Brave Helen

Beloved had been talking with a dear friend for over an hour already when I had come back with the four-footed one. We had left for an adventure, a chance at some fresh air, and because we were bored. Beloved was working and had insisted on silence to concentrate. So we went for an adventure. The adventure included sniffing flowers, finding other unpleasant smells (her not me), rolling in the grass (her not me again), and picking up some items from the market (me, not her).

We were stealthy coming home, that is until we heard him laughing. The four-footed one took off like a shot in the direction of his laughter while I sorted out the purchases.

He called out to let me know that Helen was on the phone, giving him an update on her life. When he got off, twenty minutes later, it seemed silence was no longer required. He wasn’t working, claiming he hadn’t realized he needed the break, but since he had it, he wasn’t ready to go back to work.

He said that Helen had decided to go back to school, to learn new skills and try her hand at a different career. I told him that it seemed rather unnecessary, as she’s very talented and could easily use her current skills in other professions if that was her dream. He said that she wanted a proper start, and to do so was to go back to school and try the whole experience different this time.

The more I think of this, the more I realize Helen is brave. How many of us would sit in our current careers, or simply find a way to move into another one without starting back in school again? How many of us would demand a whole new experience to go with a new career when we are well out of our twenties? I can’t say that it would be my idea.

The Certainty of Uncertainty

I used to be so sure of me, a little hesitant about my next steps, but confident in myself. Life has a way of building a bit of insecurity into our lives, keeping us humble I guess.

Today, while I was deciding what to do for a new project, I realized that the girl who used to be so fierce in her confidence has somehow grown into a woman who pauses.

This woman pauses because she doesn’t want to make a mistake. History has taught her that mistakes take time and energy. Mistakes can cause trust issues, or at least put a smear on credibility.

The girl who used to just go for it in the name of learning and adventure would shake her head at the woman she has become. For the grown woman hems and haws, she debates and assesses only to reassess once more.

The woman is cautious, careful, and a bit uncertain. She knows now that there is so much that she doesn’t know about, that there are experts to contact or consider. She knows that the first answer isn’t always the correct answer.

The girl is somewhere lost inside, lost to the lessons of mistakes and needs to have more information. I hope she comes out again because I sure could use some of that boldness these days.

Fortunate One

Some people are lucky or fortunate. Some of them win the lottery, find money, win a trip or have an amazing thing happen in their life with no effort on their part. And then there are those rare people who get whole airplanes to themselves.

I know, talk about being fortunate. Imagine getting on an international flight and discovering you are the only passenger! (I get a bit giddy just thinking about it!)

There would be no crazy struggle to find your seat. Heck you could probably sit where you wanted. No struggle to locate an overhead storage compartment somewhat near you. After all, every overhead storage compartment can be yours! No one to recline the seat in front of you, taking up valuable space. In fact, you could stretch out in any seat, or across multiple seats.

There’d be no screaming babies (not their fault) to deal with. No rude passengers to try to manage. No delay in flight attendants arriving at your seat if you needed something. And no one to fall sleep on you as they used you as a pillow. Without asking your permission first.

Sure you would miss out on meeting strangers, but imagine the pure joy and comfort that you would be afforded. Those rare people who have managed to have the entire plane and staff to themselves are the fortunate ones indeed.

Plated

I broke a plate today. It slipped out of my hand and crashed onto the floor, shattering into several large shreds and a few smaller pieces. Thankfully the four-footed one wasn’t interested in the new mess I made or I would have had more than just a broken plate to clean up.

I confess I was a little upset about this event. Now my world will not end because I broke a plate. Rest assured the plate is not a family heirloom or anything of that nature. It was just a plate. A plate I’ve used countless times. As a matter of fact, this plate was chipped and the color was slightly faded.

I was upset because breaking the plate meant having to clean the mess up. It meant acknowledging that something routine and easy for most to do, for a moment in my life was a bit of a challenge. And as I cleaned up the broke plate, I was reminded that I am a bit like this plate.

Obviously, being chronically ill, helps make me feel broken at times. But no one remains wholly intact in life. We live, we love, we hurt and we laugh and through it all tiny pieces of us break off. We become a bit faded and sometimes, sometimes we fall and break. Now and then when we break we get put back together, jagged pieces adhered again and yet not the same as they were before.

