Harvey

I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been thinking about Mother Nature a lot this week. 

‘Tis the season when leaves begin to fall, school supplies are bought, and sweaters are dug out of dressers. Today catastrophic hurricane Harvey continues its rampage and flooding of Houston, Texas, the Gulf Coast. 

It makes my heart ache when I watch the television news of homes lost, affected families, and people helping others to safety.
During the summer of 1993 my city, Des Moines, was flooded and went for two weeks without water. It was devastating and a hardship. Harvey’s destruction is immeasurably worse. However, I see similarities 

  • unexpected crisis
  • people banding together
  • shock and loss

and when the worst is over…

  • grief and anger
  • healing
  • opportunity to start anew and planning for future
  • rebuilding
  • new mindset (good and bad)
  • appreciation 

My thoughts and prayers are with the people being bent by the terrible storm but not broken. 

From The New York Times: Where to Donate to Harvey Victims (and How to Avoid Scams). Find out how to help those affected by the devastating flooding in Texas. https://nyti.ms/2wd4ACc

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Owning It

We’re not gonna stress. We’re all such a beautiful mess.

I remember the time when actor Hugh Grant was arrested for allegedly picking up a prostitute. His movie “Four Weddings and A Funeral” was highly popular and he was dating supermodel Elizabeth Hurley. Shortly after his arrest, when the incident was all over entertainment news, he was scheduled to appear on the Tonight Show. The first question from Jay Leno was ‘Ok, I have to ask, why’d you do it?’ Hugh answered ‘I was a bad boy.’ I loved it! It was as if the country exhaled. Why? Because Hugh owned it.

I’ve many nieces and nephews. When I was in college, the Internet was born and so were they. I’m sometimes shocked and at the same time impressed at what iGen shares online. Talk about putting stuff out there to own it!

So here it goes.

Over the years I’ve let myself become small to fit what I thought others wanted me to be. I was authentic but I just wasn’t 100% authentic. Like a white lie, true but not 100% true. Star-shaped I kept trying to chip off my points to fit into a box. Blend to not be a target. Head down to not be chopped off. Invisible to not be there at all.

Then I met a young lady.

Being wise beyond her years she yelled at me ‘Claim Your Space!” Such a loud forceful voice from a wisp of a girl was unexpected making me jump and laugh hard. So repeating over and over in my head the mantra she gave me to “Claim My Space!” I began to consciously take up more physical space and extend my bubble of personal space.

Claim your space! You deserve it!

drawing by the ​wise young lady

I practiced in the hoards of crowds at the State Fair. When I didn’t step out of the way of someone (as I normally would have) and bumped into him instead, my best friend asked if I’d seen him. Yes. Yes, I had. He had seen me too. He didn’t move at all. Neither did I. So I claimed my space.

Writing this and reflecting back,

I realize I didn’t claim my space around children at the Fair. One reason is that I am not a monster who would go around steamrolling little ones. Second, children did not even try to yield their space. Of course, they also have no concept of personal space either. Or boundaries. Just a random thought. I digress.

Back to Hugh and owning it. I’m here to own my life. Live big. Be brave. Claim my space!

Recommending Viewing

My new jam is Bailey Bryan’s “Own It” from her album “So Far” (available on iTunes).

Posted in Courage, Mental Health, Random Crap | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Day of Courage

 Tomorrow is the “Grand Opening” of this blog.

I’ve been writing for a week and have felt exhilarated each time I hit the Publish button to put myself out there.

I wrote in my first entry about the challenge my Courage Collective gave me.

For every time I censor myself I have been putting a quarter in a mason jar. When our Circle meets again they’re making me donate the money to the political party I oppose. 😱

The mason jar challenge came into being when we were going around the room introducing ourselves and I was very guarded (as usual) giving only need to know information. Being aware it was a courage group, I had wanted to offer up my WHYs of being there

  • To be more trusting.
  • To own my manic-depressive experiences.
  • To own my cancer experiences.
  • To share my stories in the hope of helping others (especially young women who are where I once was).

but I didn’t.

When we broke into small groups to set our intentions,

I was able to confess what I had wanted to share. I felt the fear and did it anyway remembering what a new friend from NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) said “Have you tried to just put it out there and see what the response is? Sometimes you should let people surprise you.”

And they did. Now I have around $10 in a mason jar for He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named 🤦and this blog 😊

Some Bits & Pieces

1 –  My first manic depressive episode happened when I was a freshman in high school. It is there that I learned that to be vulnerable is to be weak. To be weak is to be a target.

