I am a white person, so — automatically — everything I write here will fit the title of today’s post.
That takes the pressure off.
I wonder if pressure, worry, or anything else turns my face white?
Here are some more thoughts from this white person, this morning, about “white”:
At my age (62), hair is often white for white people.
Being white has privileges of which I am aware,
Doctors and other people often comment on my “good color,” perhaps because of my congenital cardiac condition, which probably means I am neither as white (nor as blue) as they might expect or fear.
My white boyfriend Michael just told me that Harley, the whiter of our two cats, is “slowly shredding the world.”
I have some important medical appointments this week with at least two white cardiologists and I’m hoping their recommendations don’t turn my face whiter.
I saw a lot of white, in my vicinity, yesterday:
That last white photo includes a white gift from Vahan, who works at the fish counter of my local supermarket. Vahan knows about my white habit of taking photos at the Star Market with pens of various colors, so he gave me a pen that looks like a white, human spine.
It’s funny how funny is so important to me, but this is my first post with “Funny” as the title.
It’s funny how I got this in a return email last week, from a doctor at work who is leaving the practice:
Don’t worry — I’m starting to catch on to your sense of humor after all this time! And you have already very kindly made it clear that you’ll miss me — as I will miss you.
It’s funny how I am going to miss that doctor even more, now that I know she uses dashes for punctuation — like I do.
It’s funny how I have trouble remembering positive feedback I get from others, including these lists (from my family in the 1980s and from my co-workers at the job before my current one):
It’s funny how out of all the things on those lists, I am particularly proud of the ones relating to how funny I am.
It’s funny how if I hadn’t facilitated those two groups of people generating Appreciation Lists like those above for each other, I never would have known they appreciated me in all those ways.
It’s funny how the other people in those groups really appreciated their Appreciation Lists, too.
It’s funny how I took each of these photos yesterday, thinking about my post today:
It’s funny how I thought of Stephen Sondheim’s “(Not) Getting Married Today” from Company as a great song for this Funny post, and found three versions I wanted to share with you:
If you wish to find Carol Burnett, Madeline Kahn, and the original Broadway cast doing that song on YouTube, I wouldn’t find that funny at all.
Any thoughts, feelings, or songs about funny today?
Funny thanks to my co-workers, my family, chocolate, Philippe Petit, The Friendly Toast, the Kendall Square Cinema in Cambridge Massachusetts USA, What We Do in the Shadows, Stephen Sondheim, Carol Burnett, Madeline Kahn, the original cast of Company, and all the funny people who have made my life worth living, including you!
I’m not sure how to characterize my day yesterday. Maybe you can help me put words on what kind of day it was.
Yesterday was a day when I:
created and ordered this t-shirt online,
got a flat tire on the way in to work, after my car met up with one of the kashmillion friggin’ potholes in my fine, snow-ravaged hometown of Boston,
was enough of an expert on the experience of flat tires that I was able to take care of that and get to work only five minutes late,
got my taxes done,
had some macaroni and cheese in the cafeteria of the hospital where I work,
met with somebody who was very interested in my therapy groups,
took these photos,
posted this in a Facebook group for people who have (or who love somebody who has) a very unusual heart like mine:*
I have a question, group! I am a 62 year old with cctga who developed a-fib in September 2013, and my doctors are now considering valve replacement. I’ve been hearing a lot lately about how adults with cctga become more prone to sudden cardiac death as we grow older. One of the cardiologists I’ve been consulting seems amazed that I have made it into my 60’s. Have other people heard about this as a problem?
One of my cardiologists is recommending that we replace my current pacemaker with a pacemaker/defibrillator combo before we do a valve replacement — an intervention I personally prefer because it’s less invasive. Actually, here’s another question: this same cardiologist says that if they replace my valve, this might actually make me worse. He is concerned they will put me on a machine during the valve surgery and will not be able to take me off of it because of the increased pressure to my heart because of the new valve.
Any thoughts, answers, questions about sudden cardiac death for people with cctga in their 50’s, 60’s, or beyond or about valve replacement dangers for people like me? Many thanks.
received several heartfelt and informative responses to that post– that helped me feel hopeful, sad, scared, upset, happy, worried, calm, surprised, and delighted — including this one:
Ann?! I’m like two towns over! I can’t believe that somebody with my condition is so close.
What kind of day was yesterday? What kind of words might describe it, for you?
I’d say that yesterday was the same kind of day as any other day:
A day that changed from moment to moment.
A day in which I had all my feelings.
A day of potholes and successes.
A day when I could connect with others, if I reached out.
I wonder what kind of day today will be? Here’s one thing I know so far.
Today is a day when I’ve heard the song “Yesterday.”
What kind of day is it, for you?
Thanks to the Beatles, to all who helped make my day yesterday, and to people with hearts of all kinds, especially you!
* What kind of heart did I have yesterday? One with congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries (cctga). The same kind of heart I have today.
Here are some photos I took yesterday in the office of my Primary Care Physician, Dr. Laura Snydman:
Do you agree with that? The more you know, the better you feel?
My answer to that?
Here’s more for you to know. “Whatever” would NOT be my answer. That’s just a cup I saw yesterday evening. My answer would be:
Whether I feel better would depend on the knowledge.
I DID feel better after I met with Dr. Snydman yesterday and I DID know more, including this:
At least one doctor in my crowd of cardiologists is recommending the treatment plan I prefer (and which I recommended — in an email, months ago — to another cardiologist).
