Posts Tagged With: Deluxe Town Diner

Day 1336: Stress Relief

Because I’m a psychotherapist,  I know about  stress relief. And because I’m a person alive in the year 2016, I sometimes  need stress relief.

Where do you find stress relief?

In a can?

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In the refrigerator?

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In books?

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In travel?

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In other creatures?

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In things you can buy?

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In boo boo kisses?

Tomorrow, I’m going back to work in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.  In two weeks, my only child is leaving for a five-year mathematics program in Edinburgh, Scotland.  In three weeks, I’ll be in Minnesota preparing for my first open heart surgery.

I don’t know about you, but I could probably use some stress relief.

Here’s the first thing I found on YouTube for “stress relief.”

 

Is it possible that leaving a comment for this post might provide stress relief for somebody?

I know that gratitude is great for stress relief, so thanks to all who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — for any stress relief you find or bring, here and now.

 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 63 Comments

Day 734: Actually

“Actually” is actually a word I use a lot, in writing and in speech. I’m actually not sure why I do.

My soon-to-be-17-year-old son, Aaron, actually asked me this question last week:

Do you say “actually” a lot?

and I replied:

Yes, I do.

I actually can’t believe that I didn’t take that opportunity to use “actually” in my response there.  Maybe I actually did say “actually”  and my memory isn’t actually  as good as I think it is.

Actually, I believe that Aaron and I have discussed “actually” before.

I am actually shocked that I have not used the word “actually” in any post title before today. However, I HAVE actually used the word “actually” in approximately 7 out of the last 22 daily posts I’ve written here, which is actually a lower percentage than I would have expected.

Yes, I actually took the time to check that out.

I actually didn’t think I’d be writing this actual introduction today. I actually did know that my title would include the word “actually” today, but I thought it might be

Love Actually

or

Actually Love

because I actually spent some time yesterday resting on the sofa, eating sunflower seeds, drinking tea, and watching some of the movie  Love Actually on television. I’ve actually seen parts of that movie before and I actually vividly remember Emma Thompson‘s performance, but yesterday the movie actually had about 7 minutes of commercials for every 10 minutes of movie, but I’m actually guessing there.

I’m actually trying to relax this weekend before my actually highly anticipated meeting with a new cardiologist on Wednesday, who is actually the top expert on people who actually have my congenital cardiac

abnormality

condition

problem

defect

disease

issue

which are all words I do NOT love, actually.  Actually, I am going to take the time in this post, right now, to actually come up with a word I actually prefer.

(Here’s some actual background, for new readers: I was born with Congenitally Corrected Transposition of the Great Arteries, wherein actual parts of my actual heart are doing things they weren’t actually designed to do.  I’m actually linking, within this actual paragraph, to actual on-line articles AND previous posts actually written by me, if you want to read more about CCTGA. CCTGA is actually, these days, also called Levo Transposition of the Great Arteries (L-TGA), but I actually don’t remember what or who Levo is and, in the moment, I actually don’t care.)

I actually do care about finding a word I actually prefer to those “negative” words I listed above, so how about I say that I have a congenital (which actually means “born with”) …

SPECIAL-NESS!

although I don’t actually love that word either. How about

I have a congenital cardiac SPECIALTY!

What do you actually think about all that?  Perhaps you might actually come up with a better word. (If you do, could you actually share that, here?)

Actually, I wanted to tell you more, in this post, about my yesterday.

Before I relaxed on the sofa — watching Love Actually (with the two TV snacks I actually want to restrict myself to, if I can actually manage that) — I actually had breakfast with my long-time friend Eleanor. Eleanor has actually appeared verbally, but not visually, in two previous posts, which are actually called

Day 128: I get by with a little help from my friends 

Day 154:  Worry, losing, and finding things.

both of which could have actually served as the title of today’s post (except for the actual day).

Here are some photos I actually took — with my old, cracked cell phone — during yesterday’s breakfast with Eleanor at my long-time actual, favorite diner (which has actually appeared in so many previous posts, that I’m actually not going to take the time to search for those right now, but you could actually find them, if you want, by searching for “Deluxe Town Diner” here).

