Monthly Archives: April 2014

Day 485: My Nemeses

Nemesis means (according to Google):

(noun)
the inescapable agent of someone’s or something’s downfall.
“the balance beam was the team’s nemesis, as two gymnasts fell from the apparatus”
synonyms: archrival, adversary, foe, opponent, arch enemy

a long-standing rival; an archenemy.
“will Harry Potter finally defeat his nemesis, Voldemort?”

a downfall caused by an inescapable agent.
“one risks nemesis by uttering such words”
synonyms: downfall, undoing, ruin, ruination, destruction, Waterloo

 

Nemeses is the plural form of “nemesis.”

I am grateful to the ancient language of Latin, right now, because:

  1. In words ending in “is” (like nemesis or hypothesis), we  get to use a plural that saves time, letters, and, sometimes, spit,
  2. I took Latin as a foreign language in school, thus skipping the necessity — at a young and impressionable age — of seriously screwing up a foreign accent, and
  3. My Latin class in High School joined the nation-wide Junior Classical League, which meant I got to dress up in a toga without also having to get drunk.

So, yes, I am grateful to Latin, this morning.

You, on the other hand, might be grateful if I return to the topic, which is “My Nemeses.”

I shall do my best.

It is a truth universally acknowledged1 that every hero needs a nemesis. For many parts of my life, I have been no different. That is, I have identified a nemesis — somebody or something I have seen as “the enemy.”

This seems to be human nature — to focus our fears, insecurities, negative feelings and thoughts — on something external. Once we do that, we can plan, protect, act, and fight with a sense of purpose.

Here are some past nemeses of mine:

  • A classmate in school.
  • A nurse who, for whatever reason, lied to me after my first operation.
  • An unkind medical resident, named Dr. H., who called me a “spoiled brat” when I was in pain.
  • A co-worker, at a job.
  • Spalding Gray.

One of my points about nemeses, this morning?  We think we need them, so we often create them.

At the same time, I acknowledge the truth that I (and probably you) have met people who have acted and seemed like enemies.  How have we known these nemeses?  By the pain we have felt.

And why do some people cause pain?  Is it because they are:

  • cruel,
  • insecure,
  • ignorant,
  • envious,
  • thoughtless, and/or
  • misunderstood?

I shall never know why other people do what they do, because I cannot read their minds.  I can only speculate.

In these self-proclaimed Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally, I have been trying my best to let go of focusing on others’ motives, because the only mind, soul, and heart I can truly know is … mine.

And yet, while I am fighting that good fight, I have also set myself an interesting blogging task this morning: to look around and choose possible nemeses.

That seems sort of paradoxical, contradictory, conflicted, and complicated, doesn’t it?

Welcome to my world, people!

Here are the Nemeses candidates, for our consideration, this morning:

#1 The Evil Stove-Top

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There are many evil aspects of that stove-top, as you might notice. For one thing, all the control knobs (see right) have melted from the heat of the burners. Also, the gas pilot doesn’t work.

These days, I am doing my best — especially now that I am home with pneumonia and have more time for such domestic issues — to control, fix, replace, or otherwise vanquish this arch-enemy of mine.2

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#2 Confusing Cooking Directions

In a continuing heroic attempt to provide my 16-year-old son with a breakfast he will actually eat before leaving for school, this morning I returned to an old favorite of his — Meatless Corn Dogs:

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As I was trying to complete the complicated food preparation for a single serving of these, before my son rushed off this morning, I encountered this, on the side of the box:

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How the heck was I supposed to choose the correct cooking time, with such a huge range of choices: between 1 and 11/2 minutes, for a single corn dog? In my mind, this required the use of math — division, specifically — to find the upper range of acceptable cooking times (5.5 minutes, according to my calculations).

What did I do?  I used my best guess, and microwaved that sucker for 1.5 minutes.

Did I overcome my nemesis, in this epic morning battle?

Well, my son ate the corn dog, before he left for school. Draw your own conclusions.

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As usual, I could include other examples in this blog post, but I should really end it,  so I can attend to my other duties as Super Recovery Woman.3

Actually, endings are another nemesis of mine. I find them difficult to do. And, there are some other, really obvious nemeses I could name right now, such as:

  1. Pneumonia and
  2. Unhelpful thoughts.

… but I’ve already written about those, several times before.

