Saturday, December 24, 2011

Beyond Therapy: Trusting Your Community

Although I've been done with actual therapy for years, I finally completed the process last Monday. Therapy gives you a theoretical framework upon which to re-build your life. You learn the how and why of what brought you to therapy. You eventually realize you are DONE! I may not know everything that happened to me, but I know ENOUGH. You leave counseling and begin actually living life.

I have many shame issues around my several disabilities. When our church plays the "drawing" game I have always declined to participate. You are in teams, you are given an object to draw and your team has 30 Seconds to figure out what you have drawn. This was the first year I dared to actually draw and be a part of this game.

A blind friend of mine lamented that I couldn't participate in the picture-guessing when others drew something. I decided not to be a downer on the other 30 people at the party and just accept this very small item that I couldn't participate in.

When my turn came I joked that I didn't want something really complicated like The Waldorf Astoria. I had to draw a Christmas Wreath. I quickly drew a sketch like I used to do for Physics problems and my team got it right away. What a victory! I felt so much better having made an effort, vs just sitting back wondering what it would be like to participate.

Unfortunately, my shame issues really got me in another area of my life. I use a walker and  hate the idea of using the lift on the bus. I got up before the driver had fully positioned the bus. I was parallel with the seats near the door when the bus lurched forward and I fell with all my weight on the right rail of my walker. I had the wind knocked out of me and it turns out that I cracked a rib.

Needless to say, when I can get back to my normal life in about a month, I'll ALWAYS take the lift! I can hear you all saying I have nothing to be ashamed of, but that damage is something God has been healing me of for years. (Guess I'm not done huh)?

Unlike when I was laid up after being hit by a car, this time, I follow directions and am totally thankful and at peace. People call me and I have folks willing and ready to assist me with laundry and shopping anytime I request it. I am so very thankful. People don't have to deal with me and having learned to be thankful does wonders for my general attitude.

I think of this phase of my life as the "lab" that goes with the "lecture" known as therapy.

Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to one and all.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

News Addiction

Today I read another sarcastic commentary about how people are wasting their lives watching television. The Internet got a short mention, but compared to television, it was only a minor offender.

I don't own a TV, and don't try to watch it via the Internet. (I experience such a smug sense of moral superiority). However, I never met a news service I didn't like.

Our Women's Bible Study has decided to do a 40-day-fast not on food, but on other time-sealers. Reality escapes like: TV, shopping or complaining. (ooh, not ready to even attempt that one)!

So, I picked broadcast news (radio, pod casts and the very tasty (visual) RSS news headline feed.

After only one full week of seriously avoiding all my beloved news programs, I realize that:

  • I have more energy because I get an actual night's sleep instead of being awake until 2:00 AM and having to rise at around 5 AM. I was dragging constantly.
  • I'm accomplishing more real work then I have for the last six months! (Around the time I changed from getting some news to trying to get ALL of the news)!

I added it all up and realized I was listening to almost 39 hours of news a week! Sunday night was the hardest, as that is my special marathon night of  a glorious 8 hours of various news programs!

I am ashamed to realize how much time News Addiction was steeling from my life.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Why I Don't Go To Movie Theaters Any More

The movie industry is bemoaning sagging theater attendance. They struggle to entice audience back (and it isn't working).

Funny how something so simple evades those guys in suits pulling down 6 figures. I just finished watching a rented movie via iTunes for $2.99. At a movie theater, $2.99 might cover some of the tax on my expenses for the evening.

I would get to pay $10 or more just to get in to see the movie. I'm forced to sit through at least 5 to 10 minutes of commercials, where the volume is turned WAY up. Eventually the movie I wanted to see rolls around.

Being an experienced movie goer, I've purchased my huge bucket of popcorn with extra butter. Popcorn for a price which makes me think of airport prices as being fair and balanced! But who can watch a movie without popcorn?

