Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Authenticity Journey Update - Real Truth for Better or Worse

I have watched a lot of  M*A*S*H. The show is one of the top five shows in history; well according to me. There's a line from an episode "The Sniper" where Hawkeye (Alan Alda) is in the mess tent hiding from a sniper with Frank (Larry Linville) and Radar (Gary Burghoff) and he's talking about heroes. **Now here's my disclaimer: I am no hero. I have been blessed to have known true heroes in my life and I am not one. And I'm not sure how much this quote applies to them.** However, there's a part of this quote that speaks to me right now.
"He's somebody who's tired enough and cold enough and hungry enough not to give a damn. I don't give a damn. ... " 
Now for me this speaks to why I'm writing today. I've been in perpetual health state of awfulness for two months. Pain, nausea, fatigue, migraines, lightheaded, can't keep any kind of nutrition in me, and all other forms of stomach awful symptoms. And one would think about over ten years of having severe Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and acid reflux (GERD) that what my doctors and I have planned out for flare ups and a protocol to manage my symptoms would be working and I could handle this most recent bout.

Nope, even a little bit, not even at all. That's how bad it's gotten. Short of having my gallbladder removed I have pushed through my IBS symptoms time and time again to accomplish my goals or do my job. I took two finals in high school while being noticeably sick with the flu and IBS; true I did sleep for like twelve hours when I got home but I still finished those tests. My special gift in life is to hid and bury down deep whatever's hurting to accomplish whatever is in front of me. To a fault, that's what I'm good at.

I can't work. I can't stay out of bed for longer than five hours at a time. I'm permanently wearing a path between my bed, bathroom, and kitchen. I'm surviving on plain noodles, protein bars, peanut butter crackers, and Gatorade. I'm so far past done with this stuff. I'm so tired and so tired of being tired.

So why am I sharing all this probably-too-much-information with the internet. Knowing that there are so many others suffering so much worse than me. Because ... Maybe it will help someone out there who's in the midst of their own battle to know they're not alone. And less noble reasoning maybe it'll help me by sharing this stuff. Maybe it will do some good getting it out of my head at least since it won't leave my body.

Or maybe it's as simple as I'm "tired enough and cold enough ... not to give a damn" who knows. How's that for authenticity? Guess I just got real REAL.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Importance of Being Seen

In my family growing we were always late; always. Maybe it had something to do with 4 people trying to use one bathroom, two kids with too many different activities but a lot of the time it was because of my dad. My dad had this amazing yet annoying ability to make friends or find someone he knew or a squirrel looking like it needed a friend. 

Undoubtedly we would start to leave somewhere and halfway to the door; I turn around my dad is talking to someone almost completely clueless of me and totally clueless that we were about to leave or the time. Cut to thirty minutes later, I’m sitting on the floor, in the grass, on the car twiddling my thumbs when he finally finishes and says, “Let’s go.” Really let’s go, dude I’ve been saying that for thirty minutes or eventually I learned not to say it at all just find a comfy-ish spot and my book (we’d learned to always have one handy) and wait until he was done.
It was a running joke with people who knew my dad or my family; “you have to tell him we need to be there at 5” for something that started at 5:30 and had us coming in the door at 5:40. A thirty minute cushion or more depending on the event. 

After he died his ability to talk to anyone anything really was the main story I heard about or more like the ghost that followed me around my hometown. I hated it at first: I missed him so much I couldn’t breathe but all anyone wanted to talk about when they saw me or heard my last name was him. And I’ve always struggled with figuring out who I am separate from who my family is. But my dad’s gift for listening is a memory of him that has just endured. 

One time I finally asked him why he knew so many people or why couldn’t he just duck like the rest of us. And he looked at me and said, “Sometimes people just need five minutes of your time.” Cue of my snarky response but he would continue, “Five minutes where you look them in the eye and really listen to what they have to say, you don’t think of what you’ll say next or where you have to be or what groceries you need. You focus on the person and what they are telling you.” And suddenly I had no snark. I noticed something though; after my stubborn self got out of the way. 

Sometimes it was easy talking about the Redskins or dropping in the bank and sometimes I noticed my dad was checking in on a sick relative or someone who was having a bad day or someone who just needed someone to see them. 

It’s taken me a lot of years but I finally get it. My dad was showing me and everyone the importance of being seen and being valued. Of someone coming to you, looking you in the eyes and saying “I see you and you matter. So I’m going to take these five minutes to make sure you feel that.” 

For someone who struggles with anxiety, health issues, and past scars feeling seen means EVERYTHING. I start tearing up everytime that’s happened to me lately. I’m not sure why but I know it’s something between “what do I do with this” and “holy cow they aren’t running away from me and my stuff.” And maybe it’s a sign from my dad that today’s going to be okay; his friendship magic wore off on me too. And maybe that was his bigger point: showing his daughters and community that a little act of kindness, five minutes out of your day can truly change someone’s day. 

And maybe if we all tried that every once and awhile, we’d come together more than we fall apart and maybe we all would get a chance to heal and know that hope really is still here.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Veteran’s Day: Look for the Helpers

Today is Veteran’s Day and so many have sacrificed so much abroad and at home for all of us to have the lives and freedoms we have today. It just breaks my heart that some of us use that freedom of speech to speak hate instead of support and love. 

My father, grandfather, and great-grandfather served in the military and I’m so grateful for all they did. My parents also raised me to remember all I have been blessed with, to use my blessings to shine a light and help those in need. 

How about this: every time you see something negative or divisive we push this forward or another positive message forward. 

#woolseyfire #authenticityjourney #californiawildfires #lafdheroes 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Tuesday Tune - Election Night Soapbox

I don’t know why but this quote just speaks to me today. 

BTW - I write honestly about my life here because at the end of the day I don’t want there to be any misunderstanding about my life and how I experienced it. My journey isn’t anyone else’s. 

That’s why I vote too. I don’t think a bunch of old white men should have the power to say what my rights are (I’ve read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights), how I take care of my own physical, mental, and emotional health, and how I choose to share my story with others. You don’t have to like me or agree with me but you do have respect my rights as a human being and an American citizen. I’m protected by the Constitution and Bill of Rights just like you. 

And I know I sound angry but I’m not and honestly this whole #authenticityjourney is about being real and maybe showing someone out there that they aren’t alone. And isn’t that what we all want to have and want our country to stand for. That we might not get along, we may bicker and disagree most of the time but at the end of the day we come together as a nation and as communities to help one another in times of need, protect each other, and maybe leave the place a little better than how we found it. 

I voted today as a part of a process, country, and world that is far from perfect. But hopefully in the small and large steps we take each day, maybe it’ll all be a little better tomorrow. 

#iamavoter #vote #tired #bettertomorrow #offmysoapboxnow