How about this? Let’s end this post with a guessing game (which is a great antidote to the nemeses of boredom, depression, and other “down” feelings, I think).

Here’s my question: What possible nemeses are these two creatures reacting to?

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Here’s another photographic hint for you:

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Okay!

Thanks to the ancient language of Latin; to those I have seen as nemeses (and then seen in different ways); to people who have helped me in my daily battles;  to creatures everywhere who have different responses to guessing games;  and to you — of course! — for visiting this blog.


1 My son started reading Pride and Prejudice last night, and those are the first six words of that favorite book of mine.

2 I have to tell you, though, that The Evil Stop-Top doesn’t seem to faze, slow down, or otherwise negatively affect my hero, Michael, who does most of the cooking around here.

3 These super-hero duties include relaxing, reading, watching movies, napping, eating healthy-enough food, drinking water, and, sometimes, expressing myself.

And before the end of Day 485, I’m adding something that feels missing to me: a video of the song “My Nemesis,”  from Phineas and Ferb.

 

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Day 484: The near future

Yesterday, my managers and I decided this: I won’t be returning to work for at least two more weeks. That is, I am committing completely to my not-so-secret identity of Super Recovery Woman,* as I continue to heal from pneumonia.

Looking ahead to that two weeks, I’m not sure what to expect.

But, that’s always true as we look into the near (and far) future, isn’t it?

As always, I will do my best to redirect my thoughts back to the present moment, as those thoughts go into the future and into the past.

In the here and now, I want to show you this:

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I saw that yesterday. That felt like a first to me: to be offered such a beautiful and large range of choices, to take what I need.

As I took that all in, I also noticed the older, incomplete set of choices, sticking out below and behind.

Do you see that, now?

For whatever reasons, I chose from that smaller set, as follows:

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Sometimes, even when we have limited options, we can still get what we need.

Thanks to kirstindudish.com; to all who offer hope, kindness, faith, strength, understanding, joy, peace, patience, healing, inspiration, courage, love, and other necessities; to those who accept those as best they can; and to you — of course! — for visiting with me today.


* I hereby offer a choice of  past posts about “Super Recovery Woman” — here, here, here, here, and here — to partake of, as you please.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

Day 483: Vision

I have very poor vision, which can be corrected by glasses or contact lenses.

I did not know that I had poor vision, until I was in elementary school. When that was discovered,  I got my first pair of glasses. These glasses have appeared in this blog before, in this photo (from this previous post, Day 465: Personal Protective Equipment):

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When I got those glasses, it seemed to me that the boys in my elementary school lost interest in me.  But it’s often difficult to have the vision to see cause-and-effect. That is, there are often many complicated factors that contribute to an outcome.

But as human beings, we naturally see relationships and causes between events.

For example, I am aware, right now, that I wrote that blog with the picture above, a few weeks ago, on the last day I was at work. Since then, I have been away from work — in the hospital and then home — recovering from pneumonia.

And here’s a wild, cause-and-effect connection that pops up in my mind right now:

That was the first time, in all the days I’ve been blogging, that I showed my readers a photo of what I looked like when recovering from my first heart surgery at age 10.  That felt like a risk that day, to show people how ill and awful I felt, back then. And since I published that photo, I have been ill and unable to work.  Coincidence??????!!!!??

What do you think, dear readers? is it a coincidence?

I think it is.

However, we tend to see these connections among incidents and outcomes.  We especially think that way, when we are children.

When we apply cause-and-effect reasoning like that, we can blame ourselves — or at least make ourselves more responsible and powerful than we really are.

That’s what children often do, as they are figuring out how the world works, especially when they are dealing with something traumatic and unexpected.

I recognize those things in myself: that I tend to blame myself, at times, when things go wrong. Some measure of control, when things are unexpected and seem out of control, can seem safer.

Did that make sense?

I’m not myself these days, as I recover from pneumonia, so it’s harder, than usual, for me to see if I am communicating clearly.