Knowing that helped me feel much better, because:
That plan — replacing my pacemaker with a pacemaker/defibrillator combo to reduce my risk of sudden cardiac death and to try to restore my heart’s ability to speed up in response to exertion and exercise — is a much less invasive plan than valve replacement surgery (which I know other knowledgeable cardiologists have been recommending) and
I love feeling smart.*
What more would you like to know now, to feel better?
Here are some other photos I took yesterday, for more knowledge and/or better feelings:
That last image reminds me of some more better-feeling knowledge: There’s an “ice cream social” today at work.
Do you know any feel-better songs that would fit today’s blog post?
… because I’m hoping my heart will keep beating until I’m 70 (and more).
You might know this: the more you comment, the better I feel.
Many thanks to Dr. Snydman, to the Pat Metheny Group, to medical teams everywhere, to people I know who felt better or who helped me feel better yesterday, to crowds of cardiologists and pacemakers, to ice cream, and — of course! — to you, no matter what you know or how you’re feeling today.
* I was going to write “I love feeling like a know-it-all” instead, but know-it-all’s don’t usually help me feel better.
Yesterday, somebody came into therapy feeling angry. This person was also
judging the anger,
questioning its validity,
trying to squelch it, and
redirecting it various places, including towards self.
Hmmmmm. Maybe I should have titled this post
What NOT to do with anger.
But who knows what to do with anger, one of the basic human emotions?
Who are our “anger role models” for effectively acknowledging and expressing this all-too-human feeling?
Can you think of any?
Uh-oh. I think the pressure’s on me, now, to come up with some ideas about What to Do With Anger.
Does that pressure make me angry?
I don’t think so. However, I did wake up angry today.
I wasn’t sure why and what to do with that feeling.
However, I did not
judge the anger,
question its validity,
or redirect it.
Therefore, I can take now take a little time, before I leave for work, to understand that anger better.
I tell people in therapy, sometimes, that anger is the human reaction to not getting your needs met.
Am I getting my needs met, in my life?
Well, not ALL of them, for heaven’s sake. Who does?
I also tell people in therapy, sometimes, that anger is the human reaction to perceived unfairness and injustice.
Are there any unfairnesses or injustices I can see, if I look around?
Hmmmm. Now I’m wondering why I don’t wake up EVERY morning feeling anger.
Is writing this post helping me with my anger?
Actually, it is.
What else might I do with my anger, right now?
Assume it makes sense.
Allow it to flow through me, like any other feeling (joy, for example).
Express it as authentically and as respectfully as I can.
Is there anything else I want to express about my anger, this morning?
I suspect this anger is related to my having neither knowledge nor control, at this point, about some medical uncertainties in my life.
Are there any songs about anger out there?
If your needs aren’t being met by James Taylor singing “Angry Blues” and a Chubby Checker number, that’s on YouTube, here.
Do I have any angry images to show you?
Here’s all I’ve got, from yesterday’s photos:
I hope you know that all your feelings, thoughts, and reactions are welcomed here.
Not-so-angry thanks to James Taylor, Chubby Checker, and to everybody else who made this post possible (including boyfriend Michael, for dinner last night). Also, special thanks to you, for witnessing my feelings and thoughts, today.
Here are some thoughts about faces I am facing right now:
Human beings are hard-wired to notice faces and facial expressions,
In this blog, I avoid showing my face in photos and videos,
When I am not in the presence of people, I can easily imagine them with negative expressions on their faces,
When I was a kid, I was freaked out by an episode of The Outer Limits TV show, with aliens that looked like giant ants with angry faces,
When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time In the hospital, where doctors and nurses wore surgical masks when they were about to operate on me, so I couldn’t see adults’ faces at times that were particularly scary,
When I was participating in a two-day group therapy experience in California last month, I became frightened when the light in the room changed and I couldn’t see the faces of the other people,
Several times, I’ve watched the video of me singing The Lion Sleeps Tonight (posted in my blog yesterday), looking at people’s faces and interpreting their reactions differently,
The media seems to focus on conventionally beautiful faces and on faces with “ugly” expressions, and
When I am feeling safe and secure, I find faces of all kinds very beautiful.
Here are some faces I noticed yesterday, as my boyfriend Michael and I were facing food shopping at our local supermarket:
Here’s a song about a face, performed by mop-topped faces:
I look forward to facing any thoughts, feelings, and/or suggestions about other Face songs from you, in a comment facing below.
Now I need to go face the beginning of my work week!
Many thanks to all the faces I’ve seen in my life, to The Beatles, to Paul and Linda McCartney, to musicians and others who’ve put so many smiles on my face over the years, and to you — of course! — for spending Face Time with me, here and now.
Yesterday, I saw an image that would have been perfect for that post.
While there was a time when I would have regretted seeing or doing something “too late,” I’ve been changing my inner world enough to let go of regrets.
As long as I’m still here and blogging, I can show you new things I experience, whenever I choose.
Sharing that image with you — here and now — changed my inner world, in some way. Everything does.
Here are more images from yesterday, changing my inner world:
I am grateful I am alive each day, changing my inner world with every breath.
Two nights ago, I changed my inner world by overcoming anxiety to sing and conduct other singers at a party. Here’s a video of that:
How do you change your inner world?
World-changing thanks to all those appearing in this blog today, to my friend and co-worker Mark for capturing Friday night’s performance (as instructed), to Ali the harpist, to my fellow social workers for the vocal support, to Maria from WordPress for helping me upload The Lion Sleeps Tonight at YouTubea day “late” (and with perfect timing), and to you — of course! — for changing my world, each time you visit.