I  remember when classmates extended me a kindness when I was being bullied or having a panic attack or a really bad day. These are the classmates that you haven’t talked to in 20 years but if you called or texted them today they’d be the first in line with a shovel to sandbag around your house bringing ten other people to help. To them, I say “Thank you.”

I love Brené Brown but vulnerability has a time and place. From my experience, high school is not it. I don’t know if this is the right place, but it is definitely the time. I’m never going to be any younger than I am now.

2 – Why George? That is none of your business.

I will not be sharing All, but I do have some Bits & Pieces.

 

 

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Scarcity

I think women are harder on other women than we are on men.

I have been invited to “like” several FaceBook business pages this past year. When a man asks me to do so I feel flattered. When a woman asks me my first feeling is ‘Who do you think you are?’

I realize the irrationality of that. I love my dog; if I get another will I love my other dog less? Of course not! There is an infinite abundance of love. This also applies to supporting our sisters in the bonds of friendship.

Supporting another woman in her endeavors, giving her an ‘atta girl!’ is not a win/lose situation. It is kindness, compassion, love. If our sister is successful does that mean there is less success to go around? I think there is a solid argument that if she succeeds there is actually more success available. Especially when our sister then uses her success to help others.

This reminds me of a few quotes.

Native American Shawnee warrior and chief Tecumseh – quoted as saying:

A single twig breaks, but the bundle of twigs is strong.

English comedian, actor, writer and political activist Eddie Izzard – me  paraphrasing:

How can the meek inherit the earth? I think they should all get together and pool their resources like, ‘What do we want?’ ‘THE EARTH!’ ‘When do we want it?’ ‘NOW, MOTHERLOVER!’ 😄

Let’s remember “success” is subjective.

I’ve heard women say ‘when I see how Jane [dresses, wears her hair, works, lives], I just want to go up to her and say ‘honey, you need to change [this and that] then you’d be successful’. I’m not innocent in this. I’ve thought the same and done it telling friends they should change! It can be insulting to be told ‘if you were more like me you’d be better’

What I define as success may differ from you. For me it may be money; for you, more free time. Just as I may prefer pink sparkly high tops; you may prefer black high heels. 

We can encourage and support our friends to pursue their dreams without telling them they need to change. *When a friend asks us what we think (be it about what they’re wearing or a situation in their life, let’s reply ‘What I think isn’t important, it’s what you think; how do you feel about it?”   

We can let our friend know what we would do and what we like, but to truly offer support we need to be respectful of her priorities and values. We should strive to encourage everyone “to thine own self be true” and to help each other live wholeheartedly.

*Exception being criminal acts, harm to others, harm to self – take your friend seriously and get them help!

All that said, it comes down to envy and greed.

Scarcity/abundance thinking not only applies to business but personal successes as well. Who hasn’t felt jealous at some time in their life when someone announces that they’re getting married, having a baby, buying a new car or house, going on a vacation, the list goes on.

It takes awareness and practice to feel jealousy then flip it and instead be genuinely happy for someone saying “Good things come to those who get off their ass and go for them!”

Some people do not believe in giving compliments.

The theory being if they give one it’s appreciated more. I call bullshit. The dictionary defines a compliment as:

  • polite expression of praise or admiration
  • an act or circumstance that implies praise or respect
  • congratulations or praise expressed to someone

I do believe in giving compliments as much as possible because life is too short not to tell people how much you are appreciative of them, how much you like their contributions to the world, and to encourage them to keep going.

We can all use a little cheerleading from time to time. Let’s sincerely compliment each other more!

This rhetoric may sound like Pollyanna.

Life isn’t easy. Life isn’t fair. We all have our stories, our battles, our demons. Shit happens but let’s not push each other down into the mud of it.

The young women, all the women, in our lives need to see women courageously claiming their space and supporting each other (even if they have differing beliefs, religions, political parties, values). We can lift each other and rise together. We can just be there for each other.

So I say, “Congratulations!”

“Congratulations for your successes Women! I am sincerely happy for you and I’ll admit it, I’m a little jealous! You’re inspiring me to get off my ass and go balls to the wall after my dreams too. Thank you!”

Recommended Viewing (if you don’t know who Pollyanna is.)

http://video.disney.com/watch/pollyanna-trailer-4be10ff07d0f842f7f3ce022

Pollyanna Trailer

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Cake

Keeping with the #ThrowbackThursday tradition of the Internet, I thought I’d share a little piece of my past in the spirit of putting myself out there. 
Since pictures are worth 1,000 words… here is me at my first job out of college:

More bits and pieces soon!