And as often happens in these blog posts, I am getting “off topic.” (Although, as I sometimes tell people in my therapy groups, there is no such thing as “off topic.”  Everything relates, somehow.)

When I say I’m “off topic,” I mean that I have yet to begin writing about what I intended to share with you, when I started this post today.

When I started this post, this morning, my main intent was to write something about Helen Keller.

I wanted to tell you this:  When I was young, I read a book about Helen Keller that inspired me, very much.  That book influenced my ideas about where I wanted to go to college, among other things.

This morning, as I felt some discouragement about the rate of my recovery, I went to Google Images, because I assumed that Helen Keller would have some useful thoughts for me.

And she did:

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(I found that image here)

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There are lots more quotes I could include here, but I want to end with this one:

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You can find that image here. In addition, I can find that exact image in my office  at work, on a card that was given to me several years ago, by a co-worker.

I hope to encounter that card again soon, when I am well enough to be seeing it.

One last thing: I expected that writing this post would help me a great deal, this morning.

And indeed it has.

Thanks to Helen Keller, to everyone else who helped me write this, and to you — of course! — for reading this post today.

Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth | Tags: , , , | 57 Comments

Day 482: Who cares?

This morning, the title of today’s post was right there, as I woke up.

Blam!

Who cares?

That two-word title was staring me in the face, as was this creature:

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It was not to be denied.

And I have to admit, dear readers, I groaned a little.  I thought

What kind of post can I write with THAT title?  Another down and depressed one, like yesterday’s?

Because, you know, a title is very important.  It can dictate, guide, and affect a writer and her readers — indeed, any communicator and the receivers of a communication — very much.

For example, when I was running lots of therapy groups at a psychiatric day treatment program, we would talk about the power of the titles for the groups.  That is, even if we were not consciously holding, in our minds, the title of a group, which included:

The Struggle for Change

Self Esteem

Spirituality

Roles and Stories

The Here and Now

Dreams

Next Steps

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Putting It Into Words

… the name of the group had an effect, every moment, on everybody attending it.

So, a title has a lot of power, doesn’t it? Although, you know, we also have a lot of power to shape and choose what we do, within the structure created by the name.

So, I hereby declare: This will NOT be a depressed post.

Instead, I will answer the titular* question, in a pictorial way.

Who cares?

Well, since I asked ….

Many people, including:

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And those are just the people who commented on yesterday’s post, as of this writing.  I could also answer

Who cares?

with images of those who “like”ed yesterday’s post, too (leaving out repeats):

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImagee1baede214daf918292b90681180cacf

 

Here are some who did not show up yesterday, but have recently:

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You all*** make a difference to me (more than I can put into words, right now).

At this point in this post, I’ve been restricting myself to those who have responded and connected with me, fairly recently, here at WordPress.

What about people, outside of WordPress, who have connected with me lately, too?***

Well, since I’ve created a structure for this post where I’m answering my own questions with images, let me end with this photo (from yesterday):

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That’s Kathy, who has shown up in a previous post (here, just about a year ago).  I would like to point out a few things about that photo:

  • Kathy is a professional photographer, who demonstrates her kindness not just with cupcakes (not pictured), but also with acceptance of my images.
  • If you look closely at the hanging light fixture in the background, you may notice a screwdriver inserted there, to shorten it. Bf Michael did that, over a year ago, for my 60th birthday party, so people wouldn’t bump their heads, when we moved the dining room table against the wall.
  • I took that photo, yesterday, because I wanted to quote something that Kathy said, right before she left:

I’m sorry you are feeling so depleted. I hope you feel pleted again, very soon.

Thanks to Kathy; to all those who express caring in their own ways (yesterday, today, tomorrow, whenever); to this wonderfully supportive WordPress**** community; and to you — of course! — for visiting today.


* Just a fancy way of saying “in the title.”

** I have to admit, at this point, that I am definitely “cheating” and adding some photos as people are responding to posts, as well as adding WordPress peeps from a while ago, too. Originally, when I wrote this post, I was just including people who had connected with me within the last couple of days. THAT went out the window, pretty quickly.  Now, as of 12:40 PM on the day after I published this, I am going to stop trying to add everybody who is connecting with me. However, please let me know if you want me to add you to this photo gallery, and I will.