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The cast of characters appearing in the above photos include Penny (in the first four shots) and Cindy, Gina, and Kelly (hidden, except for her four fingers). Gina (actually on the right, above ) has actually not seen Aaron for a long time, and when I showed her a recent photo of what he actually looks like these days, she actually yelped with delight. Gina actually said a lot of flattering things about Aaron yesterday, but I won’t include them here, because they might embarrass him, if he actually ever read these posts.

Do I actually sound annoyed there?  I’m not. I’m actually hungry, especially looking at those photos of yesterday’s breakfast.

I actually just ate some of this, with almond milk:

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which is actually pretty good.

Now that I actually can think clearly again, I wanted to tell you some actual facts about my time with Eleanor, yesterday:

  1. We actually talked about a lot of things, including our jobs and our children,
  2. We reminisced about some people we both met at my first actually full-time job, in the 1970’s, when I got hired as a technical writer right out of college, with no actual experience,
  3. Eleanor said it was actually lucky that WordPress didn’t send her my New Year’s Day post, because she emailed me about that, which then resulted in our actually getting together yesterday,
  4. She said she found it remarkable that I’ve been posting every day since January 2013,
  5. I told Eleanor it meant a lot to me that she found this recent post very moving, and
  6. When we said goodbye, I actually told her I loved her.

See! So the name of this post actually could have been “Love Actually.”

Here are some more photos I actually took last night, when I was actually at Panera Bread and PetSmart with my actual boyfriend, Michael, when it was actually snowing, here in the Northeastern United States:

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Sometimes I wonder if I’m actually driving Michael — and other creatures around me  —  crazy.

Actually, I’m not actually sure what actual music would actually fit this actual post today.

This actually appeared in my mind, just now:

If you actually want, you can find “You Send Me” by Sam Cooke  here, on YouTube. I actually don’t know why Sam Cooke’s songs have been appearing so much in my mind  and in recent posts (actually, here and here).

If you were actually going to respond to this actual post, what might you actually say?

Actual thanks to all actual people, creatures, and pens appearing in this post today (actually pictured or not) and — actually — to you, for your actual visit (which I actually appreciate, a lot).


I’m actually amazed that I wrote this whole post without any actual footnotes.

After I actually published this post, I actually realized that some of the photos wouldn’t actually load. I’ll see if I can actually figure this out, today.

Categories: friendship, inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Day 713: Follow Me

Yesterday, I took the TIME to follow some new WordPress blogs. And some new people decided to Follow Me. Indeed,  I saw the following message:

You are following this blog, along with 1,947 other amazing people (manage).

If I’m following that message correctly,

  1. lots of people throughout the world are doing me the huge of honor of valuing this blog enough to follow it.
  2. WordPress is inviting me to manage something here, which I’m finding increasingly difficult these days (but I’m figuring it out, as I go along).
  3. WordPress agrees with me that my readers are amazing.

Yesterday, I also followed

  • my son Aaron to his keyboard lesson and to the play he’s appearing in and
  • my heart, intuition, and wishes as I walked around Arlington, Massachusetts, USA, listening to the Pat Metheny Group play (in my headphone/earmuffs).

If you need to, you can follow me to “Follow Me” by the Pat Metheny Group on YouTube.

Follow me now, amazing readers, to the images I followed yesterday in Arlington and then Watertown, Massachusetts, USA:

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To help you follow me through those pictures, I’ll give you a clue:  Aaron and I went to the Deluxe Town Diner (a favorite location previously appearing in posts here, here, here, and here) for lunch after his piano lesson, and that’s Kelly in the last shot (who has been following, with her kind regard, both me and son Aaron through the years). Previously, as you were following me through my walk through Arlington, you also encountered a music store and my son’s keyboard teacher, Tim Maurice.

I wonder if any readers who follow me can translate any of the difficult-to-follow signs above?

Follow me now, for a few more photos:

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That’s my sister, Ellen in the last shot, showing me the beautiful time piece she was wearing, as we watched my son Aaron acting on stage, last night.

