Yet another weird ad for my novels

There’s positive things about sexual dry streaks:  you don’t have to clean, you can fart all you want, and you can let your boosh grow into an unkempt jungle.  Speaking of which…I lift up my blanket and examine the thicket.  As long as there aren’t any bitey little bugs—

A reptilian head pokes out, glances cagily around, and screams, “Ruh-KAWK!” before darting back into the cheesy forest.

What the fuck?  I part the wilds, searching for intruders.  I’ve heard of crabs, but DICK LIZARDS???  I don’t see anything, so I leap out of bed, grab a magnifying glass, and inspect my junk. 

Whoa—this is amazing!  My nuts have been colonized by prehistoric fauna!  T-rexes, brachiosaurs, pterodactyls…

I’m gonna leave them be and see comes of it.

 

MONTHS LATER, AFTER A MINI-CIVILIZATION HAS FLOURISHED ON MY COCK AND MY BALLS…

 

A booted foot kicks in the door, followed by a stream of gun-toting operators. 

“Hey!” I yell.  “Just what the hell do you think you’re doing?”

The lead guy, a bloodless goon who resembles Agent Smith, strides up to me and flashes a badge.  “Your pubes has been annexed by the federal government.”

“What?” I sputter.  “They’re MY pubes, fuckface!  You don’t get a say in—”

Agent Smith turns to the side.  “Hawkins, prep for reduction.”  One of his minions unsnaps a briefcase and powers up a hologram-ringed platform.  “We’re going to make contact,” he informs me.  “Our team will sample flora and fauna, and attempt to liaise with the local authorities.”  He signals the operators, four of whom surround me and sight in on my noggin.  “Interfere with our op, and these men will liquidate you.”

Hawkins says, “We’re ready, sir.” 

The agent nods, cuing the rest of his goons to file onto the platform.  One by one, they shrink down into itty bitty specks.  Hawkins collects them on a petri dish, shakes them onto my nuts, then types a command onto the platform’s interface, bringing up an image of the shrunken team.

“Jesus Christ.”  A soldier curls his lip in outright disgust.  “Smells like a hunk of rotten limburger.”

“Can it, Johnson,” the squad leader snaps.  “Form up and start walking.”

They begin patrolling toward my wiener.  It’s clear they’re jumpy; their posture is hunched and they keep sighting in, as if they’re afraid something is gonna pounce.  Suddenly, the point man shoots up a hand.  Everyone takes a knee and faces outboard. 

The squad leader shuffles to the front of the column.  “What is it, Miller?” he whispers.

“I don’t know,” the point man whispers back.  “I thought I saw—”

Someone in the middle yells, “Holy fucking SHIT!” and cuts loose with his rifle.  A flurry of shouts erupt from the speakers:  “Contact left!  Contact right!  Game over, man—game fucking over!  Mary mother of God, they’re fucking EVERYWHERE—” accompanied by the lively chatter of 5.56.  My guards look back and forth between my futon and the hologram.  “We need to get in there!” the nearest one yells.  “We need to—”

The hologram fritzes, resolving into an image of a cheese-formed humanoid, then it lapses into a mess of snowy static.

Agent Smith throws on a vest and racks the slide on his pistol, checking to ensure there’s a round in the chamber.  “We’re going in.  Hawkins, stay enlarged and run the holo.”

Seconds later, Smith and his guys are on my balls, standing above the remains of their decimated team.  “God DAMMIT!” Smith hisses.  “This is a total and utter clusterfu—”

He’s cut off by shouts, screams and gunfire.  The holo displays another cheese-person; it’s holding Smith by the hair, brandishing his bloody face for the miniaturized camera.

“Do not come back.  Do not attempt rescue.  This man is our slave.” 

The holo goes dark.

“Fuck!” I scream.  “FUCK!”  I turn to Hawkins.  “What do we do?”

“I’m just a tech!” he mewls.  “I don’t know!”

Fuck it.  No options left.  So I open my eReader to a Kent Wayne novel, activating its reality distortion powers.  Magic flash.

“Someone call fer me?”  Chuck Norris steps through the door, putting his fists on his hips.  He’s clad head to toe in eighties-tight denim:  jeans and a vest with cut-off sleeves. 

Hawkins explains the situation in a trembly voice.  Chuck nods and says, “Shrink me down, four-eyes!  Put me on his goddamn pecker!”

Hawkins grabs his hair with both hands.  “Are you INSANE?  I just told you that—”

Chuck throws a roundhouse kick, stopping short of the scientist’s face.  Despite the fact that he pulled the kick, it’s so damn strong that the wind from its passage sends Hawkins stumbling.  “Spared yer life, nancy-boy!  Now put me on that hog!  Ain’t no problem that karate can’t solve!”  (he pronounces it super American:  kuh-RATty).  Chuck gives me a knowing look.  “Yer people taught me that.”

My brow wrinkles in puzzlement.  “ ‘My people?’  Korean-Americans?”

“You know what I mean!” he snaps.  “Stop trynna mess with my damn intellectual!” 

“Uh…” I raise a half-bent hand.  “You got anything besides karate?  Maybe some grappling, like jiu-jitsu or wrestling?”

“That’s heathen talk—ain’t no reason for a man to lay on top of another man’s body!  All you need is a goddamn roundhouse!”  He starts hopping in place, throwing roundhouse kicks, accompanying each one with a violent exclamation:  “Hyah!  Hyah!  Fuck your mother in the ass!  Then in the mouth!”

Me and Hawkins exchange a look, followed by a what-the-hell shrug.  Might as well.

Minutes later, Chuck is walking through my forest of pubes.  Howls erupt all around him, but he remains unfazed.  He postures sideways in an eighties-martial arts stance—left hand close and high, right hand out and low—and screams, “Come and get some, ya filthy cheese-people!”

Much to my astonishment, Chuck mows through the legion of cheese-anoids, blasting them apart with a stunning variety of flying kicks.  Splits-kicks, tornado kicks, triple-twist roundhouses…holy fuck, this guy is a one-man army!

A short while later, Chuck stares in the camera, an unconscious Agent Smith draped onto his shoulder.  “Get me outta here, you science-brained pussy!  I’m thirstin’ for a cold one!”

After Chuck is enlarged, he drops Smith and dusts off his hands.  “Karate saves the day!”  He shoots me a pistol-finger.  “You and yer people are a shitfire godsend!”

I tilt my head in a puzzled squint.  “Um…thanks?”

He puts his fists on his hips, giving me and Hawkins a steely-eyed once-over.  “How ’bout we down a couple brews, then do a buncha bicep curls while staring at our nekkid glistening bodies in a full-length mirror?”

We shake our heads, muttering, “No thanks,” and, “Maybe next time.”

Chuck snorts in derision.  “Figures!  Pair a’ communist pussies, that’s what you are!”  He runs out the door, humming an out-of-tune rendition of the A-team score:  “”DAH de-dah-daah, dah dah DAAAH…”

Me and Hawkins exchange another glance, wordlessly communicating the exact same thing:

Weirdest day of my fucking life.

 

Need to rescue soldiers from your cheese-infested pubes?  Never fear!  Buy my books and summon Chuck Norris!

Get A Door into Evermoor here: A Door into Evermoor. Get Kor’Thank here:  Kor’Thank:  Barbarian Valley Girl.  Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here:  Vol. 1 on Kindle.  Vol. 2 on Kindle here:  Vol.2 on Kindle  Vol. 3 on Kindle here:  Vol. 3 on Kindle  Vol.4 on Kindle here:  Vol. 4 on Kindle  Echo Omnibus here:  Echo Omnibus  Echo Vol. 1 & 2 Combined Edition here:  Combined Edition  Musings, Volume 1 is available here:  Musings, Volume 1  Here’s the miscellaneous gear that I use to try and become an uber-human:  Optimization!  🙂 🙂 😀

Hold on!  I just got approved to be an Amazon affiliate!  If you’re going to buy ANY product from Amazon, and you’d like to support my efforts for absolutely free, then simply click on one of the Echo links I’ve provided—they’ll send you to Echo’s Amazon page—and THEN buy whatever product you wish.  Amazon gives me a small referral fee each time this happens!  In this manner you can support my books, musings, zany ads, or my adventures along the noble path known as The Way of The Man Child WITHOUT spending any more money than you were already going to!  Should you do this, I vow to send you a silent blessing, causing your genitals to adopt the optimum size, shape, smell, and death-ray attachment of choice that paralyzes your enemies with fear and envy!  Entire worlds will bow before your nether parts!  😲💪 😜  #Kindle #KindleUnlimited #WritingCommuni

369 thoughts on “Yet another weird ad for my novels

  1. 🤣🤣 It’s a really good thing I am waiting by myself in this music therapy lobby, I’d hate to have to explain to somebody why I was laughing so hard.

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      • Thank you!! 😊 In another life, I’d try and be a comedian, but it’s kind of like being a pro chef–you have to go ALL IN, bombing (get little to no laughs) for close to a decade before you have a chance at being considered proficient. Also, I’m not nearly as funny in person, although when I focused on it in my earlier years, I noticed I could consistently make people laugh. It’s definitely a skill I can improve at, but I’m not naturally a fun goofy guy unless it’s with doggos. 😄

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      • You’re welcome 😊 No worries, my daughter assured me once that she’s not taking away my lame card and giving me back my cool card until I’m at least 70…so…🤷‍♀️ I only encounter you online, so I still vote you are funny, and however you are in your private life is also who you are and that is okay!!!

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      • Haha! I always thought I wouldn’t do well if I had kids and they got to that phase…I’d probably overcompensate and be the dorky dad that tried to be cool and ended up embarrassing them. 😅

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      • At least, that is what parenting has taught me… You just can’t focus on that as part of your happiness in being a parent I have found.

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    • So…. Basically what you’re saying here is your decision not to have children was ultimately a function of your survival instinct 🤔 if a parent’s child feels embarrassed, they never think it’s funny and you, my dude, could have become a headline on the evening news and in the weekend obits…

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      • Undoubtedly safer, that’s for sure 😂 Kids aren’t for everyone, I’ve definitely sacrificed some things for mine that some people wouldn’t want to sacrifice, but being their mom has been a wonderful part of my life nonetheless.

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      • Especially the parents who had children because it was given as a requirement for faithfulness in their religion, and especially the ones who wake up one day not believing the tenants of that religion anymore. They then might want freedoms they can never really have again and resent everyone they feel brought them to that point in their lives. I decided I wanted kids when I was 7, and I was raised in an atheist home, so… it’s just something I’ve always known about me.

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      • Interesting! I don’t think I could even fathom the idea of having kids when I was seven. I think at that point, I was salty about going to school, lol! I remember early on, though, that I really didn’t want to work a regular job, and looking back on it, I didn’t want to work for anyone at all. Self-fulfilling prophecies…🤷‍♂️

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      • My intensity level has always been a weeeee bit on the high side. Even as a child. I know the types of conversations this can feed into, but people described me often as a mini-adult. Except I wasn’t. I might have been able to do some things at a certain level, and I might have been thinking about some things in ways that are less typical at that age, but I was still a child. When people think you are a mini-adult they sometimes cross boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed with a kiddo.

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      • I was also told I acted old for my age, but the idea of adults wanting to hang out with kids is still beyond me, because I really have no desire to hang around any kids myself. Outside of sinister stuff, it still seems weird to me because there might be a watered-down version of a misguided parent’s desire to shape and mold a kid in order to vicariously live out the adult’s desire. A lot of times, that’s the vibe I got.

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      • 😂well, it’s your life, you can hang out with whoever you please. I would have to play mind-reader to put myself in the position of everyone who had a conversation with me, but in general, when I was younger, I would say it was the novelty that drew them in. An interesting show. That effect doesn’t last long before people develop other feelings and concerns… As a child, while I had friends my own age, I also sought to have conversations with people who could understand how I was thinking because sometimes we all need that, and generally that required someone much older than me when I was younger. 🤷‍♀️

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      • I mean, I barely hang out with the people I like, so I’m sure I wouldn’t be good around kids for awhile unless there were dogs around. 😂 I think I had a similar issue as you when I was a kid. I was always reading adult fiction. I remember telling people in elementary school I wanted to be a “quantum mechanic.” I didn’t even know what that was, but I was interested in the philosophical implications of advanced physics. 😅

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      • At 46, I am ever aware that I am rapidly approaching the point of becoming fertilizer, so if it isn’t already irrelevant whatever fascinated people about me back then or even now, it certainly someday soon shall be, so I would say it hardly matters 🤷‍♀️ my earliest memory is of me looking through the slats on my crib before my vision sharpened at the light coming into the window and everything was still mostly light and dark. But in that memory, the essence of everything I associate with as being me is still there. I think the key to understanding children is to realize that the seed of everything they can become is already within them, so treat them like the best of what they are capable of and show the same amount of respect for them you will when they are adults, even when you have to correct them.

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      • Good philosophy! I didn’t come to something similar until much later in life, ironically in the military. I’d tried being too nice, too harsh, and then someone bought it to my attention that if you lay out the rules with subordinates, everyone agrees to them, then any given person is willing to pay the price once they break them. If there’s a bad outcome the rules don’t cover, recraft the rules and try again. Pretty much the verbal equivalent of signing a contract, I guess. No one’s being arbitrarily punished or rewarded, everyone knows what’s happening and for what reason and they’ve already agreed to it.

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      • Of course, I feel it’s important to mention a huge caveat: because they are their own people, none of that guarantees that they are going to like, love, or even respect you in return. Even if you gave birth to them…

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      • Yeah that’s pretty much why I won’t have em. Can’t just bail out of having a kid. Plus every dog I’d gotten, my ex had been tempted to return a couple weeks in, when the reality sets in that puppies may be cute but they’re a ton of work.

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      • I agree that being clear and consistent is important with children, but it’s easy to mess up on that one. Sometimes I’ll have a thought that is so super clear to me and I initially fail to realize I have inadequately explained it to those around me because of how clear it was to me 😳 And, sounds like you have made some very wise realizations about yourself! Raising children isn’t for everyone…

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      • Definitely. I like to take risks and work hard for longshot dreams, and I also have a very strong obsessive aspect which naturally translates to routine and discipline. Honestly, I don’t think my ways of approaching things are suitable for most adults, much less children.

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      • We all have our things that could make us difficult to live with for another. And even when you think something is in the ashes with another person it can flame up in a cycle of rebirth.

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      • For me personally, if I do an internal audit and determine that triggering such rebirth aligns with an outcome that matters to me, I just consider it to be part of going after what I want. If I want something, I go after it. Of course, when you’re dealing with people there is always an option for crash and burn, because it takes more than me and what I want to make something work… I just tried to look to the heart of the matter, determine what is broken, and see if there is a way to heal or fix it… that is just my style though.

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      • That’s a good way to go about it! I used to have a bit of a savior complex that landed me in situations where I realized I was just butting in or overcompensating, though, so I usually just leave people be unless I have a nagging urge to interact with them, or, of course, they’re active in asking me for help.