*** Not to mention WordPress people and others who have connected with me in helpful ways, too, whose photos I have not included.

****  I apologize for not including links to people’s blogs, today. I wish I had. Here’s my excuse: I am depleted, because I am recovering from pneumonia. And that’s my excuse, too, in case I left anybody out (which I tried my best not to do) (but which I know I did, inevitably, because this was MUCH more difficult than I expected).  (Feel free to ask to be included, of course.)

Categories: inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , | 61 Comments

Day 481: The opposite of a good cry

Sometimes I write about opposites, as a way to invite both sides, new perspectives, a wider view.

Yesterday, I wrote about a good cry, and a half pie.

I could write about the opposite of a half pie, I suppose, but the pie is gone. And what is the opposite of a half pie, anyway?  A whole pie?  No pie? A half cake?  Difficult to say.

So I turn my attention to a good cry. What is the opposite of that? A bad cry? No cry? A good laugh?  A bad laugh?  Again …. I don’t know.

A few more thoughts about opposites: I like to think about opposites, because

  1. I like to see the whole view, with all sides, especially before I make a decision and
  2. Opposites are not always clear, and I like to strive for clarity.

So why do I want to write about the opposite of a good cry, today?

Because I woke up not crying, but down. Then, when I went online, I went further down, again, without a cry.

I feel the need to define what I mean by “down,” right now.

Synonyms for “down,” from  thesaurus.com:

downward, cascading, declining, depressed, descending, downgrade, downhill, dropping, falling, gravitating, inferior, precipitating, sagging, sinking, sliding, slipping, slumping

 

Yes, when I woke up this morning, I was feeling depressed, inferior, sagging, sinking, sliding, slipping and those other words for “down.” And when I went online, I went further downwards, fast.

Why?

These are my best guesses:

  • I need to make some decisions about work, very soon, and I feel ill-equipped — inferior, actually —  in the moment, to do so, in a good enough way.
  • I believe I’ve made a mistake or two, lately, which adds to my sagging, sinking, and so on.
  • In order to make a good enough decision, I need to reach out to people for some advice and (as I’ve written about before) it can be difficult for me to ask for help.
  • I’m afraid I might get conflicting advice, which, in the past, has caused me to slump, sag, and slide.
  • When I went online this morning, I saw the news about the 16-year-old girl in Connecticut who was killed yesterday because (allegedly) she turned somebody down for the prom.

The result is this, in the moment: I feel paralyzed, powerless, sad, upset, frozen, and hopeless.

And I am still not crying.

What can I do? What can any of us do?

Just this, I suppose:

  • Be aware of where you are.
  • Let people know.
  • Act, as best you can.
  • Forgive yourself and others, as best you can.

An image for today?

Just a beautiful girl:

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Maren Sanchez.

Thanks to each and every one of you, for giving me a place where I can write about anything and (sometimes) cry.

Categories: Uncategorized | 51 Comments

Day 480: A good cry (and a half pie)

I believe in the power of a good cry.  That is, when you are sad, disappointed, dealing with loss, tears are appropriate, people!

I don’t care what judgmental things you have heard or thought about crying ! It’s good for you. Crying releases endorphins and has other health benefits. Look it up!

In my work as a psychotherapist, I often see people who judge their feelings and expressions of sadness.  They tell me that crying is:

  • A sign of weakness.
  • Something to hide.
  • Only appropriate for children.

I hear that from women AND men (though men, indubitably, get more negative messages about crying in my culture).

I do my best, at work, to provide a “safe enough” place to cry.  For example, I have lots of tissues available. Plus, I work really hard at communicating these passionate beliefs: Crying is

  1. human,
  2. a natural response to loss and hurt, and
  3. NOT a reason to feel ashamed.

People, after they have cried in my office, are often afraid that others, outside, will be able to tell, and judge them for that. I am always happy to tell them that the tracks of their tears are NOT as obvious as they fear.  Think about it: if you saw somebody walking around with eyes that had been recently weeping, would you know they’d been crying?  I think not, with so many other reasonable explanations available (including seasonal allergies, these days).

So why am I writing about this, today?