And broken, chipped or faded doesn’t make us any less. In fact we are more than for these experiences which have brought us to this state have filled us with new ideas, thoughts and learnings.  Some of us just seem to crumble or break more easily.

Spoiled Apples

Friends I am more than a little disappointed in Apple.  It isn’t over anything major, which makes my disappointment even more frustrating because it’s something simple that could easily be fixed from my perspective.  Alas being I’m only one person with only one voice asking them to carrying something in-store rather than having to shop online, I shall be disappointed.

Apple used to listen to customers, Apple used to be different from the other big companies and that’s why I adored them.  Perhaps when you become a big organization you shift your focus and ignore the fact you built a brand through a cult like following of people.  Or maybe once you have enough of a cult following you don’t worry about that kind of stuff any more.

The thing is, Apple isn’t the first, nor will they be the last (based on history) company to forget about all the individuals that were loyal to them before they were anything big.  Customer service shifts from customer to what can be spun into making the customer want something and telling them exactly how they want it.

Sure it’s cheaper at times to buy things online, but I like to physically see and feel what I’m buying.  I know, I’m kind of old school that way.  If I can avoid buying books online I do because I like books with nice, crease-free covers and crisp spines.  I check for that kind of thing when I go into book stores. You cannot ensure you get that kind of result when buying online.

Beloved has decided he wanted to try buying his groceries online from a local store.  Yes this includes fresh produce.  He ended up being disappointed in the results because again, what he looks for and the whole experience was out of his control.  He ended up with some slightly spoiled apples.

No one wants spoiled apples.  Sadly my experience with Apple has left me with a sour taste in my mouth and not because of what anyone did or said, but rather because I am denied the shopping experience I wanted and expected from them.

So Tell Me What You Really Want

I used to want a chair that reclined allowing me complete relaxation.  Thst was before I knew how much time I would be spending in chairs like this.  Now that I spend at least three days a week in these types of chairs for at least an hour or so, I’m not as keen to have one.

I used to want a bed that I could raise and lower, for those days that I wanted to read in bed or watch tv. That was before I spent a few nights in one of those beds.  They aren’t all that comfortable.

Lupus has afforded me the opportunities to frequently try out the reclining chairs when I’m receiving various treatments, some of which involve chemotherapy.  Lupus also gave me an invitation to spend a few nights in that type of bed I thought I wanted.  My stays at the hospital have proven that those beds aren’t for me.

What I have manage to take away from all the time I’ve spent in reclining chairs and beds is that I spend enough time reclining while at my medical appointments.  I don’t need to be reclining when I’m carrying on with the more mundane and “normal” life activities.  And for the record when I bought my chair and sofa I made sure that they would provide comfort and support for those days that felt like medical treatment days!

Saved From Stubborness or How The Dog Trains Us

The weather has been less than ideal the last few days.  Not overly cold, not overly wet.  Just windy and not the stuff ou want to be outside in for any length of time.  Unless you happen to be my four-footed companion.  Then you decide you can out stubborn the weather.  Or at least pretend you are going to do that, because deep down you know your owner will save you from yourself.

But if you are my four-footed companion, the problem is you have more than one owner.  And your other owner may, or may not save you from yourself.  Because your other owner believes that a dog will know when to come inside.  And you also believe you don’t need go be outside with the dog, until you read an article about yet another dog being attacked by birds.  Then, if you are this type of owner, you read the article out loud to the other owner and remind that person to stay outside with the dog.

And if you happen to be the four-footed companion you may get confused about what each human will do with you.  So you have to train your humans.  And everyone knows training humans requires an incredible amount of stubbornness and determination.  And sometimes you have to work with the human who saves you from yourself to let the other human jump in and save you.  And why wouldn’t this owner, you are cute, have big eyes and a wagging tail!

Remembering

Memories are a strange thing.  You think in the moment that they will remain crystal clear and sharp always.  But the mind slowly makes things fuzzy and blurry, especially when it comes to people and animals that you’ve loved and lost.  Maybe it’s a good thing.

Some memories are easy to recall, taking back to a time and place.  Others take me to a feeling. I can’t imagine not being able to recall my memories, they are a part of my very being.  They are my history, my experience and basically help to form the person I am today.