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  2. Thanks! 🙂 So, here’s the thing. Getting involved in other people’s relationships…unless they invite you into that, yeah…life has taught me there’s a high probability that’s going to go bad. In my own relationships, I determine the degree of what I am willing to give in order to maintain something, so…ultimately whatever outcome happens, some of that comes back to me in that respect. Life brings many challenges to us all. I, as a woman who now has Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and POTS have certainly put my own mate in a position to have to alter some of what they want as there are very real impacts to my health. There is and should be I think some sort of give in the relationship…because if one or both sides are only taking, well, that’s not healthy for anybody. But life changes people, and I don’t necessarily feel that it’s overcompensating for me personally to make adjustments if life brings a challenge to someone that makes things harder me. When I love someone, I don’t want to be a fairweather lover. Of course, I think it also depends on the nature of the challenge…we all have our lines in the sand I think.

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    • There’s definitely a line. Which is why I don’t think relationships shouldn’t be framed in terms of success and failure; if someone doesn’t like the other for a consistently long period of time, then why not separate and be happier for it? Kids make things trickier, but I guess that’s where opening the relationship can become useful, although my friend who’s into that stuff says there’s a LOT of stigma that falls on people who do that. I theorize because relationships are seen in a possessive sense; once someone lets their possession become someone else’s, they are seen as weak and unworthy of having that relationship. Never really made sense to me.

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      • Well…that could be a very long conversation. So, yes, kids can make things trickier…they can also make open relationships trickier for couples who decide to go that route. I think those are individual matters. So, I think there’s stigma for a lot of things that there shouldn’t be. Our concept of marriage and relationships is often very territorial in this society, and heavily influenced by Judeo-Christian values. You’re talking to someone with a very different moral compass on that, my heart doesn’t have a contained concept of love. But, I am also capable of authentic monogamy if it matters to my mate. So…I think those are matters for the couple to decide. I think opening a marriage isn’t always an easy solution, if communication is a challenge before that happens, doing so will become a time bomb, because the communication and the trust need to be immaculate I think for that to work.

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      • Yeah, I agree. I dunno why, but me and my brother are weird in that regard. I remember my ex asking what I’d feel if she was with someone else, and I told her just don’t leave any physical traces where I have to smell someone’s socks or see their underwear around. Then my brother actually got cheated on with a serious girlfriend, who confessed while crying, and he shrugged it off and didn’t see what the big deal was, which pissed her off. I feel like I’d react the same way because of the way we both view relationships, but I don’t know. My thing is they’re supposed to bring you pleasure and fulfillment, so I don’t really see a point to structuring them where someone’s always infringing on your peace and space. Obligation is one thing, and obviously there needs to be some experimentation early on to see if live-in monogamy is the way for someone to go, but other than that, I feel like people are just asking for trouble if they know it’s not their thing.

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      • For me, I think life often brings us situations that aren’t pleasurable…even in relationships. And it is about the balance of the good and the bad. Because there will be bad of some kind…in every situation. It is about determining what are my boundaries, how much am I willing to invest, how much do I want to see invested in me. I don’t view my relationships as being something that should only benefit me. I want to see that my mate is also benefited.
        And I would say for me, my personal view of love is comfortable having multiple sustained romantic relationships at the same time (though obviously I can and do also abide by and respect the boundaries of my partner, who does not have that same comfort level). So, multiple someone else’s socks and underwear really wouldn’t be triggering for me, lol. I think for many people there are insecurities. People want to be seen as *the* choice, and especially for women, historically in this culture and many others they have been viewed as property for men, and double standards were employed as to what was seen as acceptable. Boys will be boys and can be fucking whoever they want even if married…but if the woman does it, well, she’s a whore and we need to shame her and destroy her ability to be socially viable and respectably employed. And to a certain extent, even in our modern society there is that bias where punitive social consequences aren’t meted out the same to both genders.

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      • Yeah, I agree. From the outside looking in, I was always puzzled by it, and even more puzzled by responses whenever I questioned convention. I feel like I was born a couple centuries too early–it still boggles my mind that people are still alive who couldn’t get interracially married or that same-sex marriage is a hot button issue. I want to be born when the idea of controversy around that stuff is ancient, dammit. But I have hope–progress seems to be rocky, but overall trending in a good direction.

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      • Well, I am not quite so sanguine about the state of progress. The progress we perceive now can be a fragile thing, easily popped like a bubble because of a well-played chess-like game over power. But, I am a woman and I am bi, so perhaps I have a different view of how this looks. I have already seen one area of progress vanish for women and I have begun to see story after story of other women who are now suffering because of it. And I have already noticed the chatter for those who want to roll back the laws which granted marriage equality and contraception access. The logic, as always, is Cherry picked. If you look at how Clarence Thomas, for example, wants to apply the logic with which ROE V. Wade was struck down, he wants to use it to strike down every other law that was based on the same reasoning as roe v Wade… Except for interracial marriage protections, something he personally benefits from.

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      • It’s definitely fragile and reversible, but I guess history to me seems like things are getting better over time, even though there are setbacks. It’s not much comfort in the moment, because it usually takes a generation of people for things to change, but I try and be foolishly optimistic. Although maybe I’m a hypocrite in that regard, because a secondary reason for me not having kids for me is I’d rather not hand off environmental problems to them. I’m glad I’m going to die before that’s projected to become an existential threat.

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      • Well, color me a touch more cynical I guess…it seems to me that perhaps we just reframe some of our uglier tendencies in ways that make them seem more palatable. Here in the great state of Arizona, a prison official was recently talking about how communities here would collapse without the free or ultra cheap pennies on the hour (depending on the type of work detail) labor of prison inmates. Most people don’t really think about that, I mean those are criminals in there right? But if you think about how many people with mental illness or developmental disabilities are in there, or if you examine what some of the sentences are for some of the drug convictions just for possession… Not for committing a crime while being on the drug, but just possession for your own personal use. Sure, some crimes definitely justify a prison sentence, but seems like some of our laws unnecessarily favor having a large prison population… Which we then exploit for free labor. And once they have been convicted, they have trouble getting legitimate work that could support them and often end up on the cycle that puts them back in prison. As I said, a wee bit more cynical… When I find things to be optimistic about, sometimes it is not the nature of my fellow humans, who are often bent towards greed and self-destruction.

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      • Humans and society can definitely be disappointing. I don’t think it’s a bad thing that you look elsewhere for optimism; I think it’s pretty astute that you know it’s not your thing and you have to look in another direction instead of forcing it. No judgment, but I do sense irony here, in that I’m adamantly unwilling to engage in the one act that requires a measure of faith in humanity and the future (having a kid), but you’ve done it multiple times. Like I said, no judgment. If I had a story involving parenting, I’d definitely set that up as a juxtaposition. Us authors love irony…😅

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      • For example, those shrooms you like? Possession of those in Arizona is a felony. Non-addictive, users aren’t really harming anybody else while under the influence, and at this point known to have positive mental health benefits that are starting to reach mainstream media awareness…but in this state, it’ll land you in jail dude, with a spot on the prison workforce.

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      • That’s true, but in the last three years they’ve been decriminalized in seven cities and the entire state of Oregon. I’m not trying to rack up points to boost an argument one way or the other, but I will say that I’d rather not keep score, because there’s always ways to make more pros and cons. I’d rather focus on being positive in the moment. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’ve come to believe positivity (or at least choosing to focus in that direction) is a choice, evidenced by the times I’ve been miserable in “great” circumstances, and happy in “bad” ones. Also, my friends who got into conspiracies clearly have a negative bent–whenever something positive happens, they say something along the lines of, “Yeah, but how long until the other shoe drops?” Or “Don’t jinx it! It could still turn bad at any second!” Or, “Yeah it outwardly looks good, but maybe the evil powers that be planned it this way to get us to let down our guard.” Not only do I think that’s detrimental for health, but it closes my mind to the next positive opportunity, because I’m too busy looking over my shoulder or railing against injustice. That’s just my view, though. I think everyone has the right to focus on being positive or negative; I don’t think that’s a civil or lawful right either. I think it’s an existential right that can only be determined by that specific individual and no one and nothing else.

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  3. 😂 I don’t imagine I could begin to make myself make sense to another person… I am as much a jumble of contradictions as anyone else can be 😂 But, I think my choice about children really boiled down to the fact that I love to nurture and care for others and I wanted to be a safe place -at least for someone- who was going to be born onto this planet. I cannot be a safe place for everyone, nobody can.
    I don’t subscribe to conspiracy theories 🤷‍♀️ and, I think the shrooms should be decriminalized everywhere. I don’t do them personally (mother Earth has been too busy trying to kill me for the last 46 years for me to even be comfortable trying it in case it landed me in the ER with an allergic reaction), it’s simply that I don’t view it as a substance that warrants being criminalized.

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    • I think they should be legal as well (obviously). It’s kind of cool to see…I feel like they’re going through the same thing weed did 10-20 years ago. That’s great about the kids! Not to get into doom porn, but I feel like I would be obsessing over environmental problems if I had a kid. In my heart of hearts, though, I think we’ll find a way to mitigate those problems. I’ve seen cool innovations that clean up plastic in the pacific ocean, and in my HEART of heart of hearts, I’m convinced aliens will step in with super-advanced tech if we’re really about to shit the bed. 😅

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    • My husband thinks the aliens are waiting for us to kill ourselves off with our own greed and lack of self-preservation (ok, he says stupidity)…
      And then they are going to step in and take over the planet. 🤔 I do suppose that’s a more efficient and cost-effective way of handling things then combat, but it does allow us to create a lot of collateral damage to the planet and coexisting species in the process. Well, that particular theory of his is definitely above my pay grade when it comes to things I should be worrying about 🤷‍♀️ But yes, it is concerning what we are doing to the environment. When I was younger and I watched how much changed to try and heal the holes around the ozone, I didn’t really imagine people would take it this far before they chose to make changes…. And then I remember places like Easter Island and I think my husband has a point 😅

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      • I remember the ozone hole. I remember thinking we were all going to be fried. I guess that may still happen, only we might get roasted instead of zapped. I don’t think long-term survivability is an issue in that there will be many species that adapt if that happens, including humans, but we can really screw up things in the short term and do a lot of damage to our civilization. But I’m still convinced aliens might be the answer. I love hearing stories about how sightings of their craft defy known physics, and how they supposedly shut down nuclear missile defenses a couple times. It reminds me that there’s a bunch of stuff we haven’t yet learned, and to ease off the negativity because I have limited knowledge about how everything works.

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      • Yeah, I think you are right there are a great many things we do not know. I do not spend time thinking about life forms from other planets and what their intentions are because my hear and now needs dominate everything I am doing mentally and physically. The past few weeks have been pretty happy ones for me, so I’d rather not spend too much time thinking about the fact that we are on a self-destructive path as a species, though of course it merits thought. I am in circumstances where it is very difficult for me to do anything that could even begin to be relevant to such a massive problem. Of course, as individuals we could all choose to do things and the cumulative of that would be enough. But probably far too many people are stuck in survival mode….and people in survival mode don’t have time to spare thinking about how to save the environment, they’re too busy trying to save themselves in the here and now. We shall all see what happens though, I suppose…take good care of yourself! 🙂

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      • I actually think in your circumstance, it doesn’t merit thought and you’re doing the right thing. Keep that happiness going–not only will it provide you with energy and perspective, which will lead to better opportunities and the drive to take advantage of them, but as I said before, I think it’s our reason for being! 😊

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      • Hmmm… Well, I think things that could impact one’s survivability always merit thought. And some of what is going to come could impact where we end up needing to live, so… Filtering around somewhere in the back of the brain it will remain, despite my limited capacity to impact anything other than what pertains to me and mine. And, I plan on doing everything I can to keep that happiness thing going 😌

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      • I think maybe sometimes it does, if it feels sensible and natural and you’re guided into that arena. But if not, I think thinking too much about surviving can defeat the purpose of life, which in my opinion is to enjoy each moment as much as I can. It’s why I can’t be a prepper. 😅

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      • Dude, I can’t be a prepper either…at least based on my limited exposure it involves too much catastrophizing, more than I mentally want to do. Failure to plan and prepare some though can lead to a great deal of unhappiness in the moment, so there is a fine line.

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      • I agree, though, it’s not as fine a line for me, I think. I don’t have people relying on me, and I’ve become better at making my peace with death (I’m not one of those people who says they’re ready to die and imply that means I’m ready to die from here on out; sometimes I’m ready, sometimes I’m not).

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      • For example, albeit on a significantly less life-altering kind of scale, I know what time of year it is and I still walked out the door yesterday without any skin so soft mosquito deflecting lotion… Just wasn’t thinking about it and I should have been. And now I have a bite that is swollen to the size of a 50 cent piece on the inside of my right thigh… And that is after the oral antihistamines 😱

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      • I see your point, but since I believe my purpose is to enjoy life to the fullest, I’d say that it’s kind of a gut feeling call as to what to do in that kind of a circumstance. Is always ensuring I’m wearing lotion an easy, no-stress habit? Or is it a nagging burden I always have to focus on that becomes more annoying than getting bitten? I’ve sucked the joy out of my life before with paralysis through analysis, and also realized that a lot of the time things don’t turn out the way I want them to anyway, despite stressing out over the planning. There’s a sweet spot where planning enhances my life, but it can’t be overdone and it has to be paired with intuition and being connected to the present moment for me. Sometimes I’m meant to get bitten. 😊

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  4. Ok, I’m totally going to try and sound coherent, but I have Emily showing up here for tea any second now, then I have to rush across town, somewhere in there I need to finish my smoothie and my decaf coffee and get my makeup on-squeak! Ok, so I do have people who rely on me, and it is every present in my mind that Tony is not likely to ever be fully independent. I know I could die at any minute now, but I am hoping to make it a few decades more so that I can continue to be his safe space. So…in terms of the mosquitoes, dude. That I only got one bite was lucky…nothing is more motivating than the thought of having several hives that size to make one put on lotion. But I usually favor prettier smelling stuff, so when it’s not mosquito season…sigh. So, I kind of have to switch my habits back and forth. And not everybody gets a chance to be in circumstances where happiness is possible for them. I am blessed that I am. Take good care of yourself, Em is here and I need to go…

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    • I phrase things differently (obviously) but I’m pretty sure it’s the same as what you’re saying, maybe a few degrees different. Our lives, as you implied, seems to be objectively meaningless (even though science and evidence has light years to go before they can reach true objectivity, and that may not be a possibility). Since that’s the case, we make our own meaning, and a personal guideline of “whatever works,” is a valid way to go about it. Also, didn’t you say a while ago you were in the Southwest? I thought with the dry heat, there wouldn’t be mosquitos…guess I was wrong. I’ve lived in the Midwest and DC metro area, which, when it gets hot and humid, they come at you like a zerg-swarm. I remember running outside for a few seconds at my friend’s house to grab a toy in his yard, and you could feel hordes of bodies and bites in just a few seconds. 😅

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  5. And, while I’m chucking down the carbs, I’m going to add that I agree being connected to the present moment is important, and I do involve my intuition in my decision making process. But, I am also a planner (not a prepper). Planning is something that helps my mind stay calmer in the face of total shit circumstances…it gives me hope, because it allows me to identify what I can control, to what degree I can tweak it, which allows me to envision better circumstances, which keeps me calmer and more relaxed…I think there are a lot of different ways to arrive at good outcomes sometimes. Yours works for you, mine is usually pretty engaged in trouble-shooting one crisis after another but it’s been keeping me sane and my head above water in all of that, so…it has value to me. I don’t think there necessarily needs to be one approach to everything.

