Posted in Morality Series

Layers

In talking to my cousin about life, he loves to say that situations have layers.  I am quick to come to conclusions and make decisions, but he often reminds me of the layers.  I tend to overlook the layers, but I realize that I have them too.

Let me explain what he means by layers.  Layers are those experiences that determine how one reacts to things, people, and situations.  For instance, I will not eat watermelon in public because of the stereotype associated with African Americans  loving watermelon.  I love watermelon, but I will not eat it in public because I have attached a negative image to my eating watermelon. I will turn it down if offered to me even though I really love it.  I’m not quite sure if the stereotype is a negative one, but I still will not be seen in public eating watermelon.  I know it’s silly, but that’s not enough for me to change that behavior.  So if I were turn watermelon down in public and asked why, my cousin would say there are layers to my decision.  Basically, the decision and the reasons behind it are more complex than it appears.

I am generally intolerant of bad behavior.  I do not take into account the “layers” behind the situation.  I am quick to disassociate with a person who I feel has treated me unjustly. There have been several instances of my ending relationships rather abruptly because I don’t feel it important for me to understand the why.  I would rather remove myself from the relationship entirely.  My cousin often reminds me of the layers behind people’s actions.  I’m on the fence on whether or not to take these layers into consideration or not.  I do think it is best to remove yourself from a toxic situation as to not add any negative layers to your own life.

I feel that it is important to acknowledge these layers and not to judge people too harshly.  So if I turn down your watermelon at a public function, don’t take it personally.  There are layers behind that situation.  I’m working on it.

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Posted in Think About it Thursday, Uncategorized

Are You Responsible for How People Treat You?

 

I have made a huge change in my life.  With this change came a lot of work that I needed to do physically and emotionally.  I will first explain the physical work.  I  made a physical move.  My son and I moved into another home.  Our new home was very close to the old one so I didn’t plan on hiring movers, and there was no deadline for me to leave my old home so I could take my time.  I packed our essential things gradually leaving the things we needed readily accessible in place.  I had no clear-cut plan on how the move was going to get completed.  I just relied on the fact that there was no rush.  I had time and I was only moving a few miles away.  So I packed my nonseasonal things in boxes and drove them to my home each day over that span of several weeks.  I chose not to fill my fridge with groceries as I would be moving it to.  Although I still had no plan on when and how I was going to do so.  The same went for my large furniture items.  I knew I would have to move them eventually, I didn’t want the shell out the cash to pay for movers, and didn’t feel the pressure of time.

A few weeks went by, and  I was still a one-woman caravan for my manageable items, but the larger items remained and I was starting to feel the effects of being unsettled.  I was rifling through packed boxes to fish out things I needed, but had packed because I believed I would only have use for them when I had completed the move.  As my frustration started to build, I began to wonder why no one had offered to help.  Everyone in my circle knew I was moving.  They all knew how I was traveling back in forth with my mid-sized SUV packed to the hilt.  They had all seen me stooped in pain from carrying boxes back and forth, loading and unloading.  I was getting upset with everyone around me for watching me struggle with this move.

Then I realized that I had never asked for help.  Not only that, several times in the past, I had refused help when it was offered.  It didn’t click with me at the time that my constant refusal of help may have been a signal to all of my friends that I didn’t need the help.  I was responsible for how they were treating me, but being the stubborn person that I am, continued to move unassisted.  I moved beds, a coffee table, shelving units, boxes, all by myself.  I even carried a six-drawer dresser up six stairs into my new home.

Eventually, I hired movers to move my refrigerator and sofas.  I have no idea how I was able to do so much, but I paid that price.  I visit a chiropractor twice a week now.  I could not walk the day after I completed my move, and two days later I couldn’t stand upright.  Was I proud of what I had done? Yes.  Was it stupid? Yes.  Was it necessary? No. Could I have asked for help? Absolutely.  Have I learned my lesson?  Not yet, but I’m working on it.   Old ways die hard and I am certainly open to suggestions.

 

 

 

Posted in Morality Series, Uncategorized

Being Humble

It has become evident to me that being humble is quickly fading away.

To many people, being humble is a weakness or a lack of  confidence, but to me it has always meant something different.  One can be humble and confident. The two are not mutually exclusive.  When I think of being humble, I think of being a person who is well aware of their gifts, talents, and accomplishments and also aware of their weaknesses, shortcomings and goals yet to be attained.  Having made significant accomplishments does not mean there is no room to grow or that any shortcoming or weakness should be dismissed or ignored.