And yet there are diseases that rob you of your memories, leaving you with an empty slate.  A part of you not there any more, not like you were.  And sadly for those who love people who have lost their memory the memory that is left is of their loved one lost in some other place.  So in a way the memory loss affects two or more people even though only one has the disease.

I can’t imagine life without my memories, and a part of me lives in fear of the what if.  What if I lose my memory?  Beloved once jokingly told me that I wouldn’t know that I had lost my memory, once it was lost.  If only that were the case, if only there was some easy way of managing this, but alas that doesn’t seem to be the case.

We joke, Beloved and I, about losing our memory when we forget where we placed the phone or the keys.  We joke because these are small things, typical things people forget all the time.  Innocent moments.  But are they the hint of something more?  You see here is the rub, we could get tested, but we are afraid.  Afraid of a potential outcome, allowing fear to paralyze us and hold us in some strange dance.  A dance that maybe has us waltzing with faded memories while listening to unfamiliar music no thinking we’ve always known this tune.

What Are You Carrying With You

Friends I have a confession to make.  I struggle, honest to goodness struggle, with letting go of some things.  Not everything.   It seems like some  the stuff I know I need to let go…I struggle the hardest with.

Oh I try, but sometimes I think if I let it go I will somehow realize that I let go of the wrong thing.  when I do let something go of course it’s feels great.  It’s a weight that’s been lifted, freeing me to be open to new experiences.

So what things do I hang onto you may be wondering.  After all some people hold onto history, people from their past, hairstyles, beliefs and what have you.  But nope, this isn’t what I struggle with letting go of.  Instead I struggle with letting go of negative feedback and comments.  I’m not talking about constructive criticism either, instead I’m talking negative things that people sometimes say just for the sake of saying something negative.

It isn’t that I internalize these statements and make them mine.  But I need to turn em over in my mind.  I need to feel each curve and bump of the indivudal letters as well as the flow of the word.  Just in caseload.just in case there may be something to learn from or take away so it can’t come out of someone’s mouth again.

The end result?  I can tell you a million negative things that I may learn something from, but mostly I just carry around.  In other news, if you are looking for someone to anchor you, I just may be the person you need!

How about you?  What stuff do you carry with you even though you know you don’t need to be lugging that with you?  What do you do to let your fingers release their grip on that baggage?

 

What An Assignment Taught Me

IN my life I’ve had people who have come and gone; sometimes out of necessity and sometimes other reasons came into play.  Now and then I might stumble across a name that reminds me of one of those people and I may wonder whatever happened to the individual.  Typically this doesn’t happen often, I’m probably too self-absorbed or lost in school work.  At least that’s the story I’ve told myself.

But on my journey of finding my voice, my mission and such I’ve been asked to consider the people who have been in my life regardless of the  duration of our relationships.  This little assignment has proven to be anything but little.  In my personal experience this always seems to be the case.

And I will be honest about this, when I first started the writing assignment it was a half-hearted attempt on my part.  I just didn’t see the point to the assignment.  But I also didn’t want to take the shortcut method and miss something so I started listing names.  Slowly at first because well only half my heart was in it.

A strange thing happened as I was slowly putting down the names.  More names came to mind and I was written faster and faster.  I was trying to keep up with those names that popped into my head!  I also started to remember those people not just as named, but as people.  Smiling as I greeted each ne who came into my conscious again.

When I finished writing down the names and flipped to the next part of the assignment, I noticed my mood had shifted.  I was engaged, involved and in the to this assignment.  The second part of the assignment was to acknowledge the role each of these individuals filled in my life.

I found myself silently thankng these people as I wrote the second part of the assignment.  Not just a casual thank you either, but honest and true gratitude.  I may not have had the opportunity or the grace to thank each of these people in person.  I certainly didn’t have the love in me all the time to step forward and let these people know that I appreciated them for what they did as well as for who they were when they were present in my life.

While it isn’t exactly the same thing as personally thanking these people, in a way this assignment allowed me to do just that.  And this blog post?  It also provides me a forum to say thank you and appreciate each of these people again,a little more publicly.

so thank you to all, who were as well as those who are a part of my life.

P.S. You didn’t really think I’d have the space for listing all the amazing people I’ve been fortunate enough to know did you? 😉

P.P.S. The real lesson is what role gratitude plays in our life as well realizing each person in our life has something to share or teach us.