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    • Not only necessarily, but I think it’s healthier to have multiple approaches that achieve positive outcomes in different ways. Otherwise, it’s a tyranny of choice, and there’d be One Ring (religion?) to rule them all.

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      • 🤣🤣🤣 Indeed…and I am not into being ruled at all, though obviously I have to give some level of obeisance to some things in theory and practice. And dude, sometimes of year we have way more mosquitoes than I want. If we have any sort of active monsoon season, they are all over the place. They grow in people’s fountains and pools that aren’t well maintained… West Nile virus is a thing out here, so some municipalities will try to spray to kill them… But it’s definitely a problem a couple times a year. One year it was so bad I even had citronella candles to burn in the house because everyone was getting eaten alive…

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      • I just googled monsoon season in the southwest. Wow! Never knew it was even a thing! Kind of defeats any desire of mine to live in the southwest. Part of the reason I don’t like the east coast or midwest is because of the bugs…😅

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      • And, I should probably add I’m not really into ruling either. I have held managerial positions, and that is a separate thing. It’s a job, and sometimes if there’s not some kind of pecking order there can be total chaos. But really even in the workforce I was happiest when I didn’t have to oversee what other people were doing. In terms of my personal relationships and the way people think and the way people interact, I prefer everything to just be a meeting of equals.

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      • I feel like there should be a new phrase besides pecking order, because as you said, it really is just a job. Directing info, ensuring things are efficiently serving the overarching vision…it does require a hierarchical flow of task and information, but I think all too often that’s confused with a hierarchy of personal worth.

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  6. I like what you said about the pecking order phrase… It is expedient to use sometimes, but I think you are correct and I think far too often it comes with people literally pecking at the people they feel are beneath them because they feel they are entitled to do that because of their position which they have then equated to their value and use to diminish the value of anyone with a lesser title. And, in regards to monsoon season, sometimes you can see some very dramatic storms out here. We were driving back from woods canyon lake again this last Saturday and the storm that burst as we were approaching fountain hills… Holy crap it was scary to drive in! The mosquitoes are variable here. Last year was a whole lot worse than this year, my son’s support service coordinator and I were discussing that yesterday in a meeting (we were talking about my lotion). I think there is some sort of bug in many places, this coming from a person who is allergic to a lot of the venoms etc… You kind of have to pick your poison. There’s a better balance here than in many places for me personally, but…my happy spot bug and allergy-wise I think was actually Prescott, I just emotionally can’t ever live there again because that’s where my brother was killed.

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    • How big do they get? Do you drive through clouds of them and see them splatting against your windshield? It’s kind of funny–mosquitos have been a small subconscious driver in choosing where I live. I never tried simply putting on repellent, because I lazily branded them all in my mind as deet-filled poison, but obviously, there’s better choices. Maybe I should just stop being stubborn and put on some repellent. 😅

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  7. And, just for me personally, I love the rain and wish we had more… I’m definitely willing to put up with a few mosquitoes for some rain😊 It started raining during our hike on Saturday and I loved it…of course, we got a little muddy because Tony slipped, but…🤷‍♀️ Dirt washes…

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      • The way rainstorms and Monsoon storms in Arizona can present are so varied. While we were at Woods Canyon lake during the return part of the hike, the rain came down like soft, feathery strokes…and filtering down through the pine branches it was just really gentle, pleasant, and enjoyable. The next storm that followed it, the one that had the weather service sending out warnings not to drive in it because it was a life threatening situation…I looked at those clouds as they advanced onward while we were driving back from the Payson area and it was like boiling waves of grey intensity. I just looked at them and knew the storm coming out of them would be intense, and visibility was close to zero once the rain started coming down, and the winds were forceful. I wouldn’t have wanted to be walking in that, it would have hurt like hell…and breathing might have been difficult, that’s how thick the downpour was. Those of us on the roadways slowed, put on our hazards (because that’s how we could see the people ahead of us) and did our best to stay on the damn road. Haboobs and dust storms can also be pretty dangerous to drive in, but those present more like walls of moving dust and don’t have as much rain, though what little comes with them can just make things harder because it coats the windshield in mud.

        Mosquitos…you know, I love Avon’s skin so soft lotion because it really does deter them minus the deet and it doesn’t smell as bad as other repellents. Now, it’s not as pretty smelling as my other lotions (pout!) which is why I don’t wear it all year long and have to switch out my habits based on the season, but honestly, sometimes I’m too damn vain for my own good. Really, it would be more accurate to say I like to smell nice (as in, I don’t want to smell like I’ve been chasing Tony around for 13 hours by the end of the day), have fabulous makeup, and maintain what I have as well as I can. Varicose veins and pregnancy ravaged tummy skin aside. Of course, that is all relative because by many people’s standards I’m still a wreck and there’s no saving it, lol! Those are just the things that make me happy personally. If I wasn’t such a peacock about wanting to smell nice I might suck it up and use repellent if it weren’t for the DEET. I think there are some sort of pest anywhere really, and I’d be surprised if Hawaii didn’t have mosquitos.

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      • Smell’s a big thing! I think for humans, it’s tied tightly into operant conditioning–I don’t smoke, but I like the smell of cigarettes, even on someone’s breath, because my dad smoked when I was a kid. I also like cheap stripper perfume, from my early twenties when I paid some dancers’ way through college! 😅 And, of course, who doesn’t like the smell of fresh-baked bread?

        Hard rain combined with dust storms…definitely not my thing! I live in San Diego and it might hail once or twice very early in the morning during the winter, and that irritates me. My unenjoyable times in extreme climates has made me picky about the immediate weather. San Diego’s nice, but it’s chaparral, so it’s got a desert vibe, especially inland. Plus the ocean sucks. It’s cold and dirty and dark. That’s why I’d like to try Hawaii, because of the clear water and warm rains. I’d also like to stay in an overwater bungalow in the Maldives and see how I like it. The only complaint about Hawaii (aside from the high living cost) seems to be the big centipedes, but I imagine I’d get used to those, especially if I was living in the beachfront condo of my dreams. 😊

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      • Mmmm…fresh baked bread😋 my carb-loving self just might wear that if it were a perfume 🤣 although really, I prefer floral and spicy smelling scents, but I have to be careful because my allergies cause also a lot of fragrance sensitivities… I have been a lot better since I developed mast cell activation syndrome about picking things that didn’t cause my system to feel a little grumpier.

        Well, usually I’m a big fan of the rain in most of the ways it comes. This morning however, the monsoon storm came with really loud thunder which woke up Tony🤬🤬🤬 🤷‍♀️ I had been hoping to sleep another hour, so as they say the best laid plans of mice and men 💨. Most of the time when it’s raining hard here it doesn’t hurt to walk in it unless there’s a lot of really strong wind. We will even do Tony’s community safety in the rain because he also likes the rain (or hail, because we sometimes do get that)…I hope you are you able to get yourself to the place you want to be… I personally love just about anywhere that isn’t the desert, but my heart is buried in the pines…

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      • Very unusual! Not a bad thing at all, but I have yet to meet people who really like the rain. When I lived in Madison Wisconsin it was pretty hated, especially freezing rain.

        I hope you get where you want to be as well, both with your family and your personal stuff! You deserve to live around pines, and be surrounded by excellent bakers who are constantly making fresh crusty bread! 😊

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      • Ok ,we don’t walk in the hail…my brain totally edited that into the wrong place because it needed that extra hour of sleep 😫🤣

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  8. 😂 I do, actually, really love the rain-even the freezing rain! Being in hail isn’t so bad if it’s very small hail… While it doesn’t hail often out here, when it does the hail can get golf ball size or bigger, so… Typically I wouldn’t want to be caught out in that. I don’t know what will happen in regards to living in pines. For right now, there are reasons we need to live where we are that relate to both Tony and Hannah. At some point those reasons might be less relevant and a move into a snowier area could be more feasible, but by then I could be old enough that slipping in the snow would break a hip 🤣 it’s a pity really, because I’ve always been of the opinion that you can always put more clothes on, but there’s only so many you can take off before people will call the cops on you…

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    • I know there’s people like you that enjoy the snow and the rain, but I think you’re the first I’ve met that says you like those things exclusively, rather than the trees and whatnot that usually go along with them. I guess I like that stuff under certain conditions, warm rain of course, and first snow before everything turns brown and piss yellow. Also, I love seeing dogs romp through snow. I think every dog I’ve met has loved it, but my dogs have been of the same mind as me regarding the rain. I had a cairn terrier who hated going to the bathroom in the rain, so he’d trot toward the door as soon as he could. I’d pick him up, carry him a few yards back into the rain, and he’d trot toward the door again. This happened six or seven times before he would pee, but eventually he just accepted the rain. It was cute and funny though, to see him protest as much as he could. As far as cops and clothes, if they see me naked I just grab hold of my blanket-sized scrotum, jump off the nearest cliff, then glide-sail away. 🤣

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  9. 🤣🤣🤣 literally, made me laugh and giggle and I appreciate that. I did not have the best of nights last night, so I appreciate the laugh 🤣 well, if we’re being honest, you can get a lot farther with taking things off than I can before people are calling cops. The shirt comes off for me and someone will be on their phone… Either taking pictures to troll my middle-aged ass online or calling 911 😂 And there is nothing I can glide sail away with me on this body, not even the small flap I have from the emergency C-section and the preeclampsia. And, I actually love the trees and everything that goes along with the snowier, colder climate. I just feel overheaty and melty a lot here in the desert, so I tend to fantasize about the weather elements more sometimes, especially during the summer 😅

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    • Don’t discount the middle age; it’s been proven by search engine data that the most popular genre of adult entertainment is MILFS! 🤣

      I’d probably be the same if I lived in the southwest. I remember the times I’ve been in the desert, all I felt like doing was lounging around in the shade.

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      • Oh, I don’t discount me, but I’m not laboring under any illusions or delusions. Surveys and studies also show that at *any* age, a woman of my frame size are not seen as the most desirable. I give zero fucks these days, because I don’t need to be found attractive to have value. That being said, the internet can be a cruel, cruel place where former supermodels and Baywatch Babes with a figure that is much more prized in this society than mine and minus the skin issues have hurtful words thrown at them for posting bikini pics or semi-nudes as women above a certain age. And, I’d like to lounge around in the shade, but even with a UTI and the heat and the monsoons, the therapy show must go on…ugh. I thought about our conversation when I was waiting in a Walgreens last night for my abx to be filled and the weather service sent out a warning that Nickle size hail was possible from the storm that was blowing in….

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      • A zero fucks attitude is probably the healthiest. Sometimes it’s a bit of a shock if someone insults me out of the blue, but I usually do well with telling myself it’s okay to be pissed, where I used to try and rationalize my way into why I was right and they were wrong, pushing against them which just made me more angry. Telling myself it’s okay to be angry directs my focus on the okayness over the anger, which ironically allows me to let go of the anger sooner.

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      • Yep, I definitely agree sometimes it’s just OK to be angry. I feel like if I am in the wrong about something, me being angry is kind of out of line, but otherwise it is a normal emotion and accepting and embracing that is a lot healthier than castigating oneself for feeling anger in the first place.

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      • I don’t think it’s ever out of line, honestly. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to outwardly express it, but feelings are often irrational and in order to move on to the next feeling, I find it’s helpful to acknowledge the feeling regardless of its validity, which frees me up from trying to stuff it down or wrestle it into being something different, and it settles back into apathy or optimism much more quickly. That’s just me, though–may not work for anyone else.

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      • Hmmm…interesting! I acknowledge but then quickly dispute whether or not I should be feeling angry based on what I perceive to be the merits/situation. Sometimes I know I feel a certain way and it’s not an easy fix (especially when I do feel like I have a very valid right to feel a certain way), sometimes life doesn’t have easy fixes. But if I feel I am out of line with my response it’s easier for me to modulate my emotions and channel them in a different direction. I still acknowledge them and try to give myself empathy about the situation, but…yeah, approaches will vary.

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      • It’s interesting–I grew up in the nineties, when all advice was basically just suck it up. Being able to perceive emotional imbalance and get back to equilibrium, however, seems to be one of the most important skills someone could ever learn. Otherwise, if negativity is constant and rampant, it cripples someone’s perception by altering their self-image into that of a doomed loser, to the point where they’ll subconsciously find ways to lose, and they’ll always find an excuse to skip out on an opportunity. I don’t look down on them; many of my friends fit this bill, but it does emphasize how important emotional intelligence is for me.

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  10. Oh, trust me, growing up in the 80’s “suck it up buttercup” was also the mantra. I think that what you say is true, but also it should be considered that not everyone has your comfort level with taking risks. And some things temper a person’s willingness to risk. I, for example, might do things as a person without children than I would as a person with children. Because I am often not willing to expose my children to the same level of risk that I feel comfortable with simply because risks are risks…you can calculate and weigh your options, but outcomes can be out of one’s control entirely. I have also found, that for me personally, what people think my dreams and desires should be for me given what they know about me don’t really align with what I think my dreams and desires for me should be. I think resilience, and the ability to bounce back after setbacks and failures, is incredibly important to a person’s ability to thrive in any circumstances, and many people are in circumstances where they are limited as to the types of risks they can take and improvements they can make for reasons outside of parenting. Certain disabilities, for example. Just even whether or not someone can have a romantic partner, for example, can very much depend on the health circumstances they are born into.

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    • I can relate, as my body is riddled with VA disabilities, and keep me from doing what I used to do. For years, I vacillated between anger and depression as I researched countless ways to try and heal myself so I could be what I used to be, then I started posing the question, “Do I really WANT to do all that all the time?” It took me awhile, but I no longer have this perverse urge to physically smash myself and “earn my sleep,” whatever that means.

      As far as risk, even as a kid, I always thought of it as more risky to not take a shot at realizing my dreams, and possibly reflect on my death bed about how I wished I had taken a chance with this or that. That’s not a judgment from an objective perspective; that’s purely my own opinion, and I know others are more fulfilled playing things safer and letting dreams stew on the back burner, or stuffing them into the closet and forgetting about their existence altogether. I really do fall into that cliche of regret being my original aversion, and up until the last few years, fear of regret was probably one of my main driving motives. There’s no judgment in whether others see it that way or not. It’s why I can accept the existence of reincarnation. Aside from the fascinating anecdotal evidence of past lives, I think it brings justice and fairness into our existence. Given that premise, it would be perfectly fine to err and regret, and truly clarify what someone wants, because they would be given a chance to reset and do it again. Otherwise, it’s you have this life and that’s it, where circumstances are unfair from birth and genetics, and you better perform or you’ve wasted your chance. It’s kind of Christian in the idea you only have one shot regardless of where you stand on the court, then you either go down in flames (literally) or soar and triumph. A nonsensical, unfair, and cruel existence, if you stop and think about it.