Well, I must confess:  I am feeling some sadness and discouragement about my health. And earlier this morning, I cried.

And I  feel a little better.

I don’t have any photos of myself crying (for several reasons), so …

Let’s see what Google Images has for “Good Cry” on this beautiful spring morning!

In order of appearance:

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Good Cry

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Wow!  I’m  glad that so many people agree with me, so publicly.

Now, you may be thinking, at this point, “Okay, Ann’s dealt with the whole good cry thing, for sure, but what about that half pie, in the post title?”

Excellent observation and question, dear readers.

Here’s your answer:

During one of my few, recent ventures outside (as I’ve been recovering from pneumonia), my bf Michael and I paid a  short visit to our local Whole Foods Market. I am always aware of new products and marketing trends during such trips, since I am quite fascinated by things I have not seen before.

During that visit to Whole Foods, I noticed these new things:

  • Sweet potato yogurt (not pictured)
  • Carrot yogurt (not pictured)
  • And a new pie delivery system, as follows:

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Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Whole Foods Market is now selling half pies.

Perhaps entire pies can feel too overwhelming.

Hmmmm. Now that I think of it, maybe my cry, this morning, wasn’t a full portion, either.

I predict the following: more servings of cries AND pies, in my near future.

And it’s all good!

Thanks to Megan Amram, Lori Meyer, daveswordsofwisdom.com, and bekahmarie8 (for the images); to Whole Foods (for the pie and other food innovations); to all those who are dealing with sadness and loss the best they can; and to you — of course! — for visiting today.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , | 46 Comments

Day 479: Super Recovery Woman, revisited

Yesterday, I managed to convince people — even some readers resistant to the idea* — to link to a previous post I’d written.

Do the powers of Super*Recovery*Woman never cease?

I’m guessing that they do cease, people. But before we go there,  let’s take a quick inventory of Super Recovery Woman’s powers, so far:

  • The ability to move minds, despite resistance.
  • The power to link to other posts, with impunity.
  • The ability to focus on healing, despite barriers to same.
  • The powers of punctuation AND footnoting.
  • The ability to digress, to digress again, and — when all seems lost — to return to seemingly abandoned points.

That’s all I’ve got, so far. But remember, Super-Recovery-Woman** is ill, so her list-making powers are severely restricted, for the moment.

Anyway, isn’t it time for an image for Super Recovery Woman? Some helpful readers have already ventured ideas for what Super Recovery Woman might look like:

Whatever costume you pick, I assume it will include only one glove and one sock!

Mark Bialczak

After seeing your love for hyphens I think your super hero logo should be a hyphen (-) .

mk

Now, if Super Recovery Woman had the power to draw and create images these days, maybe she could comply with these excellent suggestions. However, she doesn’t, so she is reduced to searching Google Images for a good-enough start.

How about this?

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Pros for that image? Her logo is a star/asterisk!!

Cons for that image? I do NOT look like that.

However, as my bf Michael just commented, “It’s a cartoon, Ann.”

Since I’m not sure what Michael means by that (and he’s not sure, either), let’s see what other candidates for Super Recovery Woman I might show you, this morning.

Well,  I found the first image at dreamstime.com and … there are 2,224 more choices there***!

Decision Making is NOT one of my super powers, so …. what to do? What to do? As usual, I’ll just do my best, at making good-enough choices out of too-many options:

karen-superhero-superwoman-38658092

 

young-super-hero-woman-acting-like-sign-chest-33385712 (1)

comic-super-girl-throwing-big-rock-27572539

superwoman-standing-desk-27314848

 

super-mother-green-screen-24709525

 

sick-superhero-38363256

cartoon-blue-super-lady-24711266

Phew!  Too many choices (as well as my recovering from pneumonia) continue to be exhausting, so it’s time for me to end this post.

Does anything feel left unsaid for me right now?

Just this:  My original intent for this post was very different from what this post became.  I intended to link to Day 247: No one is alone, because I am SO grateful for the support that I’ve been getting everywhere: here in the WordPress-o-Sphere and in all the other parallel universes I’m inhabiting these days.

Because NO Super Hero can do it alone, people, no matter what her powers, how she writes,  or what she looks like!