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Fear is Useless

I doubt myself.

Today I especially doubt whether or not writing into the Blog-o-sphere is a wise idea. Why? Because of fear. I fear the judgment of others.

However, today also I came upon an article by a priest where he quoted Luke 8:50. On hearing this, Jesus answered him, “Do not be afraid; just have faith and she will be saved.” 

That Bible verse really clicked with me. Due to past experiences, I don’t give a lot of trust to others, at least not initially. The law may be ‘you are innocent until proven guilty’ but like the press, I tend to jump to ‘you are not innocent until you are proven not guilty.’

I admit to being hypocritical.

I judge others for judging others. I don’t like it when people vent and gossip about others. When people bitch and moan about “Joan is so needy” or “Jack is such a pain in the ass” without thinking about possible reasons for Joan or Jack’s being that way, I get impatient. If you would talk that way about someone behind their back to me, what are you saying about me to others?

As a cancer survivor, I also want to scream “Life is way too short to be complaining about Joan being needy or Jack being a pain in the ass! Go talk to Joan/Jack and deal with it!!” Like I said I’m hypocritical – bitching about the bitching.

We all have our battles and one of my battles is living more in the fuzzy gray area of life. No one is all saint. 👼🏼 No one is all sinner. 😈 Including me. 🙂

Writing this blog I am just trying to be more me.

I am banishing fear from my life. I  am no longer awfulizing situations and instead focusing on best case scenarios. I do believe people are trustworthy and will have more confidence in others.

I also have an open mind but not so open it falls out of my head.

I’ve titled my blog “Bits & Pieces” because I am not the poster child for bipolar or cancer. My “All” is not everyone’s business and if I gave it I’d be hollow. I may wear my heart on my sleeve (because that is where I twinkle), but I am not naive.

My family has always been very open about mental illness. It was when I went out into the world and tried to be open about it that I was burned. At the end of the day, the only judgments important to me are those of God and my loved ones. 💕

Recommended viewing

I love Brené Brown. Google her name and you’ll find a lot of great inspiration. She helped me find the bravery to be vulnerable and the wisdom to protect my heart.

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Perfection

No-one is perfect, except Jesus.

That is what my grandmother would always tell me when I’d hesitate or beat myself up about not doing something ‘just so’. To this day I still hear her reminder when I don’t meet my expectations.

Today it is really hard for me to write this blog entry. I’ve had trouble deciding what to write about. When I have an idea I poo poo it as either too much about me or not enough about me. I still want things to be ‘just so’ and I am a prize fighter when it comes to beating myself up.

“They” say write about what you know.

In the past I made choices to say yes to doing things I didn’t want to do, to not saying things I wanted to say, to ignore my intuition/my gut feelings. I avoided conflict for fear (there’s that word I’m trying to banish) of losing relationships. I tried to be perfect. No, I tried to be perfectly agreeable. I wasn’t 100% myself. I was authentic but not fully authentic.

I am learning to let go of my worries and leap.

Each time catch myself censoring myself, wondering how others would react, I have been challenged by my Courage Circle to put a quarter in a mason jar. The incentive being when I meet up with my Circle again that I have to give the jar to the political party I oppose. Let’s just freaking say that the son of a bitch ain’t gonna get any of my money! It’s been seven days since the challenge began, I owe him $5, and I’m being much more authentic.

Last week I told my friend “God, you look like hell!”

She had been out exercising. Her hair was messy. She was sweaty. Her face was flush. She was breathing hard. My friend was Me looking in the mirror!

When I caught myself saying out loud “you look like hell” I realized (with horror) that I would never say that to my best friend or to any body. I shouldn’t say it to myself!! So I flipped it and told myself some truths –

  • I am beautiful inside and out.
  • I am blessed to have a capable and healthy body.
  • I am a loving and lovable person.

And I reminded myself that no-one is perfect, except Jesus. 🙂

Recommended viewing

I love Guy Winch. I can watch his TED Talk about emotional hygiene over and over and over again (and do). Guy inspires me to treat myself like my best friend and reinforces the importance of taking care of our mental health (emotions, mind) just as we would our bodies.

Posted in Courage, Mental Health | Tagged , , , ,

My WHYs

 I believe the first sentence in any piece of writing is important.

Charles Dickens’ first sentence

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

in “A Tale of Two Cities” truly shaped my love of reading if not my life.

I also believe that everyone and their brother has a blog AND that there is nothing original left to be written or said.

Continue reading

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