      What’s funny is that all of my adversities, once I stopped obsessing over how to fix them, somehow became solutions that helped me along. It took over a decade in some cases, but it really does feel like I’m in a no-lose game. Once again, that’s purely anecdotal, but it does hammer home the importance for me of focusing on internal ease and positivity. Rather than constantly focus on what can be done, or obsess over how I need to fix it, I focus more on what I can enjoy in the moment, because I’ve done the problem-oriented way and only found more problems. Now, when I’m not obsessing or justifying or trying to fix others, it seems that things fix themselves and sometimes I physically take part in that process. As crazy as my younger self would have thought it to be, I am starting to have visceral faith that there is benevolence underlying existence, and that things don’t need to be so hard and brutal, if only I let them. It all depends on my focus; I have lasered in on hardness and brutality all too often, and they have inflicted themselves on me with consistency in the past.

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      • Sometimes I still dream about being able to run. Don’t get me wrong, I run, but I’m not supposed to, and I don’t run a few miles a day like I used to. And well, I can’t anyways now that I have POTS, though maybe I could work my way up to it if I was still able. I think it is great you are able to have that vantage of looking at those things and realizing you wouldn’t want to do them. Sometimes it is a harder mental game to win when what you really do want, especially if it is what you used to be, is out of reach. Of course, it can be done. I have found time and again that for me the trick is to focus on what I can do, and assiduously resist the urge to pine for what I cannot have or do.

        Dreams are sometimes a tricky thing. Perhaps a woman might dream to marry some celebrity and think that nothing else will make her happy, but truth of the matter is she’s not the type of woman to ever appeal to the person she dreams of. Could she perhaps be happier if she didn’t just tuck that dream in the closet but maybe lit an emotional pyre with it and focused on finding something attainable that could make her happy? There are dreams, and then there is what is realistic, and sometimes the two need to be considered together.

        I find that I have to actively think about my circumstances. If I sat back and did nothing, Tony wouldn’t be where he currently is with his skills, and I can’t just have relied on therapists to get us there. One, many therapists would not have worked with us in the earlier years without my help and participation. And two, sometimes (because therapists are just people doing the best they can too) they make the wrong decisions about what needs to be done for it, but don’t recognize it when they should because they are focused on feeling the weight of their credentials and the respect that they feel that should earn them. And sometimes, we have encountered therapists that didn’t think Tony could be taught things. An entire set of them at one of his previous clinics thought he couldn’t be potty trained.

        Sometimes the dream is just relative (and I agree, btw about many of your observations on the nature of how life could feel unfair and cruel even in certain lights or circumstances). This morning, I woke up and put on eyeshadow sparkly enough that it looked like I could have walked through a unicorn fart. I put on perfume that I LOVED and you know, I was living my morning dream as I headed off to breakfast with a good friend. And now I’m going to go snuggle and rest some with Andy. Having a UTI at 46 is a very different experience than having a UTI at 8, which was how old I was the last time I had one…

        I am glad what you do is working for you and helping you on a path to feeling happier. 😀

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      • “Could have walked through a unicorn fart.” 🤣

        You make a good point, which is that the point of dreams is to make you happy. A couple years ago, I fulfilled some dreams regarding real estate that I had when I was in my early twenties which I thought I wouldn’t even be able to start until I was in my sixties, but I found myself stressing and agonizing over unexpected outcomes and disappointments with properties. There should be no pity here for me whatsoever; I realize I’m very lucky to own property, but my point is that a physically realized dream doesn’t necessarily bring happiness, and even if it does, it’s fleeting. Jim Carrey said I wish everyone could be rich, so they could realize it doesn’t make you happy. Conversely, I’ve been much happier when I had nothing.

        Ironically, when I give up the internal need and desperation to achieve a dream, it seems like it manifests a lot easier. So that’s what I go for. The cliche about enjoying the journey really is true, in my opinion. Working toward dreams (while, of course, making sure the immediate needs are covered first), is still important, in my opinion. Not working toward them in an obsessive or desperate way, but dedicating easy work toward them every day, focusing on enjoyment. I think it’s important for me, personally, because my dreams have come true, and it’s the most empowering and uplifting thing to see that unfold. The physical realization is cool, yes, but for me, who has spent so much of life looking over my shoulder and waiting for the other shoe to drop, it enhances my sense of control, faith in an underlying benevolence, and “pro-noia.” That’s the opposite of paranoia; instead of the universe conspiring to harm you, it’s conspiring to help you.

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      • Well, I’m not sure I fully see the benevolence of the universe in my life. I’ve had enough of those “crap that’s freaking awful” unexpected happenings to think that the universe cuts both ways. For example, POTS and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome haven’t felt benevolent. Definitely could have done without those. Am I making it work? Yes, but it made things harder and has limited some of what I could do to improve our change outcomes for Tony over the past 18+ months. I read an article about a couple who both work jobs making $15 & $ 17 dollars an hour between the two of them…and they are homeless living in a tent because they can’t afford rent in there area.

        When I was a little girl, my mom walked away from the divorce from my dad with his house. It was on 7 lots of land in Prescott in a coveted area. The first people she chose to rent it to did so much damage to the property it had to be bulldozed. Literally walking through that property by the time my mom decided to show up in person and investigate why they hadn’t been paying rent for the past 6 months (and yes, that in and of itself was a terrible decision on her part) created some of the most searing memories. A bag of dead chickens in the barn. holes in the roof. Flooring nocked out, dog feces everywhere. To me it was a lesson on needing to be able to have enough of a cushion to be able to withstand those kinds of losses before trying to support oneself by renting out properties. So, I don’t pity you…I understand there are good things and bad things that can come from someone who is owning properties and using them for income. I think it takes risks, I think you know that, I think you manage what you are doing in a way you are comfortable with and is working for you.

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      • Absolutely. And if I was thinking about it from a metaphysical standpoint, my property issues were simply a manifestation of my desire to run away from the last thing. Most of my life, I have made decisions out of aversion, not truly out of desire. I even joined the military in large part to get away from college and the 9-5. To me, it has become clear that my internal state of mind is first and foremost in importance, since I have gotten many “good” things that turned sour and that has correlated with my internal state. Correlation isn’t causation, I know, but I think I mentioned in a previous comment that if something like this could be statistically proven, then it would muffle our ability to go off the beaten path and form more desires from a variety of experiences.

        As far as the benevolent universe, that too is unprovable, but if I find myself in a debate on it, I’ll always default to the easily arguable premise that an individual who fosters a positive outlook tends to enjoy more health, capability, and opportunity. I have friends who have gone down the conspiracy theory, evil world rabbit hole, and I realized a few years ago that not only do they constantly regurgitate their negative experiences whenever I talk to them, but when I suggest small steps toward a solution or talk about positives, they get angry, brush it off, or double down on the negativity, and then if they manage to get negativity out of me, they offer positive reinforcement. I used to be like that, and that’s when my life was a reflection of my views–it was a cruel, random adversary that held all the cards and I had to constantly guard against its machinations. After I got to the point where I was paranoid and exhausted way more than I wasn’t, I said it’s either kill myself or give this positive thinking stuff a try. So in the spirit of giving up the fight, I decided to be positive when I could, and things started changing for me. All of that’s anecdotal, I know, but it’s also personal, so I can’t discount it as the one who experienced it. I don’t blame anyone who makes a case for a negative outlook–since not only was I also negative, I also felt triumph when I argued others into accepting the validity of my negative points of view–but to me, from a purely personal standpoint, and also from the practical (where it affects health, self-image, opportunity and all that other stuff) it just doesn’t lead me where I want to go.

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  11. Oh, I’m not going to debate you on it 🙂 My perspective is slightly different, but I would agree that it is better for one’s mental health to have a positive attitude whenever realistically possible. I tend to favor adopting the mentality that aids one’s survival the best. I don’t, as already mentioned, see the universe as inherently benevolent…but I find it to be a near felonious waste of time to sit around constantly throwing myself pity parties about every God-awful thing that has ever happened to me. And it’s quite a lengthy list, so doing that would completely undermine my ability to do anything meaningful or joyful in the present, and quite frankly, trying to find a way to engage in the latter emotionally just feels a whole lot better. I tend to focus on finding a work around, which is more productive, and fixating as much as possible on what I can find joy in.

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    • Different perspective, but same emphasis, it seems like. I think a focus on positivity is why I like to be largely alone. Most folks I’ve been around seemed to base their validation off how much I agree with their emotional state, and also get offended if I don’t get negative with them. From a manifestation perspective, it’s probably why I swapped out my old vet friends for some new ones with healthy boundaries and no desire to impose their beliefs on me. Conversely, it’s the first time I’ve felt no desire to impose my beliefs on them. When I was younger, I fell into that same trap I now find distasteful, where I was chasing validation by trying to get others to feel like I did or agree with me.

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      • I started listening to an audio book copy recently of “How To Think Like A Roman Emperor”…because who doesn’t want to learn to be a despot, right? (Ok, I’m typing on my computer while drinking my crio bru, so you’re going to have to imagine a sarcastic eyeroll emoji on that one). I actually really like Stoicism as an approach to life, and something this book mentions is that many stoics viewed social connections as important. I think what everyone wants in terms of that is different. The relationships I have prized the most were the ones where we could look at each other and say “you think differently than I do, and that’s OK. You are safe here to be you when you are with me.” That’s not an easy thing to find, many people do feel comforted when you echo and mirror their thinking, their breathing patterns, their actions…Having friends who are truly there for you is a gift beyond anything, next to having the love of your children. Take good care of yourself, I need to go to community safety now… 🙂

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      • I’m inclined to agree with the importance of social connections. It’s weird, but I feel like writing, blogging, martial arts, and the once-every-three-week hang with one of my buddies (we watch fights together) is enough for me, even though that little socialization would probably produce a ton of dubious looks if I described it to a bunch of people. Some of my friends are pretty isolated, and it’s pretty unsettling to interact with them sometimes because they’ve lost a lot of empathy and ability to trace cause and effect, because nothing engages their mental faculties. They just watch the world from afar and render judgment. Then again, I might be describing myself; it’s not like I took a survey of peoples’ impressions of me versus my isolated friends, and many would say I’m isolated myself. 🤷‍♂️

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      • Well, I think it is your life. I think the only person whose opinion you should be seeking in terms of whether or not you feel like you have everything in the social life and connections you want is yours. People are different, and how much interaction and what specifically they want varies. One of the things I miss most about having a group of people I worked with were the social interactions… For example, there were a group of us that would climb the flight of stairs and chat during our breaks. Loved that! For me, I’m looking forward to the time where I can consistently go out and do more things that don’t involve talking about the needs of our son. I love him, it’s not that I don’t. But I like to be seen just every now and then as a separate person who has separate interests and separate likes. What I would want is too much for some and not enough for others. I don’t think it’s a one-size-fits-all answer. Thanks for chatting with me, you know I do appreciate it.💜 In so many ways I am still going through it with certain members of my former LDS friendship circle, and this is time that you have not needed to make. I’m too chatty for my own good and I know it, but it has been a happy spot in my mornings☺️

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      • I get what you’re talking about. I used to miss stuff like that as well. I’m not sure if I’m being elitist, but I truly feel what I’m about to say in that I just don’t vibe with most of my old friends anymore. To be honest, we were all raised in the nineties and grew up in the military and there’s a lot of toxic outdated thinking that some are holding to. At the same time, it’s hard for me to hang out with people who share my beliefs because I’m not progressive, judgmental, and outraged enough for them. The one guy I made friends with in the last few years has, as I said, probably the healthiest sense of boundaries and nonjudgment I’ve seen. That’s what I want to be like now, and those are the folks I want to hang around with now as well (my dream scenario is having a property with a rooftop patio, an ocean view, and hanging out cooking steaks, ribs, and smoking cigars while getting mildly high and enjoying conversation with chill-minded folks).
        Probably why I’d want to get an older dog once the time is right. Puppies are cute, but it’s so much work to raise em. 😅

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      • Sometimes a little outrage is a necessary thing, in my opinion…but my opinion does not have to be yours or anybody else’s. Even for me, when it comes to my outrage it usually stops at the doorsteps of voting and donating. My thing is so many of those things are completely outside of my sphere of influence, and wasting too much emotional energy on them undermines my ability to be happy or focus on more important matters pertaining to our family’s survival, etc. I think to truly be non-judgmental…I don’t know that anybody really succeeds 100% at that. Even when I notice someone is judging, that is a judgement call I am making. That little sting of disapproval I might feel at their judgyness…that’s me being judgmental. It is an art to notice and not emote in return.

        I think toxic thinking is at the heart of many relationship problems. But that is something that I can only clean house in my own head on. Sometimes life changes people and they aren’t good fits for one another any more, this is true. But I think if the initial relationship is built on a foundation of non-judgement and seeking to build one another up throughout whatever changes, relationships can endure. Some of my friends think very differently from me about things, and sure I notice, but I see them and care about them in a way that I would want to be care for- without condition of sameness in thought.

        I am wishing you your dream and much happiness in finding it!

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      • I used to be much the same way, judging the judgy. But I realized when I’m in a good mood, I’m either not thinking about them, judging them lightly with good-natured humor, or actually wishing them the best in the long run. For me, if someone wrongs me or pisses me off, I believe it’s healthy to internally express and acknowledge that feeling, as long as it gives me relief. But when it no longer gives me relief, then it’s time to move on. Many times, I also realized, I was angry at something unrelated, and I was looking to be angrier by focusing on topics that would piss me off.

        I agree with the relationship thing, but in my case the folks who I interacted with constantly began reverting to the underlying theme of negativity, paranoia, and shooting down whatever attempt at positivity I brought forth. At that point, I realized it was fully my problem; sure, I mentioned my preference and rationale to them, but at the end of the day, it was either acknowledge that I didn’t want to hang around in that vibe, or hang around in it and deal with it. I spent ten years in a marriage trying to compromise and deal, so after that experience, I realized I’d prefer to let go of whoever I need to let go of, as there are always new folks that I’ll find my way to. I don’t necessarily look for the same viewpoint, but I do look for a similar focus on positivity and optimism. I realize some people are designed to thrive in negativity, but that’s not me anymore. I think I’ll always have room for someone new, but I didn’t always think that way; I felt I had to cling to my friends and keep them around because no one else would like me, but that’s definitely a scarcity mentality.

        As far as what you’ve gone through, it sounds tough, even now, but it also sounds like you’ve gotten over the most grueling parts and that you are finding balance and harmony little by little. I’m rooting for you! I’m sure it would be valid to say you’ve earned your peace, but I think it’s much more accurate to say that you always deserved it. 😊

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  12. Thank you, I am rooting for you also 😀

    I think that is a whole other quagmire, the discussion about what people deserve versus what they get in life. One of the things I fight every day is a battle with my own neurology because I have been through enough high-stress or traumatic events that I have to put a lot of effort into not anticipating that the worst is a given. Even when things are tough, I have learned the value of focusing on whatever bit of good I can in my life, even if it seems to require a microscope to find it. I have so much more to be thankful for than billions of people on this planet. Shame on me if I complain to much as I sit in my two story house knowing exactly where my next meal is going to be coming from.

    For me personally, I don’t see how any sort of romantic relationship can survive without compromise unless the entire agreement is just “hey we’re getting together for sex but everything else about our world is separate and we are never having children.” Just my opinion. I have yet to see the couple that were so in sink that they agreed on all matters related to finance and the rearing of children. Yes, to me certainly there are deal breaking things that can arise, but negotiation, respect, and compromise I think are required when you join so many aspects of your life with someone. Even with just roommates finances and care of the property can become issues.