Many and special thanks to all my readers.  (And perhaps I should also thank others who deserve my gratitude, but they’re not reading, so …. hey!  Why bother?)


* Including wonderful blogger robert87004 (see his comment after this post).

** I am still struggling with possible punctuation marks for my super-hero name. The candidates, so far, have been hyphens and asterisks. There is pain associated with punctuation, though;  for example, WordPress does weird things with asterisks (although I can use my super powers, aided by a wave of this wand — “\” — to nullify those effects).  For the rest of this post, no more super-hero-name punctuation (which should make Mark Bialczak happy, for one).

*** I searched on “super woman” there. (And, in case you’re wondering, I have used my business-transaction powers to engage with these images appropriately.)

Categories: inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , | 21 Comments

Day 478: Personal Medicine, Revisited

Waaaaay back on Day 29, I wrote a post called “Personal Medicine.”

I do think that post is worth visiting and checking out — even though I wrote it early in my blogging journey and have probably developed immeasurable blogging skills, wisdom, and other improvements since then.

Although, perhaps not.

Why don’t you see for yourself, people, and visit that old, old post, by clicking on that link, above?

Hmmmm.

You know what?  Sometimes, I have zero faith that people will do what I request.  Even when I express a need or request REALLY CLEARLY, like

  • Link to that post, please, or
  • Do whatever else for me, please, which involves a little bit of effort  …

…. there’s a part of me that thinks:

That’s not going to happen. People are (1) too busy and (2) my request doesn’t matter enough.

Whoa!  This is NOT what I expected to be writing about, this morning.

However, I can’t say I am surprised.

When I am ill and less able to do everything for myself, I need to ask for more assistance and help. And that is difficult for me to do.

Now, why would that be so difficult, for me?  I was ill, quite  a bit, when I was growing up with a congenital* heart condition, and did need some help and support, in many areas.

Hmmm. Maybe I have trouble asking for help because … I’ve been healthy a lot, too, in my life, and I’ve always liked THAT better.  And when I was healthy, I COULD do things for myself.

Also, I do live in a culture,  my dear readers,  that values independence and a “can-do” attitude. Even though I KNOW (and tell others) that human beings can NOT do things on their own, and that it’s actually a STRENGTH to ask for help …

… it’s still difficult for me to do that.

That would be Ye Olde Double Standard, which I’ve written about, many times, in this here blog (including yesterday, actually).

Yes, it’s difficult for me to ask for help, for a “favor” of any kind,  even though I realize that is Personal Medicine — healthy — for other people. It’s difficult for me to ask for help, even if it’s something that takes minimum effort for the other person, such as my request to you, earlier in this post.

Remember that request? It was “please go visit a post I wrote before, because I think it has something of value.”

Hmmm. I’m realizing, now, that there is something else “loaded” in that request of mine to you, this morning. That is, I am saying:

I wrote something of value.  My thoughts are valuable. They are worth that additional effort of yours, to click on my link.

Again, these thoughts are NOT what I expected to write about today.

But it all feels like personal medicine, to me, here and now.

So the question remains: what DID I expect to write about today?

I expected to report to my readers about some of my Personal Medicine from yesterday, as I continue to deal with and heal from pneumonia.

I am happy to report that those medicines did NOT include antibiotics, but rather:

  1. A visit from my friend, Barbara,
  2. Watching episodes of Seinfeld with my 16-year-old son (who is seeing them for the first time … what fun!),
  3. A delicious meal cooked by Michael (which I didn’t photograph, because I was too interested in eating it … I guess my appetite is returning!), and
  4. A brief visit to the Boston Public Garden, during my favorite season and at one of my favorite times of the day.

Here are some of my attempts to capture the magic and personal medicine of Springtime in Boston, yesterday evening:

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ImageImage

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Okay! As I was looking for those photos from last evening, I did some pictorial time-traveling, right then.

And to end this post, I would like to share two of those old(er) pictures I just encountered.

#1 – I took this photo, almost exactly a year ago:

Image

(I first used that photo here)

#2 – Here’s a photo taken of me (and my older sister) many years ago, before I developed a lot of skills, wisdom, and other improvements:

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I suspect I had a similar expression on my face, yesterday evening.