I am reminded of an incident in my hometown of a student who was gifted academically and athletically.  The student  earned many scholastic awards and several scholarships for academic and athletic merit.  Unfortunately, that student made a series of poor decisions and was arrested.  Of course the incident received attention on all of the local news outlets as this highly decorated student had fallen victim to the trappings many young people face.  What surprised me was the reaction of the student.  The student did not take ownership of the wrongdoing, but instead reacted with anger towards those who mentioned or passed along news of the arrest.  I am well aware  there is a certain type of person who loves to see the mighty fall from grace, but  the student’s reaction was troubling to me.  I am also well aware that the highly accomplished, gifted, and talented fall victim to the same temptations as everyone else, but those gifts and accomplishments do not excuse or dismiss bad behavior or eliminate the consequences of poor decisions.  The student’s reaction was that of prideful boasting of previous accomplishments and a dismissive wave of the hand to the arrest record. All of this documented on the student’s social media site and quickly spread like wildfire. Certainly one poor decision does not take away all of your accolades, but those accolades should not excuse one from misconduct.

In my opinion, there has been a major shift in values.   With the rise of social media and instant access to almost everything, we have been taught to create a cult of personality with little to no attention paid to maintaining an honorable reputation.

This post was just to vent my personal frustration.  I have no solutions to offer other than to challenge all of us to protect ourselves from valuing the trivial and transient and to place your value in the things that cannot be replaced.

 

Posted in Introvert Lounge

In a Sea of Extroverts (A tiny rant)

If you have read any of my other posts, you know I’m an introvert.  I am an introvert who does not appear to be on because and many people don’t understand, I love people.  I can be the life of the party for about 15 to 30 minutes.  Then I have to disappear.   If I actually attend a party you can rest assured that it was either mandatory, a mistake, it was one of those step-out-of-my-comfort-zone moments, or I had some idea of a quick and clever escape once I arrived.  I have always felt my introversion was an advantage and I have learned to stop making excuses for it, but recently I am seeing that there is a  clear extrovert advantage and it is making my me feel, for lack of a better phrase, some kind of way.

Those who are extroverts and thrive on creating and attending social events can really put the pressure on an introvert.  Especially if you find yourself in a sea of introverts.  There is a very well-liked extrovert who has recently entered my circle of associates.  This introvert is the one who plans get-togethers, parties, meet ups, group outings, all the things I and many introverts shy away from.  Being the introvertiest person in the group, I often feel the pressure of attending these functions as all of the others are willing to accept.  To top it of, I get lots of “Are you coming to this one? You didn’t come to the last one?”  I feel like I am drowning in a sea of extroverts.

In instances like these, I feel the extrovert has disrupted my little world. In a sea of extroverts it takes time for them to adjust to your introvert ways.  I have to navigate the “it’s not you, it’s me” conversations to assure them that although I enjoy their company, I get over it quickly and want the interaction to end.  Once I get them used to me, someone comes along and makes me the odd one out all over again. UGH!  My little group was accustomed to me leaving events early or not going at all, and would let me do so in peace without question.  Now this new introvert has reignited them. It is as if they have forgotten what kind of person I am.

Now I have to start over but, that’s okay.  If you plan to have a healthy and fulfilling life you have to adjust to different types of people.  This instance is challenging to me but, I will work through it.

 

Posted in Embracing Vulnerability Series

Do I want to be an independent woman?

There are songs about it.  Women are praised for it. We all want to be it, don’t we?  I am referring to being independent.  This past year I have heard it so many times.  I’ve said it so many times.  I’ve felt it many times.  I am on the fence about whether or not I like it.  I know it is not the most politically correct thing to say, but being an independent woman kind of sucks.  What I mean is, I don’t want to be an independent woman.  I want help.  I need help.  People were put on this earth to help one another and I am no longer going to be too embarrassed to admit that I can’t do everything myself.

For the past several years, I have been going through a major transition in my life.  It is a welcomed transition and I am looking forward to this new chapter in my life, but the process has been very lonely and I have had to do many things on my own.  I have been the quintessential independent woman.  I can change my own oil, change a tire, shoot a rifle or handgun, (better than most), move heavy objects, etc. all by myself.  I even have even been given the name, Superwoman by my colleagues.  People often wonder how I can do so much.  My answer is, because I have to.  I honestly do not want to be an independent woman. I want to be able to do all of the things I listed, but I don’t want to have to do them all by myself.  I wears me out.  When I take off my fancy bulletproof, uniform with the chiseled muscles embossed on the glossy exterior, what lies beneath  is a battered and bruised body with aches and pains. That body is in need of a warm bath, massage, and bandages, but I am too tired to run the bath or reach for the bandages.  Instead I sit and wait until the throbbing pain subsides and I put on the Superwoman garb to cover what has yet to heal and walk out into the next day to begin again as an “independent woman”.