    For me, people will like me or they won’t. I can be quite polarizing for some people just by being me and doing what I am capable of, and I acknowledge that. I am not for everyone. I hold onto people that want to be held onto, and I let people fly away who want to fly away. I honor the reality that some people aren’t healthy to hang around with. It is not easy if you are wanting to focus on the positive to constantly be drug into a quest for the negative. I wish you all the happiness and positivity you desire in your friendships 🙂

    Like

    • First off, whatever works for you is undisputable. I just want to be clear that I’m not arguing with it, because you have a right to your perspective no matter what’s happening around you, to you, or whatever others say. So with that as my base of reasoning, I’m not discounting your approach of being grateful for having basic needs met, but personally speaking, it’s hard for me to use. When I use that on myself, it has too much of a suck it up vibe. Purely from a personal perspective, I don’t think I should feel shame for having more than others, because in my opinion (just my opinion, not an argument against your view) I have a right to my negative emotions. Even though we both agree they’re not the best place to stay, I personally believe it’s important to acknowledge negativity in order to start working back to positivity. But if the focus on having basic needs met works for you, then it’s undisputable.

      I tend to view it like this: the hardest thing someone has been through is still hard for that person; it is still the hardest thing they have ever experienced. I was judgy and negative for a long time, and this view helps keep that at bay (for me). It helps me deal with people person by person, instead of fitting them onto my own hierarchy of suffering and deserving.

      Sounds like you have a very healthy attitude with people! I have the same philosophy of me not being for everyone (for most people, seems like). When I hang out with people, I tend to worry about how to not offend them, because my mind explores a lot of possibilities and it’s hard for me to filter them for appropriateness or fit them to what I think the person before me will feel comfortable with. When I made an effort to be around people, I got pretty good at socializing, but even when I was good at it, it was still draining. That’s when I realized I really am an introvert. 😅

      I wish you happiness and positivity as well! You deserve it!

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      • I appreciate your gracious manner of disagreeing with me, (I really do!), and I also honor your right to handle these matters of perspective in a way that works for you personally. By way of explanation, I don’t feel shame for having more than others, but I do feel lucky and like it makes me more aware that I shouldn’t complain too much about certain hardships I do have. My previous therapist also really disliked my approach for handling certain things (and she has not been alone). I would always say to her after describing something “but I know people go through worse things.” She would also tell me to acknowledge the negative (and trust me I do and I give myself permission to feel every millimeter of that), but one day she went a bit further and told me “Do you know why I look away sometimes while we are talking and seem to be hunting for something in my desk? It’s because I’m trying not to cry. You have the worst case of abuse I’ve treated in my 20 years of practicing…” and she went on. Again, my response to that is people go through much worse every day.

        She told me she’d rather I acknowledged how awful some of my experiences were. But if I get bogged down too much in that, I start throwing me a massive pity party, and holy cow does everything get so much worse for me in every way when I do that. So looking at other people and recognizing that someone has it worse (not in a gloating way, I feel for them) helps keep me from going on a pity binger, which keeps me personally more positive. I’m not interested in being pitied, in fact, I *hate* it and when I start pitying myself, I kind of hate what that does to my perspective also. So that is just how I process in a way that helps me not do something that is mentally toxic for my ability to find happiness and joy in life.

        Thank you for respecting my right to think differently, I do likewise for you. And thank you on the well wishes, I wish you much happiness and positivity also! 🙂

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      • In that case, I’m fully on board with your approach, as it sounds like the path of least resistance, the one that offers the most relief. If things don’t need to be processed (if they don’t keep popping up or interfering with positivity and performance) I don’t really see the point of wallowing in them. There’s always a reason to feel terrible for someone out there somewhere, which includes your past self. If you’re feeling lucky and not stoic/defensive, then I’d say that’s a healthy vibe, regardless of whatever your therapist, me, or anyone says about your specific approach.

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  13. Well, I keep doing it regardless of what anybody else thinks about my approach because it is working for me. I have managed to stay somewhat sane and to be relatively happy. 😅 I will say that sometimes I don’t think the path of least resistance is helpful. For me personally, the path of least resistance would be to wallow in the memories. My mind can get over enthusiastic about recalling and redregging. I think practicing Stoicism with a capital S, as some have described it, is different and involves controlling my perceptions. Which is what I am doing, in my own way… just my take.🤷‍♀️

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    • I should clarify–the path of least resistance to me is what brings me back toward joy, and it’s characterized by a feeling of rightness, of belief in what I’m doing. So working out, as outwardly uncomfortable as it may be, inwardly evokes peace and fulfillment for me.

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      • Interesting! That’s definitely different from how I use the phrase. If you don’t mind me asking, and as always you can decline answering, how did it come to mean that to you personally?

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      • It’s kind of a blend of introspection, psychedelics, and exploring law of attraction philosophy. Basically it stems from the acceptance that my natural state is positivity, and I can reach it by milking existing positivity or turning down the volume on internal static. I remember the specific instance I became viscerally convinced of this, when I ran my own experiment in 2019. I was walking some dogs, it was raining lightly, and things weren’t going the way I wanted. I’d been in this situation time and again, and I’d used the same approach effort-oriented approach time and again with undesirable results. I thought “Let’s see if a neutral inward state will truly lead to positivity.” So I did my best to appreciate the mist and the dogs and the lack of internal effort. Sure enough, it led to an inexplicable good-feeling state. Previously, I had dealt with problems by obsessing over them, researching them to death, only to have unexpected twists lead to an undesirable outcome, which would only make me more obsessive. During the dog walk, I validated my beliefs with my own experimentation, and began to have faith that positivity is the default state, and that I don’t have to always strive for it, I can just let it blossom on its own. All anecdotal, but it fits with everything I have experienced, as well as the rationale for existence that I find both acceptable and functional. For me, anyway.

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      • Thank you for sharing that, I appreciate the time you took to do so 😀 Much of life is anecdotal. If you approach any person with any sort of spiritual mentality why they believe what they do, they can’t hand you something concrete. Even someone who points to the bible can’t provide evidence for provenance. I love your honest statement that you validated your own beliefs. We generally do. It sounds like this approach has enriched your life and that is great! I am a fan of positivity and I think controlling a person’s perceptions is a great way to get there.

        For me, I wouldn’t have had to struggle to even feel neutral about the mist…I would have loved that! We all have different ways of thinking and reacting to life, and I think we enrich each other when we can talk about it and listen in a way without trying to prove whose view is better. But I suppose I have sometimes seemed to be doing just that (trying to prove my own position) in the explaining of it. I enjoy being a better version of me each day, and one of the things I am currently trying to be aware of is that sometimes when I explain me other people feel preached to. So, if I ever come across that way, my apologies. I honor your right to approach life in the way that feels right to you. Take good care of yourself! 🙂 Ari

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      • I think it’s fairly common to come across as preachy in trying to explain a position, since I have done it many a-time myself. Personally speaking, I have resonated with something so strongly that I have felt obligated to make others feel the same way, so I would try and talk their ear off or fool them into agreeing with me. It was only later (when I realized that everyone resonated with different things and that it would defeat the purpose of individuality if that wasn’t the case) that I realized that I should express myself for the personal joy of doing so. Folks will come to their joy through their own path, and if they don’t, in my view of things, they will come to it when they die, as we’re all stuck in a no-lose game. The best I can do in that vein is to realize my own happiness and fulfillment as much as I can, and that will attract others who are willing to pursue their own fulfillment and happiness. But if not, that’s okay, I believe they and I are doomed to happiness.

        My take on minimizing preachiness is this: the obvious way is to just state that I don’t mean to come across that way in the beginning, or to state I’m fine being interrupted and being told I’m being preachy, the less obvious way is to pair that with reading someone’s silence or body language, trying to figure out if they’re seeing me as preachy but they’re too shy to speak up, in which case I could ask and preemptively apologize.

        But in the end, everyone has a right to think what they think. Some people enjoy being preached to. I’ll just go with my gut, put out some feelers here and there if it feels right, and pursue my own joy and fulfillment. I think that’s the best argument I could ever make, when I forget all about arguing and realize my purpose in life, or what I see it to be, anyway.

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  14. “Doomed to happiness…” I love it! May we all truly face such a doom. I still don’t have a position on that, and right now, with my sinuses doing their best to try and convince me that the most I can hope for today is to minimize the physical misery by not dwelling on it…so I’m probably not thinking on anything deep enough to develop a position.

    I think those are all great points. Sometimes communicating with people is tricky because everybody does have a right to think their own way. Some people like to hear that someone can relate to what they are going through because of a personal experience, other people do not want to hear that personal experience at all because if they feel like what you went through was worse, then they feel like you’re trying to one-up them and take away their right to feel badly. Which is tricky ground to walk on for anybody whose had more than a few bad things happen in their lives. Some people like to have a more expansive discussion without feeling preached to and some people will always feel preached to if you go past a sentence or two.

    I am what I am, which is a talker…but sometimes I definitely need to work on editing that down. And you are right, reading the room and understanding the needs of who you are talking to is important. Wishing you a day in which you are doomed to every happiness imaginable… 🙂

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    • Haha! I wish you the same such day, even though I already feel you’re doomed to a long-run existence where you have no choice but to be happy.

      Talk away! In my view, you can’t get it wrong in the long run, you can only make it temporarily unpleasant in the short run. And to that I say, if engaging with people is stressing you out, give yourself a break and ease up on yourself. But if you don’t, I believe that’s fine as well, because as I’ve said, I believe you’re doomed in the best way possible. 😊

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      • Well, my day started off happy enough and it didn’t feel like one bit like a doom 😅 Breakfast with a good friend is always a happy thing. I’m going to spend the rest of the day nursing Tony back to health and reading smutty novels… Some of that will feel good and some of it won’t, that’s just life. In real life I try to listen as much as I talk. Sometimes, while I know it might seem shocking at this point, I actually listen way more than I talk. It’s a little bit easier for me to go on a ramble in a comment 😅

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      • Breakfast is hard to screw up (unless you let it get cold), the perfect meal to share with a friend!

        I had to work awhile with the communication stuff, and it’s still something I’m learning. It used to piss me off when I got cut off, but I’m pretty indifferent about it now. I think it was a result of not taking things so personally. When I was emotionally invested in peoples’ responses, I took things as indications they liked me or didn’t, or they thought I was smart or they didn’t. Eventually, I realized I should relax into the knowledge I’m sufficient as is, and a lot of the time I can’t tell what they’re thinking (ironically, I’m better at guessing it when I’m not invested in figuring it out). Probably just an outgrowth of my gravitation towards letting people think however they want to think. That doesn’t necessarily mean they can behave or even speak however they want to, but I’ve learned to my exhaustion and detriment that if someone doesn’t want to change their mind, I’m not going to convince them otherwise. That’s brought me a lot of a peace over the years.

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      • Well, I thought starting out my morning rowing to “Masterpiece” by Motionless In White this morning was pretty happifying too (it’s another one of those songs where I think the poetry of the lyrics is sublime)…and for me, I like breakfast smoothies most mornings, and I always prefer those cold. But then, my version is less like a desert than what most people want (something with beet root, kale, and spinach and zero ice cream/sherbet is not even an acquirable taste for some people).

        When I was taking small group communications in college, the professor’s feedback to me was “you interrupt people a little too much sometimes.” Guilty as charged. I have tried to be mindful of that since then, but I can tell you there has never been any ill intent behind it…more like my thoughts move very fast and sometimes if I don’t get something out in the moment, it’s gone downstream and ain’t coming back right away. But something I have also observed in my own life is that everybody I’ve personally known who’s ever been upset with me personally about that isn’t conscious of the degree to which they themselves interrupt. My honey used to get pretty upset with me about it, until I started gently pointing out every time he interrupted me. Now he jokingly tells me I need a sign to hold up like from an old cartoon, letting him know he’s done it again.

        It’s never really bothered me when people interrupt me because it’s something I’ve been guilty of doing a whole lot (but worked hard at to be better at most of the time). If you don’t mind me asking, and again, you don’t have to answer if you’d rather not, what specifically upset you about being interrupted?

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      • It’s kind of tracked with my changing values. Back when I obsessed with problems and believed I desperately needed to have a positive influence on society, and convince others to do so as well, I didn’t like being interrupted for 2 reasons. The high-handed one was I felt like it was destroying the dialogue, disallowing full expression of context, which would have an adverse effect on whatever positive result the debate might achieve or work towards. The personal one was perceived disrespect. If someone didn’t value my full expression of thought, and already believed they knew what I was thinking so they could jump in and start fleshing out their own perspective, then I felt they were being condescending, dismissing the full scope of what I was trying to say.

        I used to wait in silence, then stifle my anger and switch subjects to whatever had taken center stage, but now with the trust and faith I’ve built over time, I relax into the knowledge that it’s all good in the end. I’m there to enjoy the pleasure of conversing, along with the company of whoever I’m talking to. Society doesn’t need me to larp as a philosophical savior and enforce some nebulous idea of how a conversation is supposed to go. Also, as an occasional interrupter myself, I realized that interruption almost never comes from a disrespectful place. It’s as you said: people get excited and want to express their thought before they forget it, or they want to ride the energy of their excitement and say what they’re thinking right at that moment.

        Still, when I interrupt nowadays, I make it a point to finish my assertion with, “I’m sorry, I interrupted you–you were talking about [whatever subject I interrupted]?” It’s an homage to my old self, just in case someone else feels like I once did. 😅

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  15. I try to give that type of apology myself…at least a good portion of the time. I think you have a lovely way of handling it when you do interrupt, and I am going to have to remind myself to be more diligent and make sure I am apologizing all of the time. I appreciate that you took so much time to articulate the above. I think probably many people currently feel similarly about interruptions in conversation as you used to. At the end of the day, the only person’s perspective I truly live is mine, so it is a gift that expands me and keeps my mind from becoming too contracted when someone helps me to see theirs. Thank you, and wishing you a lovely day 😀

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    • It’s not a true apology; there’s nothing to feel guilty about, in my opinion. I think it’s more of an expression that I had to get something out, but there was no intent to dismiss or railroad the other person. It’s why I combine the sorry with a mention of the specific point they were talking about; I feel like that shows I was mentally engaged with them while they were talking and I wasn’t just biding my time to cut them off so I could speak. That’s just my opinion though. As you said, the only perspective I truly live is mine, so I try to treat them how my past prickly self would have wanted to be treated. 😅

      In the end, I feel like it really depends on who you’re talking to. If someone responds positively to getting cut off (they may trail off and give you a hesitant look or some other sort of nonverbal prompt), they may just enjoy starting a thread or establishing a premise, then letting you take the reins and flesh things out. I try to read the room, but once again, this is my life, so not at the expense of my peace of mind.