That reminds me that it’s time for me to finish this post, so I can follow my son to today’s performance.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you might know that I seek within to see if anything seems left unwritten, before I end a post.

This is what follows that, here and now.

Fear sometimes follows me around, as I follow my way through this world.  I hope you follow me in this: please do your best to let go of fear. Marvelous things may follow.

Thanks to the Pat Metheny Group, Aaron, Tim, Kelly, Ellen, people who follow or are followed, and to all those who follow their own path (including you, if you follow).

Categories: blogging, inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 43 Comments

Day 539: Waffles

Here’s a post where I decided on the title — without waffling — hours before I started writing it. That’s unusual.

Yesterday, I met my friends Janet and Ray for brunch at the Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown. While sometimes I have trouble making decisions about what to order at a restaurant, I didn’t waffle yesterday. I knew I wanted to order waffles, only available on weekends. I did waffle, a little, about what kind of waffle to get, but — with Janet and Ray’s help — I soon settled on the sweet potato special:

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Don’t those deluxe waffles look delicious?  In case you’re waffling on how to respond, my answer is: they were!

Janet and Ray both tried them, and agreed the waffles were wonderful.

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Ray and Janet are looking at houses to buy, now that they’ve moved back to Massachusetts, and they told me about a place they definitely want to own. There was no waffling, for either of them, as they shared details about this home:

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I don’t know why, in particular, I chose to take a photo of the house’s doorknobs, except (1) I was waffling about other pictures to take and (2) those doorknobs are quite adorable.

We also talked about my blog, and I told them I had been waffling, a little, about quoting Ray yesterday without checking with him first.  I do have concerns about (1) misquoting people  and (2) hurting their feelings. Ray replied, without a hint of waffling in his voice, that I could write whatever I wanted to about him, without any fear whatsoever. Indeed, Ray strongly requested that I misquote him, deliberately.

Here’s a shot of Ray pledging, on his corned beef hash, that he wants me to misquote him in a blog post:

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For all you know, I may have done this, already.

After sharing waffles with my fine friends Janet and Ray, I returned home and asked my boyfriend Michael if he would like to accompany me on a walk.

Michael waffled at first, as we discussed the details, but then we came up with a mutual plan.

Our first stop was the cat shelter in Cambridge, where we had gotten our cat Harley, last October. We saw this cat:

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… who had a most excellent name:

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Waffles’s nervousness reminded me of Harley’s, who — when he was in the shelter — did not budge from his side cubby, kind of like Simba, here:

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Michael, yesterday, was non-waffling in his preference for Simba over all the other cats in the shelter, although he liked them all,  including this one:

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who had a most excellent name, too:

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After we visited with all the shelter cats, we headed out toward some very scenic paths. On our way, we passed by some buildings that appeared in yesterday’s post:

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Those kind of look like waffles, don’t they?  I usually waffle about which of those three buildings are shorter — or taller — than the others. It’s really difficult to tell, from most perspectives.

Once Michael and I reached the walking/bicycling paths, we waffled on which path to take first, because there were so many to choose from. It didn’t really matter, because they all were interesting and beautiful:

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As I was was taking that last shot, a magnificent blue bird, previously unseen by either of us, took off and flew away. I didn’t waffle for a second, and said, “It’s a blue heron!”   Michael was astonished, and told me he had recently seen a nature show about how elusive these birds are.   I replied I had seen quite a few, recently, in my walks near Boston, although I often waffle about my bird-identification expertise.

I hoped I might have caught that beautiful bird in my shot, but I was truly grateful just to see it.

What about you? If you see something special in that last photo, would you waffle about letting me know?

Besides the heron, Michael and I did see other creatures yesterday, who may have waffled about staying close to humans, but were still pretty easy to capture:

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Wait! That’s not a real turtle.  We didn’t see any turtles yesterday,  but we saw this big fish:

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… which we think was probably an alewife.  We also saw a large family of ducks. Here’s my best shot of them:

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Beyond a shadow of doubt, with or without waffles, I saw some marvelous things yesterday.

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Well, it’s time to stop waffling about how to end this post.

