Wednesday, September 27, 2017

I've got it figured out, and I want in.

And by "figured it out," I mean "my latest idea." And my ideas are long-lasting solutions to very complicated issues almost never.

I have a way of making people want to keep reading, don't I?

Here's what I have figured out:

Well, wait. First you have to zoom out a bunch. Like 10,000ft. From what? From NFL players, from team owners, from Donald Trump, from the phrase, "SOB," from the American Flag. 

Ok. Now that we're way back here... let's say on a puffy, white cloud removed from the nitty gritty ground... ahhh, that's nice. Now, let's look at this THING we've created. 

NFL players began a thing last summer. And THAT thing (let's call it Thing #1) was about protesting. It was about protesting the injustices Black Americans face right here, right now. 

And then came Thing #2. The disgruntled response by many that NFL players are disrespecting America (there's a variety of symbols for America here: The Flag, The Anthem, The Veterans, The Active Servicemen/women). As far as I understand it, Thing #2 isn't so much about folks believing there is no reason to protest the injustices Black Americans face right here, right now. In other words, Thing #2 does not necessarily oppose Thing #1. It's simply a whole separate thing. 

Things #1 and #2 have been real and messy and uncomfortable and division-creating for over a year. 

Then comes Thing #3. Thing #3 is only a few days old. President Donald Trump, on Friday and Saturday, scolded NFL players for protesting in the form of kneeling during the national anthem. He furthered his comments by saying that NFL owners of teams should fire those who do so (except swap out "those who do so," with "sons of bitches"). Thing #3 seems to be less about disagreeing with Thing #1 and more about Thing #2, in my estimation. But, nonetheless, Thing #3 became a whole new, different, and life-form-taking thing, because it resulted in a separate display...one that had NFL teams across our great nation scratching their heads over what Sunday morning ought to look like. What it looked like was this: A variety of formats (all arms banded together, all staying in locker room, all body posturing actually different but yet side-by-side) designed to show UNITY. Unity that said, "We don't like what you said, Donald Trump." 

Now, let's be clear: Thing #3 is not on the same turf (pun intended) with Thing #1. How many of the individuals (owners, coaches, and/or players) who actively displayed unity on Sunday were protesting the injustices Black Americans face right here, right now? I don't know. I'm sure many were. Which would mean they were actively participating in Thing #1 and Thing #3. But I would argue that many were displaying unity in anger over something different... something more about their leadership, their handling of things, their judgment calls, their personal connection to the NFL being criticized. Trump's comments hit at the top. He was telling people who lead the NFL how to do their jobs. Nobody likes to be slammed in this way. But linking arms to say "We don't like what you said, Donald Trump," is sure different than, "We protest the injustices Black Americans face right here, right now." Could it be that the weekend's events swirled up a whole new tornado, the eye of which is a man, not a decades-long civil rights battle? 

No one man deserves a whole tornado for himself. 

But wait. WAIT!!! I will not leave you this way. I will NOT! Remember: I've got it figured O-U-T!

This morning in the shower was when my brain compartmentalized the separate-but-related three things. And it was in the shower that I imagined myself edging away from the tornado(es), all the way back to that drifty little peaceful, soft cloud. And it was from that distance that I could see more clearly (Cue Bette Midler's "From a Distance"). In the shower it came to me: LET'S HAVE THING #1 AND THING #2 WORK WITH EACH OTHER, NOT AGAINST EACH OTHER!!! What if the new way "we do" the National Anthem is on a knee? What if "the knee" was not in PLACE of singing the anthem, or gazing at the flag, or thanking our servicemen and women, or displaying reverence to the great nation in which we live. Not in place of at all. In addition to. What if those who proudly sing the national anthem into a microphone did so on a knee? Singing while kneeling? Not protesting what America's anthem is all about. In fact, reinforcing it. "YES, YES we want more land of the brave. YES, YES we want more land of the free," says this gesture. It says, "I want to live here. I want to be a proud American. I want to support anything that promotes justice for all and denounce anything that promotes injustice for any part of the whole. SIGN ME UP, America. I want in on ALL parts of the Star Spangled Banner."