      At the end of the day, you deserve to feel peace, fulfillment, and positivity. You can’t please everyone, as you quickly find out in anything that has a large audience.
      And as I said, I believe it’s your natural state! You don’t have to earn it or have others validate it; it’s your existential right! 😊

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      • Alright, I’m thinking maybe…just maybe…the fact that I am trying to choke down a rapid lunch before our merry group heading off to music therapy will save you from my super-chatty nature today 😉

        Well, I like to go back to the person’s point to if I continue after I interrupted them, but if I immediately stopped, I give them back the conversational floor and just leave it with the apology. Depending on who I’ve interrupted, it’s a genuine apology for sure…because I know if I interrupt either my daughter or my husband, they are going to be upset. Sometimes in the moment I’m not trying to be insensitive and uncaring with my actions, my awareness of their feelings about that just lagged behind the impulse, in which case, that apology is genuine because I know I’ve upset them because I know they don’t like it at all.

        You are right though, I can’t please everybody…and being way too talkative is in my nature. I do try to modulate that though sometimes…sometimes. Take good care of yourself 😀

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      • Sounds like you’ve got it figured out! Conversely, it sounds like they were similar to me in values regarding interruptions. I’m sure they’ll soften up on it, especially since they know you value their opinion and expression. 😊

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      • Ha! I’ve totally got you fooled if you think I’ve got all of that completely figured out 😄 I definitely don’t. I’m probably always going to be a work in progress. I would say we are on the path of them understanding my perspective with the final destination still a ways off…but I do certainly value their thoughts and value their expression therefore, even if we don’t always agree.

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      • Hmm… I’m not 100% sure how I feel about the idea of perfection in imperfection. I am a recovering “perfectionista” as Margie would put it. I used to be tormented by the idea that I was not perfect (and spent a great deal of time and energy trying to eradicate my imperfections) nor can any person be. And our former church is riddled with a heavily toxic perfection culture that can really mess a person’s mind up, especially if they are already struggling with that. I think where I have settled in is a place where I am more comfortable with my flaws, I recognize that everyone including myself has them, though I do not think they are perfect when I see them in me and I certainly strive to do better in areas that can cause pain to other people. I’m just not traumatized by them anymore… It allows me to be much happier and much more positive to focus more on what is going well when I can, though certainly the other stuff does need to be addressed at some points.

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      • It’s kind of a paradoxical riddle, my way of saying “It is what it is” and releasing internal resistance. By not condemning the imperfection, it has shown me that the bad stuff that’s happened to me has planted the seeds for good stuff and bloomed when I finally allowed it to. It’s also opened my eyes to new opportunities and positive growth. Not saying that I don’t rail against the circumstances, but that’s where the emotional intelligence kicks in–there’s a point where it becomes counterproductive and I’m just wallowing in unnecessary negativity. But as I’ve mentioned, it doesn’t work that way for everyone. We all have our own way of getting the most out of life.

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  16. I am having one of those moments where I looked at your comment and because of my own personal circumstances it was almost like the universe was telling me something else and it became a separate conversation in my mind. But even as a talker, I have some things that are so personal they are as I call them beyond the layer (my layer of personal protections) of what I would ever publicly launch into a discussion of unless they were cleverly cloaked in verse. So we’re already starting off in a place where I can seem random and off topic. A tear can be a seed… But to what? You are absolutely correct we do process life in our own way, and I absolutely agree it does not benefit to wallow in negativity. I also say it is what it is a lot and I mean different things in different circumstances. Some imperfections as perceived by others can never be changed… For example, I have always had a complicated legacy with my looks for many reasons. At 46, most of the scars on my legs are no longer visible from some of the things that my stepfather did. But when I was younger, I hated the questions people would ask when I wore shorts because I had dozens of them and they were very visible especially when it was cold and the layers of my skin were thicker and spots and didn’t change color evenly, so I wasn’t likely to wear shorts unless there were no other clothes to wear. We were poor, and I didn’t often get a choice when I was younger. Same thing with the scar that runs through my right eyebrow (someone swung a lead pipe in my head when I was four). With some things, all you can do is learn to make your peace. Other things something can more readily be done about it, I just believe now it is more beneficial to show myself empathy rather than the emotional whip. I am more likely to hug me and accept me and say “it’s all right sweetheart we can work at this at the pace you’re ready to but just don’t beat yourself up about it.”

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    • I feel like I should clarify I woke up in a complicated mood because of an entirely different set of circumstances and it was like something you said spoke to that via the universe and some parts of the message I needed and some of them left me feeling grumbly and that was not your fault…

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      • No worries. As far as bad things having a beneficial outcome later down the line, I can only say that that has been my personal anecdotal experience. I also get the mentality where the bad must be called out loudly and passionately. For a long while, I would do my best to deconstruct every optimistic take of bad events, with the underlying philosophy that the best we can do is prepare for and guard against malicious forces, occasionally eking out victory but always remaining vigilant. I’m aware that taking on a belief that all bad things can lead to good presents a giant ethical dilemma in the form of possible implied victim-blaming and case-supported evidence where people do good and encounter bad luck until they die. It really only works when paired with my other beliefs, the law of attraction and the no-lose game. What I say to those who are inspired to vociferously condemn is that they shouldn’t try to adopt my approach unless it resonates. In most of their cases, it’s probably better to try and distract themselves from bad stuff they can’t do anything about or have no inclination to change, or at least spare it a passing glance for reference and do other stuff besides wallowing in it. But it’s their choice. In some cases, you just gotta go negative because it’s as positive as you can be, then abide in it until you can abide in a more positive/slightly less negative state. The trick is realizing the difference between release/relief and wallowing in negativity. I think that’s where emotional intelligence and self-awareness comes in. But ultimately, everyone in my opinion has the right to choose their own outlook, and I’m not trying to convince anybody to change it.

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  17. I wasn’t trying to vociferously condemn, and you have my apologies if it came across that way. I certainly come at this from the perspective of someone who has experienced things that can either forge or break a person–far too often it is the latter. Certain experiences it is hard to see a benefit. About the best I’ve ever been able to say about some things for me personally is it allowed me to be more compassionate towards other people. But the reverse could have been easily my fate, it could have hardened my heart to the suffering of others, especially if I deemed it to be less than mine (which is definitely a place I do not mentally or emotionally reside in). That being said, some of what you say on this does resonate with me and I am certainly not the judge of you nor am I trying to be. If I do ever choose to change something about myself at this point because of something someone says, it is because it truly resonates with me, not for any other reason.

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    • I definitely didn’t mean you in that statement! 😅 I was referring to my older self as well as some of my friends. It’s a big pet peeve of mine when someone speaks critically of someone else but doesn’t outright call them out, which gives them an excuse to avoid confrontation and still get a cheap shot in. I responded that way to you because I was seeing my older self as an egregious amplification of what you were saying and an easy example to speak of, but I should have made that clear and stated that outright and made sure you knew I wasn’t judging you or being touchy about what you said. Also, even if you decided to vociferously condemn what happened to you, who the hell am I to tell you how to think about it, especially since they’re your experiences? While people may have to watch what they say, the way they think and feel about life is their existential right, and no one can dictate that for them. In the case of my friends who I had to drift away from, I didn’t bicker with them (even though sometimes I wanted to), I told them that they and I saw things too differently, and I didn’t want to constantly argue or debate. Then when they kept trying to press their view on me, even when I’d just fall silent, I eventually told them I loved and respected them, but that I would have to get some distance, because I just don’t vibe with them anymore as far as being constantly negative. I’d say something similar to you if I didn’t feel comfortable with talking to you. I wouldn’t snipe at you with veiled criticism.

      I’ve been on both sides of the trauma Olympics you speak of, where I judged others for not enduring enough, and where I criticized myself for the same, which put me in the mindset of seeking out damage so I could prove myself worthy. It’s not good for me, nor anyone I interact with if I fall into that mentality. I definitely don’t think you’re judging me. I find you inspiring for the stuff you’ve mentioned, the attitude you’ve chosen, and I’m happy to have entertained you with my stories. I hope you get the happiness you deserve, regardless of the outlook you choose to adopt! 😊 It’s something I believe is your innate birthright!

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      • Just a few things because I really need to get moving on my day…which is probably good, otherwise I’d babble 😉 Worse than this…

        First, one doesn’t even need to veil criticism with me. If I’ve earned it, I should hear it and I will hear it. Sometimes I need to be criticized and I remind myself even if I end up feeling defensive that I need to listen with humility and compassion…especially when I have really goofed it on something. And sometimes I do. So if I get something wrong about something, call me out on it. I can handle that.

        Second, you are both very creative and very smart. And that is something I can always respect even if it doesn’t entertain me, though certainly some of your writings have. Sometimes I have found myself thinking (when I’m feeling in a more reactive place) that I might follow your example and take up a pen name…except the angrier part of me would have chosen to write erotica because I still am processing feelings about my experience in our former church. Just with more real to life characters who have more cellulite and less money. Though, I wouldn’t actually make any decision about that until I was done being angry so that I would know the decision was coming from what a place I really wanted to be in once calm. So, some things you do inspire me also and I quoted something you said in a conversation yesterday…I am grateful that you take time to share your perspective with me!

        You know, for me, I say I would never want anyone to put themselves through trauma so that the could have that kind of conversation with me at the table, the one where they understood all too well. But sometimes it puts me in a very lonely place because often when you are the person in the room people perceive to have been through the worst comparable experiences, they are less likely to want to talk to you because there does seem to be this weird sort of trauma competition with some people where you only have a right to speak and commiserate if you are on an equal or lesser level of trauma. Otherwise so many people think you are trying to one up them even if all you are trying to do is just say “yeah I can relate.” The moment they ask you how so it can become a mine field. So I really like your saying that the worst thing a person has been through is the worst thing they’ve been through. Life has made me tough in some ways…but my capacity to handle that is in it’s own place. Take good care of yourself!

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      • It’s interesting, I used to feel the same as far as criticism, but I’ve changed toward being more sedate and relaxed. If someone criticizes me, I may give them a listen, but typically my response is to ensure that I’m in a good mental state rather than chew over their points. If anything in their critique catches my attention, I might let it percolate in my brain, but I’m different now in that I won’t obsess over its deeper meaning and try to fix or understand it. It may be ostrich in the sand, but I’m not looking to fix anything, I’m just letting the clues arise and seeing if they ping my intuition, in which case they might warrant follow-up. Similarly, I usually don’t give criticism unless someone asks for it, and I try not to give advice unless someone seems to be pressing me for it. If I give a review, it’s going to be positive, and if I don’t like the product, I’m just not going to leave a review. I think this is part of my evolution where I’m not trying to influence the world into my standards, which also means that I’m not going to dig too deep into other peoples’ standards for me. My standards now are purely relegated to my personal state of mind. Once I start being invested in other metrics, which I have done ad nauseum in the past, I know I’m going down a road that I’d rather not take.

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      • Reviews are just a whole other mess. Everybody asks for a review, which in theory opens the door to criticism. But the psychology of it is oftentimes they’re asking for it in some cases before the product has even arrived, but if not that rapidly then still so quickly that in most cases the true quality of the product isn’t apparent before the new item glow emotions have worn off. I don’t spend much time reading reviews anymore. After Amazon accused me of writing reviews for compensation (and really it is rather generous of me to say that it was just an accusation because they flat out said I did it when definitely that was not one of my many review sins) about 2 weeks after I personally stopped shopping there over the handling of matter I decided to put one of my email addresses up on my profile just in case other parents wanted to contact me with questions because sometimes the needs of a disabled individual can vary in terms of developmental toys etc. The sheer volume of requests I have gotten, and literally I took that email off my profile a week later because of the number of requests I was getting – and sadly that stopped nothing. Now, I do know that some of the people who have emailed me aren’t really who they say they are and they aren’t really looking for what they say they are looking for. But there are enough sincere requests in there, and many of them tell you exactly what they want to see. The review system is full of reviews that really are paid for written junk, and I always knew it was badly corrupted which is why I got frustrated and waded in at one point. Many people aren’t lucky enough to be in a position to where they can just say I can afford to eat this loss or can afford to have paid for a crappy product that doesn’t work very long or the way it was marketed and not have it impact them. But… That is not the battle I have energy to fight right now. After the situation with Amazon, I decided I will rarely write reviews whether I have anything positive to say or not for my own reasons. I have to really love something before I will go out of the way these days.

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      • That sounds like a frustrating mess! I’m with you on taking the high road. It’s the same reason I don’t want to talk politics with people—don’t have the energy for it. There’s too many of them that make it their whole identity and want you to do the same.

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  18. Don’t know how high of a road I took, but I definitely took a road. I am just one person without any influence of any kind in this matter. Far too many people are making a s*** ton of money off of how bankrupt that system is, and that is not the thing I have the resources or energy to do anything about right now.

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    • I feel that’s pretty high road-ish. Work with what you can, then relax and see what other opportunities start opening up. I always refer to Nelson Mandela when it comes to one person versus giant systems. He started with little things in prison, won over his fellow prisoners, the guards, and eventually his constituency.

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      • Definitely not trying to be negative about myself here, but there is nothing I do that rises to the level of Nelson Mandela. And, when it comes to my initial response to the situation with Amazon, my first approach to their customer service department was confused but chill. I’d become thoroughly upset by the time I emailed their communities department and quite frankly the person who read that probably thought I was quite a b****. Unfortunately sometimes I can be, though it’s certainly not where I usually try to start out. And by the time I had one of their customer service supervisors telling me that if they said I did something than I definitely did that something, I certainly wasn’t feeling an inspiring level of anything other than pissed off and incredulous. When a company claims to have a corporate culture of not tolerating its own mistakes and certainly not tolerating the mistakes of its employees, and then it turns around and says somebody did something they didn’t without any proof and then dig right in and keep insisting it happened…

        Where I was at emotionally and with the level of sleep I was getting at the time… I did not start with a charm offensive for sure. I was emotionally just hanging on by a thread at some points. Maybe that would have changed things if I had remained more even-tempered about it, but with a corporation that big I rather suspect not (they don’t have to care about what someone like me thinks and there is a very well oiled set of policies and machinery in place to protect them from any possible liability for their own mistakes and shortcomings). At many points over the last 10 years I have been stretched past the point of what I thought would have been where I broke. And I somehow managed not to break (because I have near annoying levels of positivity I cling to according to some people sometimes), but I have not always stayed saintly in the process. There are times when I definitely snark. Especially when somehow my primary email address also got in the hands of some of their vendors (that happened a year after I stopped shopping there), and then I had people emailing me there claiming to be vendors stating things like they only offered me products to review that they thought I needed (the product in question if the initial request from that one was a type of facial hair trimmer for women). I’m usually better about raining the snark in when I get more sleep. But it might be helpful to think of me as a glue that holds things together in this ship and the only person who can’t hand it off to somebody and break. That kind of tension sometimes leads to reactive responses. And the only thing an awareness if that does is inspire me to try to be better for the people around me that matter to me.