Thanks to waffles (and wafflers) everywhere, to Janet and Ray, to homes (no matter what the details), to Michael, to Hope (and all other shelter cats), to Broken Tail Rescue, to the Alewife Brook Reservation, to beautiful birds and other creatures, to people who keep the peace (in any dimension), and a special thanks to you, no matter how much waffling you do.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 51 Comments

Day 111: Here and now? It’s safer than you fear.

That may seem like a really strange title for today’s blog post.

Especially since I’m writing this in Boston, less than a week after the Marathon bombings, which created wide-spread (and completely understandable) beliefs of “we’re not as safe as we thought.”  (At least that happened here, in the U.S.)

Especially since I’m writing this approximately 36 hours after “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19” (as the media is now referring to him) was captured, hiding out in a boat, in Watertown, MA.  According to Google maps, he was hiding right behind the Arsenal Mall, where I’ve shopped for the last 30 years, a block away from places I frequently walk, and less than 2 and a half miles away from where this writer currently lives.

Okay, I want to ask myself  (and you) a question right now.  Why am I starting with time and place, in this post?  Why did I write those previous paragraphs, so specifically, about where and when?

Anxiety can heighten a sense of time and place.

I  state the place and time when I’m anxious, as a way to get a sense of how safe I am. It’s like I’m monitoring the environment and asking this: how close am I to  danger (by location and by time)?

I see that heightened anxiety, now, in people all around me.

I see that heightened anxiety in the people who are trying to make meaning of this new reality: My World After the Boston Bombings.

I see and hear people telling their stories, now, with those kinds of details — focusing on location and time. Details like these:  I live(d) in Boston, during this time.  Family members live(d) in Boston, during this time . Boston is/was familiar to me, during this time.

The punchline, that I hear in these stories, is this: Danger is closer than I thought.

Okay, I’m going to turn to the personal, now.

My Year of Living (What Seems to Be More) Dangerously.

I’ve been noticing, lately, that as I do this daily blog — The Year of Living Non-Judgmentally — I typically write in that state of heightened anxiety. That is, in many sentences I write (including many sentences in this blog post!), I state the place and time.  And I’ve been doing that all year.

That’s because I’m more anxious this year.

Why? Well,  I’m doing two new things:  (1) blogging and (2) working at a relatively new job for me. And the new, as we know, can make us more anxious.

However,  I’ve been remaining  anxious, even as I get more familiar with blogging and my job.

I don’t think I need to explain why blogging —  writing and sending personal information out into the world — might cause me some anxiety.   (Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Writers, Fellow Bloggers  —  you  probably have some understanding of this.)

But why does the work continue to make me so anxious?

Here’s why:  This year, I am doing work I love in a location that triggers old, anxiety-provoking memories in me. For the first time in my long  life, I am working at a hospital, and I  had some anxiety-provoking experiences  in the hospital, when I was a kid.

So, the hospital where I am now working, which is — rationally —   a very safe place for me, can FEEL more dangerous that it really is. Because I have so many memories from when I was a child — memories that color the way I see things in the present, that intensify my vision and my hearing as I walk around my now-safe hospital — as a result, I  can feel less safe than I really am.

How have I been dealing with that, this year?

My own process of helping myself feel safer.

I have been reminding myself — in the Here and Now — of the safer reality.

Whenever I can, each day I walk into work, I enter through the hospital’s main entrance. Then, I walk the 5 minutes to my office, looking around, taking in the sights and sounds, and reminding myself — with my internal thoughts and with the evidence of my eyes and ears — of all these things:

You are not a child now.  You are not a patient here.  You are an adult now.  You are on staff here.

You are in control, now.  You are not stuck here.  You can choose to leave, at any time.

Scary, awful things happened to you, but that was a long time ago (although it can feel like yesterday, sometimes).  

These things happened to you around the corner from here.  And this place may look, sound, and feels like that place.  But that was then, and this is now.  That was there, and this is here.

It’s different.

It may feel close to you,  in time and space.  But it’s further away than it feels.

There’s  distance between danger and you, Ann.

And those questions about who you can trust?  The people who work here may remind you of  some people who did scary things, but they are not the same people.