In the theater I'm subjected to the following "fringe benefits":

  • sticky floors with and without moisture
  • people talking to each other / their cell phones / the movie
  • Language used by 6-year-olds, in response to my request for quiet, which would shock a drunken sailor
  • people throwing things, usually popcorn, at each other, or the screen
  • inability to hear softer dialogue due to all of the above
Here at home I avoid all of the nonsense above, truly relax and enjoy a movie for only $2.99.

OK all you MBA's out there, which would you choose?

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The "Hidden" Cost Of Abandoning Social Media

Back in August I got off A month later I also left I still have to leave several other social media sites, but I rarely used them and don't believe they are as abusive to me as was.

I am saddened today by receiving an "invitation" to join from a local friend. It was shown in my email as a "bulk" item; meaning it could have gone out to every name on my friend's contact list. I had a sick feeling inside as I pondered my friend innocently leaping into a world where she can easily become a victim of several "bad things" which can happen on the internet.

I emailed her privately and explained my refusal to re-involve myself with social media. To date I've heard nothing from her. I miss out on all those fun pictures and snippets of life she will share with (potentially) everyone. It is a lonely place to be.

However, when I was actively involved in social media, I noticed a serious disconnect. There was a vast sense of "surface" and "fluff" communication. Twitter is only 120 characters per message and the problem became very blatant over time.

I noticed a heightened sense of frustration as I tried to more deeply connect with people. No one has time for that any more. They are off to a conference, or a second job or (God forbid) they have to leave cyberspace to go home and relate to the real human beings in their family.

I have difficulty connecting with people. This is not news to me. I realize that cyberspace is no solution to feeling isolated. As the Bible so rightly advises "If you want friends; show yourself friendly" Busy business people aren't interested in me. I occasionally blog something of interest to that group, but usually, not so much.

I am concentrating on the friends I have at church. I take small steps in trust and have been rewarded with actual shared communication and time.

But, there is that "pull" to follow the crowd and "join in." I refuse this impulse because greed wins out. To re-connect with all those wonderful things on facebook makes my entire life and identity the property of anyone with money (advertisers) or time (stalkers, spammers etc.) I find myself away from the crowd, either "one step ahead, or behind" I don't know at this point. This willlingness to not follow the pack is one trait in a leader.

I accept this position, but am a little surprised to find myself here.

June 2, 2011 addition.

Several friends have left the madness. One woman, who made it quite clear she was married and only interested in friendship got driven off from some low-class men inquiring about dating her! (This is a woman who is openly dedicated to church life and I'm amazed she got that kind of communication.

The more I hear about violations of privacy on social media, the more thankful I am that I got out. I'm getting involved with a religious website. I'll find out in short order how trustworthy they are by the email I may or may not receive.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I Choose "Life"!

I've been busy living an interesting and dynamic life. Somewhere between 2009 and now I've embraced the discipline of growing up. I'm learning self-discipline and self-control.

The rewards? A social life I used to bitterly rage about not having. I've been elected to my church's board of directors. The board then voted me as the secretary for the board and the general business meeting. Even though we are a small church, I keep minutes that could be used by my State, if they wanted to check up on something.

I am now 165 pounds, walking 4 miles each day, except Sunday. I now wear a size 16-18 instead of a 22-24. I refuse to fall into a swamp of depression when a friend I care about insists on not taking proper care of themselves. I have said my piece and there is nothing else to do, besides pray that the real cause of my friends behavior will be healed by God.

I have fought long and hard for all of the above. When I heard that my friend is (once again) back in the hospital, possibly facing more body-part amputations, I fell into a stooper of helpless rage.

After a quick call to a friend, I forced myself to stop staring at a wall and get up and take my 4 mile walk. It took over 3 miles before the downer mood lifted.

My being all bummed out will not bring change to my friend. Serious prayers, as I have been praying have a good chance of changing the underlying issue. Once that issue is cleared up, my friend will truly rise to the kind of newness of life I have discovered.

I've also returned to a favorite hobby of making a latch hook rug as a Christmas present this year. I will be writing in detail on all of this, but my life is turning into the real deal.

 I have something to do, someone to meet and somewhere to go, the three basic building blocks of a fulfilling life.