If Thing #1 and Thing #2 would merge, we'd have a mega storm of positive attention on the very things we ALL hold in reverence. 

As for Thing #3, I got nothing. Maybe that one-man-circulating-storm will spin out to sea on its own. And I hope the man finds himself safely on an island. With no technology. Where he can't tweet up any more trouble. :)






P.S. I don't watch NFL football. I have a favorite team, but I do not know one player's name, the coach's name, or handy statistics like how many losses in a row they have suffered (spoiler: the team's city is in northern Ohio and their team name has a color in it). In short, I am not attached to the league or the sport in one teensiest of ways. I beg forgiveness for my clear lack of authority on that particular subject matter.

P.S.S. Actually. Expand that apology. I beg forgiveness for my lack of authority on the WHOLE subject. I'd say I've read the things there are to read about this subject matter 29% of the time. Which is an F. But I take a lot of showers, where all my ideas come. Which makes me an authority on hygiene. And ideas. 



Saturday, September 16, 2017

I'm not joking when I say I read these [nearly] every single morning...

Hi. I just typed up three pieces of paper I have folded in half and jammed into my morning devotional book (Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, by the way). Their corners are creased, the folds in the middle are so exaggerated and severe it wouldn't take much to have them rip in twos, in one page's case, the pencil is smudged to high heaven.

I prepared these pages in January, after [another] season of emotional unwellness. I got the idea from the life coach I was working with at the time (THANKS BETH!), and these pages have been a continued source of groundedness. Once I began getting my footing again in the Spring, Beth, well aware that journaling and blogging were therapeutic to me, suggested that I share them on my blog.

I wasn't quite ready then.

I am now.

I truly read these almost every morning. To myself. From myself. After all, who is a better authority over one's life than oneself? (Well, obviously, after G-O-D).

Just thought I'd put these pages out into the universe... Here goes!

Tiered Support Plan

TIER 1

Description:

*I am well.
*My inner life is peaceful.
*Shame and insecurity hardly present at all.
*Feel confident and competent.
*Thoughts are helpful and often creative.
*Sleeping well.
*Eating well.

Actions:

Spiritual/Emotional Support:  Read letters to self daily, morning quite time, mindfulness meditation 3x weekly, afternoon recharge time before boys home from school

Organizational Support: Weekly babysitting (preferrably one shift with me at home), weekly reflection/planning (fill to do list, meal plan, schedule out), Wait b4 rsvping to saying yes to any commitments, grocery shopping and cooking dinners

Body/Physical Support: Probably running, monthly massage

Social Support: Probably socializing just for fun, probably reaching out to support loved ones


TIER 2

Description:
*I am beginning to feel overwhelmed
*Creative thoughts down, worried thoughts up
*Scarcity mentality starting (not enough: time, energy, resources)
*No outwards or physical distresses, just stressed on inside
*Sleeping well
*Eating well

Actions:

Spiritual/Emotional Support:  ADD: Reread Happiness Trap and sharpen up on "defusing" and "expansion," mindfulness meditation upped to 5x week.

Organizational Support: ADD: Build in more unstructured down time (both alone and with kids/family), take the easy and simple route with EVERYthing (gift cards for bdays, order stuff online, accept more help with carpools, buy store bought meals or order out)

Body/Physical Support: Reduce pressure to exercise, add massages

Social Support: Say no to more invitations, say no to Scott's work events, pull back on giving to others, pull back on volunteer commitments, tell Scott and Lynette and Christy (they have this document)

TIER 3:

Description:
*Starting to feel insecure, incapable
*Comparing begins
*Episodic periods of heart racing during day
*Chaotic environments confuse and stress me
*Find myself ruminating and not in present moment
*Cant figure out how to use time
*Planning difficult, ADHD symptoms amplified
*Sleep might be interrupted and/hard to get to sleep
*Eating fine

Actions:

Spiritual/Emotional Support:  ADD: Consider adding therapist back in, use afternoon recharge time for an actual nap