Those people who hurt you — whether it was by ignorance, fear,  or another one of their own limitations — those people can’t hurt you, right now.

It’s safer than you fear.

Those are the things I say to myself, as I walk through the hospital.

And here are some additional things I’ve been saying to myself, lately, as I walk outside the hospital:

Those people out there in the world, right now, who deliberately hurt others?  You may not understand them.  They may seem bigger and more powerful than other people. But they are the same size as other people.  

And there are others, in your life, who can help you stay safe. 

You are not alone.

It’s safer than you fear.

What I see in others, now

This week,  in Boston, I see people, all around me, doing things that remind me of my own personal process —   trying to figure out how safe they are.

As I wrote in yesterday’s post, it’s the PROXIMITY of danger that can make us feel less safe.   We feel less safe when something  happens — something terrible, something violent, something dangerous, something that shatters our sense of safety — closer than we expected.

And I see others, all around me, already, doing whatever they can to start the healing process.

I saw people in Watertown, MA, coming out of their houses immediately after the lock-down was lifted, cheering the law enforcement people leaving their neighborhoods.

As I walked around yesterday, I witnessed other people walking. I wondered if they were doing the same thing I was doing — experiencing the beauty that is erupting everywhere around us, in the neighborhood of recent, violent danger:

 

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And last night, I deliberately returned to my favorite diner (which — as I wrote about yesterday — appeared in almost every TV image during the capture of the suspect).

I went to that diner with people I adore.

 

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That’s Janet and Ray, whom I’ve known for about 30 years (the same amount of time I’ve known the Arsenal Mall, whatever the hell that means).

I was healing myself, by going back to the Deluxe Town Diner, in Watertown, MA., last night, with Janet and Ray.  I was connecting back with many old, safe memories of that place. With people I’ve known and trusted for a long time.

Janet, Ray, and I were integrating the new, awful information with the old,  as we spoke about the Proximity of Danger. We talked about how the capture took place so close to where we were — as we ate, laughed, and reconnected.

These are attempts to heal.  To figure out ways to feel safe enough to move forward .

That is what I see, every day, in the group and individual therapy work I do.  Whenever I witness people doing that — healing themselves, with the support of others — it moves me, beyond words.

It may be beyond words, but I do try to put that into words, in writing and in speech — here and elsewhere.

Here’s a phrase that came to me, many years ago, when I first starting doing the work I do:

All healing is mutual.

In other words, as we witness other people heal, we heal, also.

That is what I see and hear, all around me.

Thanks so much for reading, here and now.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 110: Arrrghh! I might still be in this guy’s movie

Writing this blog, this year, has turned out to be therapy for me. And I’ve especially needed This Writing Therapy, this past week, since I live — and work — in Boston.

Yesterday, I wrote about how weird, how awful, it was for me, that all the scenes on TV —  as they hunted for the Boston bombing suspect — were so friggin’ familiar.

And that surrealism continued throughout the day, after I published the post in the morning.  Every place the media went, every place they set up their cameras — all were super familiar to me.  I recognized everything.

And the climactic scene, last night, in Watertown?  Hovering in the background, as the news media people waited, was my favorite diner.

Deluxe Town Diner

The Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown. I’ve spent countless hours at that diner.

My favorite t-shirt, which I wear when it finally gets warm enough in these parts (like now!),  is from that diner.

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All the people I love in the world?  Most of them have been to that diner with me.

I am grieving for that diner, right now, in a way. I feel very sad, as I’m writing this —  for how that diner — and all those other familiar things —  have been tainted, in memory, by the violence in and around Boston this week.

But I’m also mad right now, as I’m writing this.

(Anger is part of grieving, too, which you may already know.)

Here’s why I’m angry, right now.  I thought this was over (for me).   Like most people, last night, I was relieved when they captured the guy, and he was alive. The media told us he was on his way to a Cambridge Hospital.   It was over.  The healing could begin.

And I woke up this morning, eager to write this blog post.  Eager to write about lots of things I’ve learned, from this experience.

I love when I’m in that place, of eagerness to learn.