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      • I think that’s a good way to be, to focus on what’s in your sphere of positive influence and exercise your power for change. Much like people who don’t want advice, bullies are pretty resistant. Sometimes you may be the person to put them in their place, sometimes you may even be the person that correlates with them seeing the error of their ways, but I think that’s where emotional intelligence comes in–you’ll know it through what your gut tells you. I saw a Netflix doc about a probable sociopath named Hunter Moore titled the most hated man on the internet. This guy was a revenge porn pioneer and had a cult-like following in the early 2010s. Eventually, he messed with the wrong mom (he hacked into her daughter’s email and got nude pics) and the mom mounted a campaign against him. She was stymied at almost every turn, even to where Hunter’s hacker-minions locked her out of her blog a few days after she started it, but eventually she triggered a chain of events that led to an FBI investigation, Anonymous cyber retaliation against Hunter, and eventually his imprisonment, followed by laws against revenge porn. At first, even her husband was kind of against her efforts. I believe that everyone can do something similar at some point in their lives, but they have to be in touch with their intuition to be able to recognize when to push and when to back off. Not everyone can stand up the way the mom did, but I wouldn’t discount yourself–your instance may come, but I also don’t think it’s good to force it, and that some part of you will know when it’s time and urge you on regardless of how bad the odds are against you. Then again, you may also be happier not stepping in to that role, and it might not come because it’s not what you’re built for and it isn’t what would fulfill you. This is kind of devolving into ambiguous word salad… 😅 I guess I’m trying to say don’t be hard on yourself and just be open to opportunities that open before you. A lot of my friends have decided they will never experience good fortune, that they have been screwed over and that’s just how it is and that’s how it will continue to be, even when I point out easy immediate steps they could take in the general direction of what they want. My advice, which I’m fully aware is just my opinion and comes with no obligation to uphold, is to feel justified in feeling your anger, but also be easy with yourself and enjoy what you can as much as possible. That enjoyment, I believe, makes you into your most positive and powerful self, and who knows where that could lead?

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      • Oh, trust me….I definitely feel justified in feeling the way that I do😈 That being said, I am currently in a position where I have to make choices about which battles I must prioritize when it comes to personally entering the fray. Unless I were getting paid to tackle this problem, and really I am not the sort of person such an organization would seek out to do so (My sympathies do not lie with the business, or any of their vendors- They lie with the customer and only the customer), therefore it’s not going to make my list of priorities at this time. My focus right now is on my children, my family, and my own health. The key to anything I might have in the future is Tony’s progress. Those situations deserve the best of what I can give right now, not a crusade against so many players profiting off of keeping things a certain way. What the future brings is often a question mark, and while I am certainly always interested in seeking justice in any capacity I believe needs it, I am a much more finite resource than I used to be. So I will not discount opportunities to be impactful that come up, but I am not really seeking them, being as I am focused on the situations that are currently before me.

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      • I think that’s the best way to be, honestly. My opinion is that timing is the basis for the pleasure or frustration resulting from effort. The same action can either be pleasant or hellish depending on where and when it’s applied, and timing in my opinion comes with an easy, open attitude. Trying to force things into place is inefficient and takes the pleasure out of life. At least for me, anyway.

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  19. I think that is really true about timing being the difference between something being pleasant or hellish ❤ That being said, sometimes I have had to do things that felt hellish because it was what needed to be done. Whether or not I voluntarily take on something that could feel hellish depends a lot on how needful I think it is…sometimes there is no direct or easy path to pleasure in life, and the best that can be done is to pick the path that aligns with one's values. Just my opinion based on my experiences…

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    • In those instances, I like to pretend and stay open to new opportunities and unexpected twists, because I’ve been surprised in both positive and negative directions, so sometimes the most soothing thought is reminding myself I don’t know for certain what’s going to happen next. That’s just me, though. It may not work for others.

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      • When I was a little girl, I used to imagine and write myself into all of my favorite stories. Honestly, it kept part of me sane, whole, and untouched by what was going on around me…so, it’s not a bad strategy. As an adult with more control (although sometimes certain things are still out of my control) I prefer to focus on what I can fix, what I can change, and mapping out a plan. That is just me…I’m a fan of a plan. Or at least having a destination in mind and that can be planned towards. That is just me though…what I do isn’t for everybody either.

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      • I’m of the opinion that it’s ultimately about what nets you the most fulfillment. We can’t help but be self-centered, and I think it’s important to honor that. By that I mean we don’t have to abuse or step on others, but it’s impossible to view the world with any lens that isn’t influenced by our specific values, specific background, and specific vantage in space and time. So if the plan is what makes you feel good, then that’s what you should do! Ironically, I’d go so far as to say even if the plan works 100%, it’s missing something crucial if it doesn’t make you feel good. If someone’s perfect at their tasks and doesn’t feel fulfilled, then it’s time to get a hobby, move on to something else, or introduce additional challenges to whatever they’re doing. Otherwise, it seems they tend to start acting out in unhealthy ways in order to introduce some kind of novelty into their life. I’ve seen it with top performers who end up doing illegal stuff on the side because they’re bored.

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  20. I don’t feel like there is a one size fits all approach to these types of situations. I think fulfillment comes in degrees and sometimes a person can decide that, even if they are not 100% fulfilled, they have reached the maximum amount of fulfillment possible for their own personal circumstances. And everyone handles things differently. For me personally, I learned some things from choices and mistakes I made when I was much younger. And now I am quite disciplined about the commitments that I make. For example, I kept all of the official rules of our former church publicly and privately until the day I let them know I was leaving… But most assuredly I had wanted to leave sometime before I did. I am not interested in the kind of dynamic in my life that comes from being exposed from that kind of acting up. When I left, I left with more than what I would have if I left when I originally wanted to. Sometimes the things I choose to do in life don’t feel good in and of themselves, I do them because it is what I perceive to be the right thing to do or the best choice at that particular juncture of my life, and there is at least some comfort and happiness of a certain level in fulfilling that.

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    • I’m on board with what you’re saying. It’s why I use the phrase fulfillment instead of gratification, and also why I add the qualifier “net” onto fulfillment. Sometimes fulfillment has to take a hit in the short-term to maximize the long-term. I guess another way of saying it would be a focus on long-term gain, or playing the long game. In my experience, that kind of view allows me to weave successes together and leverage them one on top of the other, instead of trying to grab whatever’s in front of me and clutch it as tightly as I can.

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      • I recognize the distinction you are making between the two words, though I think it is common to conflate to the two concepts- especially in the assumption that the one will lead to the other. Focusing on the long game is something I am used to doing… and I would say that I am currently doing in more than one area. Sometimes that is not easy to guarantee a desired outcome, as some outcomes are changed by things out of one’s control. But It is always better to have a chance at an outcome a person wants than to just throw their hands up in the air and give up, in my opinion…

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      • I think it’s a bit of a balancing act. Sometimes, I have been served well and throwing my hands up in the air and giving up; it unexpectedly led to a good outcome, or some much needed rest where I could gain some perspective and reassess things through a clear lens. Typically, though, I’m with you on doing things more for long-term benefit. Once again, it boils down to emotional intelligence imo. Intuition plays a big part of it for me.

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      • Right now, the only thing my intuition is telling me is that I should probably lay off the Ferrero Rocher…I recently got cleared to try and reintroduce hazelnuts back into my diet. That’s been going well and it’s a happy thing…until the calories set in and then it isn’t, lol! I think sometimes a reassessment rest is a valuable thing, though honestly it is very hard to find in my circumstances. Even the week I went into anaphylaxis at the onset of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and POTS, I didn’t get to take much time off. In less than 5 days I was needing to start being present to provide care and support for Tony. That is something I miss, the ability to just say I’m going to take some time and regroup or rest for myself, and while I have been trying to provide as many moments for down time as I can, there’s not a lot of wiggle room for that right now and not ever being able to fully recharge isn’t optimal for tuning into intuition or anything else. It is just something I have to make the best of…

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      • I hear you–I used to have a thing for nutella! No matter how far I stuck it back in the fridge, I’d find myself waking up in the middle of the night and eating spoonfuls of it! 😅

        As far as the breaks, I think when we do stuff out of necessity, our body is willing, even though it is uncomfortable. On the other hand, when I have forced myself to keep going out of ideals or something unnecessary, my body only tolerates it for so long before it forces a break.

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  21. I love, love, love Nutella 😍 literally I cannot be trusted with it, but I will still buy it for myself from time to time. One of the things that was harder for me when I developed mast cell activation syndrome was that my body was reacting to so many foods that I absolutely loved, it was an emotional blow as much as a change in life. My husband has described me as being a Spartan to some of his co-workers, but the truth is I can be almost hedonistic about certain things and eating can be a very pleasurable part of life. Until it isn’t… And then you have to grieve that and move on. Having my body calm down about almost all of the new food allergies it was reacting to has been such a gift to my ability to find happiness in life recently. Today I get to try and reintroduce sweet potatoes and I’m hoping that one goes well too, so far everything that has been reintroduced has 🤞 I also understand what you are saying about the body breaking. I think that is what has landed me here, I just didn’t have the ability to still break or take a break, though I tried to take as much as I could while I could in the form of not cleaning the house or doing less of our son’s habilitation therapy for the first year. I was still up taking care of him in the middle of the night and facilitating all of his other therapies, being the person that kept him safe within the community, and providing supports to everything our daughter needed… That’s just life. Sometimes you don’t get to break until you’re dead.

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    • Not that I’m rushing to get there, but I feel like it’ll be a relief, from what I’ve heard about near-death experiences. To me it makes sense–why go through the slog of life, most likely taking on more and more infirmity and damage, only to perpetuate that afterward? I like to think it’s like dropping a heavy pack after a long hike.

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      • Hmm. Well, honestly, I am in no rush to die. Even when I’m dealing with things I’d rather not. There are so many things that can make my soul glow still. And of course, now I worry about being here as long as I can for our son. Not that I don’t care as deeply for our sweet daughter, I do, but her ability to care for herself is and will be at a different capacity. My grandmother used to tell me that it was horrible to grow old because you watch all the people you love die, and I would always tell her “it’s better than the alternative, because then I’d be dead now.” And there are still things I want to be here to do and enjoy. Even when I feel ready to break, I’m not ready to put my pack down yet. So I fight for the best functionality I can have at any given moment and I fight for the time…

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      • That’s a good way to be! I’m kind of in the opposite circumstance, where I’m focused on making sure my mother has everything she needs and I’m always looking for ways to get more to her. It’s an interesting consideration from both perspectives…I’m actually kind of glad I outlived my dogs because I don’t think I’d want them to feel the sorrow I felt when they passed away. If I was a ghost and I saw my dog moping around my grave, I’d try and shoo him off and tell him to forget about me. 😅

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      • I can understand that thought. One of the things I find hard to think about often is how my children will feel when I am gone. Especially for our son…most people would not care for him the way I do. He’s known nothing but gentleness and love…and that is not what the world of care centers looks like, especially not for individuals who are nonverbal or whose first preference is to not cooperate. Hannah has recently said she will make sure he won’t go in one, but I have never put her up to that and I will never hold her to that. So I am doing what I can to give him as many skills as possible to make any outcome doable wherever he ends up needing to land. But of course, I am going to continue working towards being here for him and for Hannah as long as possible.

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      • That’s great! In my pattern-seeking mind, I can’t help but remember that you mentioned you wanted to be a mother ever since you were little. It sounds grueling, but it also sounds like you’re doing a great job, and also experiencing progress and some fulfillment!

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  22. I do genuinely love being a mother! Sometimes it is not just grueling, it comes with heartache. The ache of a parent for their child when something has happened that hurts them. I’m not really going to go into any detail, but yesterday our son’s ABA team let us know that they were going to formally recommend transitioning to a different organization for ABA. This process does not end there for me, so I’m not making any further comment than that. But that my son was devastated yesterday… Heartbreaking. Caused a POTS flare up too damn it, because this situation has caused considerable emotional stress for me. But I was talking to my husband yesterday, he knows that you and I chat in your comment section, and I was mentioning that one of the things you had shared that really resonated with me and I hadn’t often thought of it that way before is that sometimes when something happens not in a way we want it to, good things can still come from that and to be open to it. That’s my paraphrased version of it anyways. Right now I find that to be a gift to me to think upon that and think it could be… Take good care of yourself and thank you for chatting with me 💜

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    • Yes absolutely ABSOLUTELY good things can come of bad stuff. There’s a bit of a fine line to walk, because that can be used as an excuse to stifle negative emotions when they need to be expressed, but my opinion is after that initial negativity there’s going to be a lessening in intensity followed by a choice between acceptance and more negativity. That’s where people can choose to start moving back into positivity and hidden/unexpected opportunities, or keep things negative and close off their perception.

      My friend, a sales manager (different world than the much-publicized warehouse) was telling me he was investing a lot of time in coaching an employee at the company that shan’t be named. This is an easygoing office environment, but the employee is constantly down on himself (I suspect he is using public, unironic self-deprecation as a possible defense) and when given direct instruction, comes back with something completely different every time. My friend is fine with him being slow, but not with justifying a completely different course of action after direct, explicit instruction. He’s starting to initiate the process that leads to firing (it actually sounds pretty sweet–once they pass a certain line, they are offered 20k to be let go or they can try and improve in a month’s time). I told him some of the best days of my life are when I have gotten fired and divorced. With the offer to divorce, I knew it was a great thing right then and there, but with the firing, it took a little bit. So anecdotally, yes, I’ll definitely say that good things can happen from bad things, but it’s also important to allow that negativity to pass through and move into acceptance without weighing everything down with expectations. I’m rooting for you and your family!

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      • I do think moving into acceptance as quickly as possible is important in situations where you can’t control the outcome. Being open to the possibilities gives a person more options than clinging so tightly to the negative emotions that windows, doors, and opportunities are missed. Certainly it is frustrating if someone you directly supervise returns a different outcome every time. Back when I was still employed and not the fabulous stay-at-home mom I am today, I saw my work in the light of as long as what I was asked to do wasn’t illegal, my job was to deliver the best outcomes possible for my employer. I like to bring the happiness and more if possible than the value expected if I’m getting paid by some one. But yes, sometimes having the opportunity to be cut loose is a blessing. This situation that I am in, at this point as I have initiated a grievance process, I cannot comment as to what I think other than to say that I love both my children fearlessly, this wasn’t the outcome I wanted to see for anybody involved, and I am hoping the best for everybody involved now and when all of this is settled.

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      • Yes I agree. I have made the repeated mistake, however, of trying to force acceptance if that makes any sense. I logically knew that moving into acceptance was necessary, and the sooner the better, but it was simply a surface realization. I believe emotions are like muscles, and if they’re not moving in tune with your thoughts, then it just creates more tension and injury. So I would try to force myself into acceptance because it was logically the best place to be, but I would only get more negative because I wasn’t allowing my emotions enough room to naturally expand into it, if that makes sense..