The Superwoman moniker is somewhat true in my case.  On the outside looking in, I may seem invincible.  My superhero uniform is pristine and I am, for whatever reason, freakishly strong physically.  I only sleep, at most, three hours a night and function perfectly on just those three hours (my grandmother was the same way.  It is apparently a gene mutation. You can read a little about it here. )  All of these things are remarkably impressive, but unlike most superheroes, I lack the ability of rapid healing.  I feel the effects of my “independence” physically and emotionally.  I will have to admit that a lot of it is my fault.  When I was younger, I was so proud of all of my seemingly superhuman abilities and loved to show them off.  I taught everyone around me that I could do everything myself.  After a while, offers to help stopped coming in because I supposedly didn’t need it.  I was an “independent woman who didn’t need no help”.  I didn’t like it then and I don’t like it now.  I gave in to the pressure of being the independent woman.  I wore it like a badge of honor, but it became my scarlet letter.  Being the “independent woman” was shielding me from the help I needed.

Years later, I realize I am in the same pattern.  I am no longer challenging men to arm wrestling contests, but I am still showcasing my “independence”.  Now I would welcome any help that is offered, but I have shown that I don’t need it.  As old habits die hard, I have become accustomed to turning down help because I have also convinced myself that I am invincible.  I have recently had to allow myself to show weakness.  Every superhero has his or her limits and I have reached mine.   As before, I can still do all of those things, but it is getting harder to just throw on the costume and make it through another day.

Now I have to create new habits and change old behaviors.  These past few months have been quite challenging, even for this superhero.  I have never cried so much in my life.  I have wondered why no one has been around to help.  I had to realize that I had put on a superhuman performance that showed all of my loved ones that I could handle everything on my own.  I truly believe in being vulnerable.  In some areas of my life I feel that I am, but I never ask for help.  I have no problem expressing my feelings or showing when I am hurt, disappointed, unhappy, etc., but I never ask for help with dealing with those things.  I have a lot of work to do.  As I have mentioned before in many of my previous posts, I am a work in progress.

I would like to challenge all of us to not only be open to help, but to also ask for when when we need it.  We were not put on this earth to travel this journey alone.  Although it is great to be self-sufficient, self-reliant, and self-supporting, we don’t have to be, nor should we be.

 

Posted in Embracing Vulnerability Series, Good Stuff

Build

We are all building something. It is up to us which materials we choose.

As like all people, I have had ups and downs, highs and lows.  During the downs and lows, I felt stagnant.  I felt as if I was stuck in mud, marinating in gloom and doom.  What I did not know was that even in those down/low times, I was building.  I was building with inferior materials of guilt, self-pity, anger, and insecurity.  Those things are flimsy and degradable.  Once I realized those things were not going to improve my position or outlook, I had to first get out of the mud and that required some help.  Sometimes you aren’t capable of getting out of the mud on your own.  You need something to grasp onto.  I latched on to my faith in God.  I realized I had sank so deep in the mud that I allowed my hands to get stuck as well.  I had stop reaching for help.  Wiggling my hands free from the mud was a choice I had to make and I made it.  That was one of the best decisions of my life.

Once I reached out my hand and let faith lead the way, I was given the materials to construct an abundant life.  I did not find them! I did not purchase them! THEY WERE GIVEN TO ME! 

It had to be my choice to wiggle my hand free from the mud, reach out and believe. That was all I had to do.  God took care of the rest.  I made a choice to accept that I could not build on my own.  I had to get rid of the inferior materials to make way for the premium-grade.

I would like to challenge all of you who feel you are stuck in the mud to at least wiggle one hand free. Have faith, reach out and believe.

 

Posted in Tea Talk Tuesday, Uncategorized

Bloom

We have all been planted.  Some can bloom in their present situation.  Some need to be uprooted and transported to an environment conducive to growth.  Regardless of your situation, you owe it to yourself to blossom.

Sometimes change needs to happen. If your present situation is not to your liking, by all means, do something to improve it.  Things could always be worse, but they could also be better.  There is always a bright side.  Don’t be afraid of the light.  The grass is not always greener on the other side, but if there is no sunlight on your side of the fence, nothing will grow.  Make a move!  Go out and find the sunlight to fuel your growth.