Thanks to beautiful Boston, to children of all ages, to those who are developing skills and wisdom as they age, to people who are doing their best in asking for (and providing) help, to those who clicked and did NOT click on that friggin’ link to my previous post, and to you — of course! — for being part of my personal medicine, today.


* “Congenital” means that I was born that way.

 

Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth, photojournalism, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 36 Comments

Day 477: Identity

In my work as a psychotherapist, I talk to people about their senses of identity and self-worth. Often, those things are intertwined.

People’s identity can include:

  • Family Roles (Parent, Sibling, Son/Daughter)
  • Functional Roles (Caretaker, Breadwinner, etc.)
  • Work-related Roles (Job title, retiree, pre-worker/student)
  • Social Roles (“Life of the party,” “Rebel,” Peacemaker”)

… and more.

I woke up thinking about Identity today because:

  1. For many years, a large part of my identity has been the work I do (notice that I referenced that in my very first sentence in this post).
  2. I am dealing with pneumonia right now, which is necessitating my staying out of work. Therefore,  I have a new and unfamiliar role, which I hesitate to name because of stigmatized words like … “Invalid.”  (I mean, look at THAT word — “invalid”! Isn’t that the very opposite of “valid” or “worthy”?)
  3. Another important part of my identity at work — supervisor/teacher — is about to end, because my wonderful Social Work intern is leaving next week.
  4. Today is my late mother’s birthday, so I am aware of a role that I used to fill — Daughter — that no longer exists.
  5. I’ve been writing blog posts (see here, here , and here) about a new identity — a Super Hero, no less, called “Super Recovery Woman.”

When I talk to people, in my treasured role as psychotherapist, I suggest that they look at the roles and labels they apply to themselves about who they are, as a way of understanding what affects their sense of self-worth.

Often these conversations turn to this very general role:

Human being

Here’s a saying that many people have found helpful:

Image

(I found that image here)

In other words,  basing our sense of worth on what we do can be a problem, since that can fluctuate and change so much, from day to day.

Wouldn’t it be great to feel a sense of self worth just for being?  In other words, wouldn’t it be wonderful to wake up in the morning, knowing you are worthy, no matter what you can or cannot do that day?

I would like to ask my readers some questions, at this point in the post: Do people think I am intrinsically less worthy, because I am not working right now?

Would you be surprised if I were to tell you that I am struggling NOT to judge myself and my self-worth, because of this latest role change?

And here’s my last question: If you do NOT judge ME right now, might you still judge yourself, if your roles (or other aspects of your self-identity) were to change?

Here’s another part of my identity that I would like to own, at this point in this post:

Blogger.

As with any other role, there are certain norms and assumptions associated with my role of Blogger.  For the most part, these are norms and assumptions that I have had the luxury to choose and shape myself, since I started filling this role 476 days ago.

For example, Ann the Blogger:

  1. Blogs once a day.
  2. Tries to inform and amuse (if possible).
  3. Writes in the morning, soon after she awakes and before she goes to work (on weekdays).
  4. Includes photos, whenever possible, including those she has taken herself.

I don’t know how many norms of that role I am going to fulfill today. As always, I shall do the best I can, without trying to be perfect, and accepting where I am.

In order to fulfill  Blogging Norm #4, listed above, let’s see if I have any photos to show you that relate to today’s topic.

Hmmm, I believe I do.

These are all photos that relate to my Identity/Role as Observer.  (I hope they fit in with my role as Super Recovery Woman, too.*)

Shall we begin?

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I observed this when I went for my dental appointment, last week. That window display is near the Boston Marathon route, and includes appropriate footwear.

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This photo also relates to my role as  …. Mother.  Here’s what I want to point out, right now, about that shot:  (1) the thermostat on the wall has starred in a post of its own (see here) and (2) as usual, I did not ask anybody to pose; I merely observed and captured what was within my sight.

The final two images in this post relate to my role as Lover of Creatures (outside and inside):

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Okay! I believe I have fulfilled enough roles, well enough, here today.

