t know if anyone will get through this pandemic without cracks.  But instead of a crack that leads to hurting and destroying everything and everyone around, can you choose a crack that makes you more beautiful?

anonymous letters, Uncategorized

What’s That Stink?

Okay, a little dose of reality for you.

I’m sitting at a basketball game cheering on my kid. The game is being played at the local high school gymnasium. I sit in the bleachers with other parents and general spectators. It’s large, airy, open gym with high ceilings so you don’t have any lingering sweat or feet smells. It’s generally just fresh air circulating. Some attendees I know. Some I don’t.

Then all of a sudden it hits me out of nowhere. It’s a big stink. It lingers. It’s foul. Not like a dirty diaper but a stinky fart smell. I shrug and say to myself somebody is just nasty. A few minutes go by and boom it happens again.

It’s equally foul but may linger a bit longer. Hang time on point for that mystery farter! This time I look to my left and say is that you? The girl says no, is it you? Hell no, it’s not me! We conclude somebody is nasty around us and go back to watching the game.

And then it happens again. This time it’s the stench that makes your eyes water and we immediately and collectively put up our shirt to our mouth and nose to cover the nasty scent that is almost smoldering around us. We look around and mount suspicions.

To our right we notice another lady sitting close to a man covering her face. Was it her or was it the guy? We really don’t know but she leaves abruptly a few minutes later. Was it to check her drawers?

We also question if she ran off because she had to go shit herself in the proper place, the bathroom, or was she escaping from the guy that was sitting by her dropping silent but deadly farts?

We make eye contact with the guy. And he starts laughing. We start laughing and confirm you smell that over there too. Is it him and did he drive her off? It’s such a mystery. Who is the nasty one?

We will never know for sure but who in the heck goes to a kids basketball and repeatedly lets silent-but-ever-so-dangerous farts loose multiple times and stays to watch the game as if nothing is the matter?

In light of the crazy stink in my day, I giggled and reflected on my first book and one page in particular (the poop page) pictured above. Oh how this page makes me giggle about as much as poop, poop sounds in a public bathroom stall, poop stains in a commode and farts in general. Why?

Simply stated, girls don’t normally talk about it. You know poop. Shit. Caca. Dookie. The whole nine yards. It’s not politically correct and it also bothers my co-author. To the point we fought over inclusion of this page in our first book. The irony of which is, it’s one of the most liked pages! Check out The End for yourself and see what all the poop is about.

And while you at it, give this post a like if it made you giggle. I would like to see how
much my readers like a good laugh.

Now back to the story….How about some common decency for the others sharing the common air space in the gym? I obviously lived to tell about this story but I had to immediately change my clothes when I got home just in case the stink was lodged in my clothes. It was really so bad that spraying Lysol or perfume in the general vicinity would not have saved the day.

I will be sitting alone next week for sure. Until next time, smell ya later!

perspective

I Took the Dare! (And Now I’m Daring Myself!)

2019 was my Year of Fearless.

Some days, that word pushed me to do new things.  To live a little differently.  To take a breath and leap when I would usually just step back or walk away.  I still have many of the same fears, but they don’t hold me back quite as much or quite as often.

All in all, the fearless served me well.  I changed and grew in fearlessness, at least a little bit.

Now another turning of the year.  What should follow my year of fearless?

Last year, as I selected my word, I spent a lot of time thinking, considering options, weighing possibilities.

This year was a no-brainer.  It almost slapped me in the face. I picked up a set of notebooks while Christmas shopping, and there it was. So NOT me. But so needed to be!

The story began a while ago, in one of our gym-girl group chats.  Someone (not me!) asked for a challenge, which became a dare, which turned into a quite funny mid-November-damp-overcast-chilly-afternoon episode of me running a lap outside around the gym in a swimsuit.

 

Yup, I stripped off my gym clothes and took off running.  I mean, I’m a tank-top and shorts girl at the gym so the bathing suit was not much less than people see me wear most days, but still. Running through the parking lot in that for no apparent reason had me shallow-breathing-freaking-out through the entire class.

Growing up, whenever there was a game of truth or dare, I would quickly and silently slink out of the room.  If I had to play I always chose truth. Dare left too much to chance.

And so, my One Little Word of 2020 is….Dare.

Dare to live big. Dare to do crazy things.  Dare to continue to figure out who I am, and then dare to show people. Dare to put myself out there.

Dare to make big plans and, sometimes, dare to let go of the plan and see what happens. Dare to live in the moment.

Dare to dream outrageously. Dare to set big goals. And, maybe one of the things I fear most… dare to fail.  Dare to flop.  Dare to fall short.  Dare to (eek!) disappoint, then dust myself off and dare again even more relentlessly.

I’ve set my goals this year.  I set some that are all but surely out of reach.  This is totally out of character for me.  When I set goals, I usually pick something that I am relatively sure I can accomplish with a reasonable effort.  Not. This. Year.

The quote that I wrote in the front of my goal book:

“If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”

-Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Some of them do scare me.  But in some ways, that’s exciting.