Organizational Support: ADD: Babysitting up, housework support up, no cooking or planning meals at al, wear headphones with classical music while conducting hard thinking, take brain breaks often

Body/Physical Support: Consider the question: Should I increase Lexipro dose? Meet with doc to talk it over, stick to consistent bedtime, use sleeping aids to sleep (don't contemplate, just do it), massages now weekly, add essential oil regiment

Social Support: Open up to inner circle, but remember to keep private beyond that, get wrapped up in a good book or drama series

TIER 4

Description:
*Feel "worked up" either all day long or more than not
*Elevated heart rate and tense muscles
*Planning and knowing what to do with self in general feels impossible
*Cannot relax
*Sleep a mess
*Appetite low and often have to force to eat because of queasy belly
Actions:

Spiritual/Emotional Support: ADD: Plan a hotel night alone

Organizational Support: ADD: Consider inviting Lynette to visit for an extended period, keep the home machine running smoothly

Body/Physical Support: STOP drinking alcohol

Social Support:

Letter to self about ADHD (and life :) )

1/17/17/

Dear Tricia,

You have ADHD inactive. It is a real neurological disorder, and it means that -- while you are quite intelligent -- you are usually working harder to conduct executive functioning skills than others to get the same result. You don't always realize you are. But you are.

Therefore, taking care of yourself needs to remain a major priority. Taking care of yourself and your brain may look different for you than it does for others and that's OK. It might mean layers of support  and help. You don't observe others needing, and that's OK. What YOU need is what YOU need. The End.

Look at what giftedness comes from the way your mind is wired! You are a creative thinker. You are an idea-generator. You are fun and funny and spontaneous and refreshingly uninhibited. You crave being in connection with others and genuinely see the good and happy in all people.

Sure, your thoughts get tangled and you have trouble operating under pressure and you off on tangents and say wrong things and you cant figure out what to do first and you forget EVERYTHING and you waste tons of time. But Tricia, MY DEAR, this is all part of your charm :), and -- when life demands that you function at a higher/faster/more efficient rate -- REMEMBER: a) that life'll ease up again (this isn't forever!), b) that screw-ups aren't the end of the world (Remember Dori! There's always another way!), and c) to rely on your supports, perhaps even crank them up.

Most important of all... you are worthy and loved just exactly as you are. How wonderful!?!?! Your flaws are also gifts that allow you to see others and the world with compassion. You are humbled by them, and you fully embrace them the same way you know God does.

Dang -- now that I think about it -- YOU DA BOMB!

Love and joy always,
Tricia

Medication Manifesto

Medication Manifesto

1/24/17

Quick note to self:

Dear Tricia, At this moment, you are taking 10mgs of Lexipro every day. I grant you permission to tinker with your dose/regiment in the future (increase Lexipr, decrease Lexipro, go off Lexipro, add Ritalin, WHATEVER!) with the assistance of a trusted psychiatrist. Let us (the me now and the you when you read this) agree, though, that you will keep Lexipro in your medication routine through 2017. K?

* You have ADHD inactive, which is both very real and very inconsistent. While you likely always are experiencing some form of fatigue from the extra work you put in to "do life" as a result of your ADHD symptoms, the havoc it can reek when they are unexpectedly exacerbated is unpredictable. Lexipro smooths over these tough spots, so that you have the wherewithal to work your self care plan.

* Lexipro DOES NOT REPLACE the hard work of self care. You are a hard worker. You are a brave soul not afraid of doing tough stuff. Lexipro is not lazy. Lexipro is brave. Accepting help to support your disadvantages as an ADHDer is being real with your reality and being proactive. It isn't cheating just the same as a kid with a learning disability getting extra time on a test is not cheating.

* When you have solid wellbeing and are coasting in life at TIER 1, Lexipro isn't THE REASON for your cheerfulness. That's YOU. That's the natural ad authentic you. You ARE cheerful. You ARE fun. You are not acting as an imposter. You are simply clear and centered. The Lexipro isn't doing all the work. It is just helping to level the playing field so that your true self can present more fully.