I’ve blogged about something, several times this year (because it’s important for me to remember).   When I’m feeling bad — helpless, powerless, depressed — my own personal experience of  “traumatized” — I forget something. I forget that I will get through that bad period.

But I always do.   I  always move through the bad times and come out the other end, with lots of gifts.  Those gifts always include some sort of wisdom — things I’ve learned that I can apply to my journey through life.

This morning, when I woke up, I thought I was through the Bad Time — the time when things feel out of sync, unfamiliar, scary, overwhelming, confusing, shocking — of this Boston Trauma.

But I’m not.

Now, I’m reading that the media is reporting that the guy might be at the hospital where I work.

So when I go back to work on Monday (after missing work yesterday, because my home was on lock-down), I’m assuming that my world will look different.  The media will be there.  The police will be there.

When I was talking to people — staff and patients —  last week, at the hospital where I work, I could see that people were traumatized by the proximity of the pain of the explosions.  Some of these people had run in that Marathon.  Almost everybody knew somebody who was in the race or watching the race.

And, according to the media, several of the severely injured people from the bomb blasts were at the hospital where I work. Staff talked a lot about how we could help others — and ourselves — deal with the nearness of all this.

I am so angry at “the bombing suspect” (as the media calls him) right now. I’m so angry I can’t even go there — write about it —  right now.

I’m especially angry that I might still be in this guy’s movie.

I’m also angry at the media — the ones who are making this friggin’ movie.  I’m especially angry about the misinformation that the media puts out there. I’m angry about the mistakes they sent out over the airwaves — throughout this experience that overtook my home — without ever owning their mistakes.

Digression about Why I’m So Pissed at The News Media

As I wrote,  earlier this year  (regarding how Weather Forecasters Never Admit When They’re Wrong, here),  it drives me up the wall when people promote speculation as fact. I don’t like when people  say they’re sure about something, when they’re not sure. And I don’t like it when they don’t own their mistakes.

The more powerful the people are who promote Speculation as Fact — the more angry I get. I judge it as irresponsible – because it hurts more people.

That drives me up the wall because I, personally, am soooooo careful to  say: I Am Not Sure About This.  That is a value of mine — to own when I don’t know something. I don’t want to mislead people. I don’t want to use my power — my expertise — to give somebody the wrong information.

The 24-hour News Media?  That doesn’t seem to be a value of theirs, at all. And I can understand the forces that dicate their being that way — that viewers want to know what’s going on, that they don’t have time to fact check, etc. etc.  But it still drives … me … up … the …. wall.

End of This Digression

So, right now, I’m assuming that my place of employment — the location where I get to do work I love — might be crawling with the media on Monday, when I go back there. Lots of law enforcement around, too.

Can you picture it?  Imagine what that might be like?

I’m imagining this: Bright lights, armed people.

The volume — and the visuals — turned WAY UP.

Dear readers, I was so ready for my world to start looking normal again.

For me, it might still be Trauma Central, on Monday. Because this is how I am defining Trauma, right now. It’s when the familiar and the safe becomes strange and frightening. It’s when we have trouble seeing past that, to a return of normalcy.

Damn it!

Well, as my sister said to me this morning, if he is there,  he won’t be there for long.  That helped — to look ahead to when my personal healing can begin.

And it’s a relief to know, that for many people around me — the people who were “locked-down” yesterday, the people who recognized the locations on TV yesterday, the people for whom the Boston Marathon was a comforting touchstone, the people whose sense of reality was disturbed in any way by the bombings here on April 15 — the healing process DID begin, last night. It began with the capture of the suspect, last night, in Watertown, MA.

I felt that relief, last night, too.  And I guess — I know —  that I will feel it again.

And for the rest of this weekend, I can try to help that healing process along, before I might need to return to the Familiar/Unfamiliar at work on Monday.

I will use those things that help me,  this weekend.

I’ll be more in the moment. (I’m not at the hospital, now!)

I’ll listen to music I love.

I’ll walk around my no-longer-locked-down town, and take in all those beautiful flowering trees — the ones I wait all year to see.

I’ll connect to people I trust.

I’ll talk about it.

And I’ll write about it, here.

Thanks for reading, as I do.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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