What word is guiding you this year?

Looking forward to sharing the dares as the year goes along!

IMG_3923

 

awareness, featured

The trigger. The seize. The aftermath.

 

IMG_5743

He was clearly upset. Withdrawn. Facing away from us when they finally arrived after going around and around and around again trying to find us. So much effort and time trying to relax at the beach. Environmental conditions created stress. A lot of stress.

The trigger: stress in his environment. Unknown factors lurking. A racing mind.

Recently he had been doing so well with helping and navigating and being responsible in life and on this trip. I know he is growing up and takes such pride in his adult successes… he’s achieving and as he achieves new challenges come. He is growing up.

Miscommunication leads to frustration adding to elevated stress levels. Triggers in his world. Triggers that can spark negative thoughts and emotions that make his mind race. The peace in his brain turns to excitement or sparks.

After staring into the ocean, silent, for a while, I could see he was trying to manage those feelings. Those sparks that agitate him. He finally just turned over and laid down, head down, on the beach blanket. No sunscreen, no words, no nothing. He was trying to settle him. I know that feeling!

Every few minutes he would pick up his head and pound the sand where his face would lay as hard as he could. I figured he was trying to carve out a resting spot for his ears and cheeks. But he was also still working out that ball in his stomach. He probably popped up three times to pound the sand. I offered him our shovel but he didn’t respond. He was in his own space. His own head space. He was battling his inner demons.

A turbulent mind I would explain to most. Filled with why me? Why now? Why in public? What did I do to deserve this life? At one point he got up and went to put his feet in the water then went right back to sleeping, wrapping a shirt around his head. he just laid there silent and still in the sun. One may think this is no big deal.

I see it. I see the challenge. I see the mental burden. I see the chaos lurking. I see the pending explosion. The seize is here. The seize is happening.

It was the sound that hit me first. It was a guttural scream, a groan, a call. A shout. And then he was jumping, lunging, arms out reaching for the closest object or person of comfort.

5-8 seconds seems like a lifetime in this moment. Passers by freeze. Judgment is silent. An eerie feeling is in the air as those close say nothing.

The girl who was sitting next to me in our low beach chair was the support. I knew what was happening and tried to jump in between them. Told him who I was and where he was. I used his name. It’s ok. It’s me. You’re on the beach. You are safe. Put my hand on his arm to try to calm him. He was still confused. He said his ribs were hurting and grabbed his side. That’s when I got scared since I didn’t know what that meant. I got help.

She was in in the water just feet away. Not out too far. I ran out to her and she was calm. She asked me what happened and just coolly walked back to him. She knew it was coming just didn’t know when.

At least she seemed cool compared to my jumpy insides. She called him over about halfway to him. Come get in the water with me. And he did. He went with her and they walked out together and a minute later he dove in the waves. I just watched silently as she cared for him and walked through it with him as she had a million times before. Then they called for boogie boards and I brought them quickly. Then off they went just laughing and swimming and hitting the waves.

When he came in you could tell he was a little quiet. Self conscious. She said he surveyed to see who noticed, who saw his episode. Like he has done many times before. Then the day just wore on. He threw the football and flew a boogie board like a kite and laughed and smiled his special radiant smile.

Did I do anything right? Did I help? His seizures are so different than the ones I had seen in the past. I thought I would help him get to the floor and try to cushion his head and protect him from hurting himself as the seizure ran its course. None of the that happened.

This was quick but violent. I wasn’t prepared. It was unexpected. If I was startled I could only imagine what this felt like for him. I understand he fears the seize daily. The unknown. The perceptions of others in the aftermath.

How would I feel living this way? Would I even want to live this way? I admire this boy for overcoming this challenge and the many challenges he will see in his future. Life isn’t easy. Adding a medical challenge like seizures to your life as you enter adulthood may be one of the toughest hurdles he will have to overcome.

I, like many others, admire this young man. He is so strong and so determined but also so tender and kind. He’s a caring soul. He loves kettle corn and kinder chocolate, he gives amazing hugs and is so generous with family and loved ones. He has also endured so much but never takes advantage. He works above and beyond and without drawing attention to it or complaining. He cares so hard for others, keeps a warrior’s heart while weathering storms in his own brain. New love new admiration. And a new desire to understand and cheer for him in ways that matter.

And then his Mom, who had taught him all of this with courage and resilience and determination. Who fights for him and expects him to become his best self. Uncompromising in her belief in him and advocacy for him.

I’m in awe and amazed constantly and more so now than ever. If you ever come across a family who battles daily with a medical challenge, offer kindness and hope your way.

You never know if it’s a good day or a bad day for them. They are most likely shielding their life struggles like most put a bandaid on a cut. Kindness matters. Never judge unless you can walk a day in that hero’s shoes.

He is my hero. Our hero. He his one tough cookie. Today we celebrate him and where he is going in life. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. Seize today.

Screen Shot 2019-11-07 at 9.12.55 PM