Thanks to imagination soup. net, to all those who do their best balancing many roles while maintaining a sense of self-worth, and — especially! — to those filling a much-appreciated role, right now: Reader of This Blog.


* I don’t believe that being totally bed- (or sofa-) ridden is good for me and my doctors agree. However, I find it difficult, in each moment, to judge a good-enough balance of rest and fresh air.

 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 68 Comments

Day 476: Ka-plow!

The blog possibilities are essentially endless today, because I — and others — are dealing with many issues. These issues include:

  • Illness (it seems like a lot of people are ill right now; some of us* are dealing with pneumonia).
  • Boston Marathon day, on the first year anniversary of the bombings.
  • Uncertainties about the future, which we all pretty much deal with, every day. (For some people,* these might include: when will I be able to go back to work?  What changes should I make in my work, to help promote people’s healing — including my own?)

Also, somebody* started a “thread” in this here blog recently (see here and here) about a new Super Hero identity, which, for today’s post, I am punctuating like so:

Super*Recovery*Woman

… just because I like the way that looks, today.  I will also say that it is a Super*Recovery*Woman’s prerogative to change her mind, whenever she wants.

So there are many things I could write about today, including imagining more details about my new identity.

Hmmmm. How am I going to create a good enough post, this morning?  Especially since some people* are not working today (because they’re* sick and/or it’s Patriot’s Day in Massachusetts**). As a result, somebody* doesn’t have their usual morning “container” to help them write a short, succinct, and to-the-point post.

As a result, I’m concerned that Super Digression Woman* may write her longest and most rambling post, evah, today. And she* really doesn’t want to do that, people. She’s not herself today. She’s sick!

Geesh! Somebody* had better explain the topic title at this point, don’t you think?

Okay!

When I woke up this morning, I was thinking many thoughts, including:

I still feel sick.  I don’t feel like myself. Arrrghh! And my mouth feels terrible. Maybe I SHOULDN’T have gotten that dental work done right after I left the hospital last week, but I did that because I was already on antibiotics and I need intravenous antibiotics whenever I get dental work because of my history of endocarditis and I HATE being on so many antibiotics because everybody knows that’s not good for you, so it made sense at the time to get that over with.  But MAYBE THAT WAS THE WRONG DECISION!

Boy, somebody sure got up on the wrong side of the bed, this morning, didn’t she*?

Where was I?

Oh, yes. I was explaining the title of the post.

After I got up, I realized I needed to stop those kinds of thoughts, because they were NOT HELPFUL! And immediately — shazaam! —  the title of this post popped into my mind:

KA-PLOW!!!

Why that particular title?

  • Because that’s how a lot of people (mis)pronounce my name (which used to bother me, at times) (but these days, not so much).
  • Every decent super hero* needs a good comic book noise, when she’s fighting the good fight! Don’t you agree?

Before this writer* goes any further with this post, she would like to add something else to the mix: appropriate music.

 

Okay!

Let’s see what Google Images has for us* this morning, for “Comic Book Noises.”

Aha!!!

free-comic-crash-boom-vector1

(I found this image here)

stock-vector-comic-book-explosion-color-version-24414823

(I found this image here)

comics

(I found that image here)

Take THAT, you unhelpful thoughts!!!!

OM.2011.083.web

(I found that image here)

And last, but not least:

polls_Ka_Pow_pop_art_0308_287458_poll_xlarge

I found that last image, here, at a site called — AND I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP — “What comic book sound are you?”

So how would I like to end this post?  What feels left unsaid?

Just this: if you want to read a beautiful post about the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, please check this out (written by my WordPress friend, Mark Bialczak).

Somebody* found it very moving, this morning.

Thanks to Mark, to John Williams (for the “Superman” theme), to everybody else who helped me write this post this morning, to anyone who is celebrating Patriot’s Day in any way at all, and to you — BOING!! — for visiting today.


* That would be me.

** Patriot’s Day***, according to Wikipedia, is “Observed by Massachusetts, Maine, Wisconsin, encouraged in Florida.” I’m wondering if my readers in Florida could report back on what that particular kind of encouragement looks like.

*** Apparently, I punctuated the name of this holiday AS IF I am living in Maine. I’m not making that up, either.

Categories: humor, inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

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