* Lexipro may not be FOREVER. When life and circumstances around you change, "doing life" may feel different. Re-evaluate then. Now is now, and now is the time to accept and appreciate Lexipro. THANKS Lexipro! I am grateful!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Are y'all noticing what I'm noticing?

OK, I know I'm a bit of a greeting junkie... as in, I put a TON of emphasis on noticing when a person enters into a mix ("Hello, I'm so-and-so! What's your name? Here's what we were just talking about! Join in, so-in-so! Here's a chair for ya!") and when she exits it ("Oh, you've got to go? See ya soon, so-and-so. It's been a blast talking with you!"). I've done some inner investigation as to why it matters so much to me to recognize people's presence and I'm ashamed to say the reason is a teensy bit ego-centric in nature

I am the first born child in my nuclear family and the first born grandchild in a doting extended family. When I was growing up, everything I said and did involved attention from everyone around me. I was sorta the cat's meow. I'll be the first to admit... I may not have been spoiled with material belongings, but, DAMN, was I spoiled in an emotional sense.

As a result, I'm a bit of an attention whore.

At least I know it.

And so, to not be recognized...to not be named...to be "missed" altogether... this feels like such a tragedy to me.

I remember talking about this once with a fav-friend regarding her experience trying out churches. She was so OVER the loaves of bread and the raise-your-hand-if-this-is-your-first-time and the pew pads asking for her PHONE NUMBER and EMAIL ADDRESS. She said, "All I want to do is slip in and slip out, preferably the balcony where the fewest people notice me as possible."

This sounded like living hell to me.

So, I am fully aware that it's not everyone's bag to be named and claimed.

And yet...

Have we lost a little of the beauty and respect and personal of a formal introduction? Have we given up the familiar for an easy, bland anonymous?

Here's what I mean:

Our home has had some xfinity internet connection issues as of late. I've spoken to five customer service representatives in five separate conversations. Each time, the individual has in fact given their name, but has whizzed past it so fast that I NOT ONCE could catch it "Hello, thanks for calling Xfinity, the superior leader in cable, phone, and internet services. I'm [insert quick-paced, low volume i-want-to-get-past-this-part NAME of some kind]. Each time, my first words are, "Hello there. Tell me again what your name is?" Then, ON PURPOSE, I add the representative's name into to conversation any chance I get (Well, here's the thing, Elise. I'm just not sure I have the right wire, Elise. Elise, would you mind describing it to me again? Got it, Elise! Thanks, Elise!). I do this for two reasons: Because, a) as I mentioned, I believe it's important to recognize a person as a person and b) because you get freaking better service. When someone is treated like a person (instead of like an anonymous entity), she treats you back like a person (instead of like some distant person who's family and home and internet she could care less about.)

And don't even get me started about meeting technicians in my HOME. I've had two: STEVE and MICHAEL. Nice guys. They did a good job. Wanna hear my beef? They both walked in my space and led with, "You're having connection issues, huh? Show me your modem."

Nope.

Nope. Nope. Nope.

I was forced, each time, to thrust my hand out and introduce myself. I think I even begged, when not offered a name, "And you are???"

WHAT IS UP??

The last two servers I've had at restaurants have completely left out introducing themselves (Cheesecake Factory and The Rio). And here's the thing... these are not backwards or awkward or bad-mood or bitter-at-life personality-types. These are average-friendly folks who have forgotten the art of  common courtesy and who have decided the time it takes for introductions isn't worth it and who are apparently resigned to be referred to as "Waitress!" "Dude!" "Ummmm, hey Xfinity guy in my house!"

That's all. That's my beef.

Are y'all noticing what I'm noticing?




Tuesday, August 1, 2017

2017 Top Five Things I Learned the Hard Way This Summer

(For 2016's list, click here.)


Number Five

Floodgates are real.

I know this because we Arthur parents opened them. It was just a little crack at first. And now our home is fully flooded. By what? You might ask. I'll tell you: PETS.

It all started when my husband, in a VERY good mood at the time, spontaneously said "yes" when asked sorta-out-of-the-blue by our 4 yr old if we could have fish. Later, upon his wife's request for A GOOD REASON FOR THIS NONSENSE, Husband shared that it was a moment fueled by several previous days worth of "nos" and he wanted to be a Yes-Dad at least this once.

Well, shit.

Speaking of, WE HAVE LOTS OF IT IN OUR HOUSE NOW. Because fish turned into a birthday present hamster (Dumb... JUST DUMB... because GUESS WHAT? Every kid has a birthday. They don't GO AWAY once one kid has one. There's a next kid who has one. And a next after that...). And that birthday hamster has turned into the next kid's birthday bunny rabbit.

Just so much poop.

So, there you have it. Floodgates are real. So are Pandora's boxes. So are cans of worms. And they should ALL stay closed.

Number Four

There is nothing more irritating than the sound of a house fly. 

Last weekend, I put on my headphones and played classical music just so I wouldn't have to hear the gazillion little things buzzing around.
P.S. I am aware there is such a thing as a fly swatter and we have one somewhere...but I can always find the headphones faster than the swatter.
P.S.S. I know you're thinking their life span is so short and the problem should be short-lived, which would be the case if I didn't keep discovering littler ones... i'm pretty convinced those stinkers are having at-home births in MY HOUSE.
P.S.S.S. My kids never close the back door when they're in summer mode flittering around from the back yard to the house and back again, resulting in said scenario.
P.S.S.S.S. The next request for a birthday pet from children will result in harnessing a couple house flies and calling it good. Besides, flies have small poop, right?

Number Three

Ambitious daily checklists are for the birds. 

I was so proud of myself when I typed up what I thought to be THE PERFECT set of items to expect completed by each child each weekday of the summer. I talked it up! I toted the kids to Fed Ex and LAMINATED the list! I bought, tied a string to, and hung dry erase markers! This was gonna be GREAT!

It was not great. I think we got through...maybe... Day 4?

Here's the thing... the IDEA isn't bad... just that I got too ambitious with it. Ambitious and summer are words that do not belong in the same sentence (I'm aware that I just did it). At least not in this house.

They still use the list. And the dry erase markers. But we went to town, one-by-one crossing items off in permanent marker. All that's left is basically "get dressed" and "read." Do ya really need a list to keep record of THAT?


Number Two

Back to being ambitious... for two years running now I've had this notion that summer in its purest form is Andy-Griffith in nature... that kids ought to play with sticks and butterflies and baseballs from sunrise to sunset. It's why I don't sign them up for a bunch of activities. It's why, when they mutter, "I'm bored" I sing-song in return, "Bored is good! Bored is good!"

It's why I say in the beginning that the TV and screens are off-limits.

I went so far, last year, as to put a sheet over our family room television.

Of course, slowly, screens emerge more and more into their routines, in direct correlation - no doubt - with my resignation and laziness.

Let me paint a picture for you: Two weeks ago our internet connection became hit and miss until it pretty much gave out completely. Since apple tv (aka the internet) is the way we receive TV programming these days and since all other screens (computer, iPads) all run on the same juice, we were literally screen-free.

We nearly ripped each other's heads off.

So, Number Two is: Don't give up on screens completely. Unless you want to rip each other's heads off.

Number One

"Everybody: OUTSIDE" can never be overused.

Oh, how I love this phrase. It's a variation of "Everybody: Out of the kitchen." or "Everybody: Out of this room." But those two are more famously used in the winter months, because why - when they're wild and loud and playing catch with clementines and hockey-puck-ing remote controls with their barefeet - would you send them somewhere else still under your same roof unless you HAD to?

With all the summer lightness and warmthness, I basically send them outside ANYtime I'm annoyed. It doesn't even need to be the result of their behavior... I stubbed my toe? Everybody: OUTSIDE. I forgot to use up the ground beef that has gone bad in the fridge? Everybody: OUTSIDE. I got toothpaste on my shirt? Everybody: OUTSIDE.







Oh, and take the flies and all our new pet poop with ya.