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  23. I have a lot going on today and it’s a rough day for me to chat…but I want you to know that I did read this, and I’m going to try and have something more meaningful to say tomorrow. And, I am rooting for you also 🙂

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  24. I think this is an astute observation, the distinction between genuine acceptance and artificial acceptance. I agree with your assessment that it can create more emotional injury. I definitely have feelings I need to process… I am just a genuine, sometimes flawed human being over here trying to do the best I can in somewhat extraordinary and highly stressful circumstances. I am working on navigating that process as naturally as I can because I do agree, it has to be authentic. I needed to be held that first night, I am a person calmed by deep pressure. Self care remains a difficult balance and I imagine will for a bit, but I was rocking some pretty fabulous makeup yesterday and it was the closest I could come, so I’ll take it 😀 As I said, this is not a journey that is finished, so as it is an in process situation, that makes it hard to fully move into the acceptance phase because some of the variables remain unknown. But I accept that is the situation at least….take good care of yourself! 🙂

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    • Not to get too philosophical, but as I’ve stated before, I’m of the opinion that our divergent subjectivity is a giant part of objective reality, so I would go so far as to say that everything is authentic, but–not trying to lose the plot–I would say it’s preferable that your experience FEELS authentic. That’s not a correction, it’s the way I filter what you’re saying through my perception. TLDR:
      Just my opinion! 😅 And bottom line: I think you’re on the right track! Your life was meant to be lived by you, experienced by you, and enjoyed by you. Sounds common-sensical, I know, but I’ve all too often forgotten that for myself. 😅

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      • I live under such an antiquated rock of stress and crisis management that I actually had to look up what TLDR means …. 😳😵 Oh trust me, I am having all sorts of authentic feelings right now… But never ask a mother to elaborate when something is involving potential harms to one of their children. That really would lead to something that is too long to read 😅

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      • I’m constantly boning up on my lingo as well, lol! TikTok is the biggest channel for pop culture material, but I’m still not on it. 😅

        No worries on the mother stuff–it sounds like you care incredibly deeply, and that leads me to believe it truly is your calling for now. Not everyone finds a calling–I know people who have kids just because they don’t know what to do with their lives.

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      • The depth of my caring is an infinity of free falling. There is nothing more important to me than my children, the love I have for them and the love they have for me. It is indeed my calling for now. While it is true that there are many things I wanted from life, and some I gave up that mattered to me dearly, I made those sacrifices because of that prioritization I have for the well-being of my children. In any values-based decision, as long as they are mine to protect legally, that will outweigh any personal desire I have for myself.

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      • That’s one of the truest blessings you could ask for! I know people who have had more time and money than they knew what to do with, and they ended up wishing something bad would happen so they could have a purpose again. I get where they’re coming from, but I don’t believe folks need to be punished so they can enjoy a purpose.

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      • Yeah, literally I don’t get that either. I wish punishing circumstances would stop happening in my life, to be honest. I’m ready for less drama…I certainly don’t need it to feel like I have a purpose.

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      • Not to be arbitrarily contrarian, but I get it. When I’ve had good fortune dumped in my lap, I’ve made the mistake of not appreciating it and instead getting worked up about how I could configure it for more good fortune. More more more! The most striking anecdote I read was from hundreds of years ago, when a middle-aged king, fully acknowledging he’d had the best of everything, was saying he’d kept track of exactly how many days he’d been happy. I think it was something crazy like 14. Wish I could remember the name of that guy.

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      • Yeah, it’s true having more doesn’t equal happiness. I feel sometimes like I have to compartmentalize my days into moments where there are pockets of happiness. Right now, I’m watching my son try to eat apples while he swings at a park. It’s a pretty happy moment. And then I’m going to go home and deal more with some things that are not so happy. And, I woke up with a rash from who the heck knows what and popped a hive on my neck because high stress and mast cell activation syndrome don’t play well together. So perhaps while that wasn’t horrible, it wasn’t the happiest. Literally my health status is the only reason I’m stopping at a grievance at this point, because sometimes unhappiness needs to breed to protect others. But then I’m going to spend 40 minutes playing with colorful eyeshadows and just want to pop with the happiness of that, I know it. I feel like having the bar of happiness be set at an entire day is unnecessary and limits the definition of happiness experienced.

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      • Very true. I’m recovering from some skin stuff right now, and it definitely is a giant annoyance. With the moments where I feel no happiness, I try to daydream about things I like, or just be as easy as possible in whatever negativity I’m feeling. That eyeshadow sounds fun. I wonder what I’d look like in it! 😆

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      • I don’t even know what you look like and I literally can’t unsee that🤣 well, some of the looks I wear are not for the faint of heart. Either way, it’s subjective to you and subjective to other people… It’s more a matter of what you want to do or what you don’t want to do and what you are or aren’t comfortable with. I decided the first time I saw Labyrinth that I could be on board with a guy in eyeshadow… David Bowie looked hot in that movie! Just saying…

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      • It’d be fun letting more knowledgeable people mess with my looks. I’m too lazy to figure out what might be fashionable or how lines and colors work, but I do recognize it’s an in-depth art. I’m happy to offer my face–on with the eyeshadow! 🤣

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      • My honey prefers that the eyeshadow stays on me in this relationship, and there’s nothing wrong with that… But hey, maybe some of your lovely ladies would dig it is all I’m trying to say😁

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      • Well, I’m not lazy, but I think we can all agree by looking at me that fashionable is the least of my concerns 🤓 I just do whatever the fluff I want with my makeup unless I have to be in a professional setting, and then of course I respect the boundaries or norms of that environment. I’m sure you could probably sweet talk one of your gals into getting all artistic with your face 🤔 and one of them would probably be much easier to arrange that with, given where you live…

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      • I’m historically lazy about Halloween, so I think that would be a pretty fun time, LOL! Let the lady go nuts on my costume. Speaking of which, there’s a mile-long haunted house in Balboa Park that I might go to this year…I went almost ten years ago and it was pretty intense. One of the actors had to break character because some middle schoolers broke down. I managed to keep composed almost the whole way through until this ghoul-lady jumped out in front of me and went “BAH!” I recoiled and went “GAH!” then started laughing…😂

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  25. Well, some ladies would probably get pretty into that…just be warned, lol! For the past 10 years, holidays have been more stress than fun. My plate overfloweth with more than can be done, and holidays- despite the fact that I don’t consider myself to be lazy- just compound all of that for me. And now I just find myself dreaming of a time where I can actually get 8 hours of sleep (still only happens once or twice a year) or I can spend the whole day doing nothing without someone being sick. Well, and when people are sick I don’t get to sit around and do nothing, I just get to do less. Sometimes. I used to love to do corn mazes and things like that…now I’m just trying to get enough sleep and a few minutes of personal time so that I don’t go bonkers. I hope you enjoy your haunted house.

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    • We’ll see, I could take it or leave it, but if I go, it’ll have to be with some friends. Last time I went, it was with my ex and her friend and they were both screaming their heads off the entire time, which was half the fun. Also, it’s fun to get shit for succumbing to a jump-scare. 😅

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      • Yeah, I agree. These things are best with friends or people you love. I personally tend to prefer more corn mazes than haunted houses. Just… I’ve lived enough being scared in real life. I know people go through worse. I just don’t want to pay to make somebody scare me…

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      • Well, I used to be pretty good friends with one of the co-owners of fear farm out here. That was one of the relationships that didn’t survive becoming the mom of us severely disabled individual. I even did the teaching portion for their high school field trips one year, it was an absolute blast for me being able to be in costume, living my most dramatic public speaking life possible 😂I know that they used to offer an option for going through their maze with the haunted version and the unhaunted version. So I would say it depends on who is running the corn maze. Some places out here don’t want to deal with the budget for casting and a good makeup artist. We haven’t done a corn maze since our little man joined the family, I’m thinking we should be able to try it with him this year, But we would want to likely start out at the least crowded time…

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      • Sounds super fun! I remember when I went to a home-made haunted house and my friend’s mom passed around a bowl of peeled grapes and we all had to feel the “eyeballs.” As a kid, I was kinda unnerved. 🤣 Also, when I was a dogwalker, I knew a part-time actor who would take on seasonal work for haunted houses. She said people like me bring down the vibe because I don’t jump/scare easy. I thought I would be like a fun challenge, but I guess I can see that side of it too. 😅 What did you dress up as?

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      • Well, I will say their production definitely doesn’t have a home-made feel. They get very into props, high quality make-up, that sort of thing. At some points, they have had the best rated haunted house out here…and we live in substantial, interconnected metropolitan area. I didn’t get to be anything fun by most adult standards or even by mine…if I were planning on dressing up this year (which I’m not) I’d totally go for this costume I saw that was totally trying to give Maleficent vibes and is probably one of many vendors that has the Disney intellectual property rights team working non-stop. It had some cloth edited out in some areas and was much more colorful… But anyways, nope. They asked me to do something reminiscent of a Puritan-style…I made some modifications, but they were offering field trips during the day to any grade level, so that portion of their operations needed to feel appropriate for all ages. I still really enjoyed being able to do something that wasn’t so reserved or “professional” as training staff back when I used to work needed to be. In between groups, she and I would chat and our girls would play together (they have a kiddo that is very close in age to Hannah). I have nothing bad to say about the experience or her…sometimes life just isn’t easy to navigate, and what our life looked like after Tony’s symptoms started showing up just wasn’t something most of what our life used to look like wasn’t compatible with.

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      • I feel like Puritans could be ultra-scary! 🤣 Whenever horror movies start using religious stuff or babies it adds to the creepy! Still, I’m sure they wouldn’t have wanted you to make your eyes haggard and haunted and your face all sunken under a blood-stained bonnet, or start waving a rusty, old-school scythe around.

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      • Yeah, I was definitely asked to be the non-scary version. If there is such a thing. I think you’ve got a point that Puritans could be pretty scary just as they are… When a group decides that their own conviction of their holiness and rectitude entitles them to harm others who believe differently… What happens can be very scary indeed.

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      • Hmmm… Well, Heather and I were actually very good friends and she had seen how I handled Sunday school classes because we both went to the same church. She’s a member of our former church, or at least she used to be, I have no idea what her current status is. She knew how I handled public speaking, she knew how I handled children… She asked if I would be interested in helping out that season, and It was kind of something that yes they paid me for, but it was something I did for a friend more than anything else. Very much not in line with what my other work experience was except for the training/public speaking element, and I viewed it as my job was to give them exactly what they asked me to when it came to handling the school field trip groups and the presentation. As a business, they decided to stop offering field trips the next season. I had only agreed to help out for that one season anyways because, if I am recalling correctly, the person who used to handle that for them was unwilling to do it that year.

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      • Well it sounds like you enjoyed it…maybe it could be on your list of things to try once your schedule opens up. They should have haunted campgrounds…I went down a reddit rabbit hole on r/nosleep last night, reading about a search and rescue forest service officer who detailed all this crazy stuff they supposedly encountered out in the wild. Supposedly, there’s random sets of staircases built in the deep woods and they’re always clean like someone just dusted them. He said his supervisor was like “You’ll see a lot of those.” and “Don’t touch them or ascend them.” But then never explain why. One time, he ascended one and at the top, all background noise went strangely silent and he felt an intense feeling of him transgressing where he shouldn’t. When he went back to base, his superior gave him a dirty look and asked why he went up the steps. He was baffled as to how the superior knew, and was told that an ongoing search and rescue went wrong. Apparently, every time someone ascends the staircase, something terrible happens, the most dramatic was someone else said that they saw an ascender get their hand lopped off from something invisible, and then another ascender die on the spot from a burst blood vessel in their brain. I have no idea if it’s true or not, but it was imaginative enough to give me the creeps, and the nine-part reddit post is pretty popular. There’s other encounters with something humanoid that took “an impossibly long step” and started screaming at the officers when told to leave, as well as a humanoid made of meat and what looked like roadkill imitating sounds like zippers and other stuff. If I had to put money on it, I’d say it was made up, but like I said, it was imaginative enough to spark my imagination and give me the creeps. Anyway, haunted camp ground business–folks would love it! 😅

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      • Well, I think sometimes it is hard to wade into the stated experiences of others and come out convicted of the truth one way or another- if someone is of the mind to give any sort of credence to the possibility of that sort of thing. For people who are not, it’s a rather quick and easy answer.

        For me personally, I don’t enjoy scaring people. I had fun with that situation because I wasn’t expected to be part of the haunted division, though I respected the artistry of what they did and their passion for it. My passions involve helping people and fixing their stated problems. If they asked me for the latter that is. If they didn’t, experience has taught me that only leads to resentment…

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      • I wonder if you would enjoy working for Disney, if they had their work-culture shit together. They have an actual Maleficent somewhere in there I believe. I enjoyed working for a dog-walking company, but only for the dogs. I’m pretty sure I’m allergic to human organization at this point. 😅

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      • Well, from where I sit, many organizations have a work-culture problem of some kind. Generally, the work cultures aren’t designed to make employees happy or promote well-being or work-life balance, they are designed to be some sort of weird intersection between what maximizes profits and retaining enough warm bodies to do so… But, Disney could be fun, aside from that! Just not what I’m planning on doing once our little man is transitioned into school. I kind of get that allergic to human organization thing sometimes. Humans in a position that gives them any sort of power can be insecure creatures, and what flows from that can be difficult to navigate. I think it is nice to have community, but community is fragile and easily disrupted by anything whether it is a work -related community or a different type.

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      • I think it might be fun as well. I wouldn’t mind being a Stormtrooper telling kids to move it along, then hitting on their hot mom. 🤣 Also, it would be fun to exercise the witty repartee muscle. When I was younger and I wanted to talk with people, I got good at casual banter, but it’s kind of restrictive. It’d be nice to try it in a goofier, fun-oriented environment.

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      • Well, I think you would certainly have a much better shot at being a stormtrooper than I would ever have at being a Maleficent there. I have long known that they have certain age and weight and size requirements for their female character actors, in addition to wanting an overall authenticity to the character physical appearance. I’m a 46-year-old curvy AF woman… Disney would be fun, but I am not their cup of tea for that kind of hire. So… other plans it is 😁

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      • Well, I have heard they kick adults out of the park if they come in costumed. I don’t think they want any confusion between the staff and the guests for the little ones… And as God awful expensive as it has become to go to one of the parks… Probably wouldn’t be my first choice to try to provoke that kind of confrontation. Actually, as much as I enjoy the parks when they are not crowded, the way they are currently running their pricing models is designed to make it high crowd all year round, and what they replaced the fastpass with, honestly… It seems kind of like a scam to me that isn’t actually doing anything other than providing Disney with a monetary benefit, because from what I’ve read it’s not actually adding any value to the customer experience. So … I actually have no plans to visit their parks anytime soon.

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      • The part of me who can remember what it’s like not to think like a parent thinks that’s hilarious. The part of me who took our daughter there for the first time when she was only four… Has some sympathy for not wanting to expose a younger child to that.

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      • Funny, but totally not the point dude! First of all, my girl never would have done that, she walked into that park for her first visit dressed as Ariel and I think that says it all. Second, a lot of younger children would be traumatized by seeing that, and as a parent I can sympathize with other parents who would not want their kids to be seeing that at a young age. Really it depends on the child, and their comfort level and what they’ve been exposed to. I’m about to be out doing therapy work with Tony right now and one of my modules has a pausing and waiting for 1 minute and 45 seconds outside of houses with Halloween decorations. He won’t look at the houses with the scarier ones, and that’s okay. I’m not expecting or forcing him to. But when he was younger, he would have the panicked and bolted away from that type of scene, not just turned his back on it and patiently waited.

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      • I think I can relate. When I was little, I remember my dad watching the Incredible Hulk on TV, and it scared the crap out of me. I hid behind the recliner and peered at the Hulk from around the edge. 😅

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      • Exactly! For many parents, a trip to Disneyland isn’t easily affordable. Actually, I rather suspect many people who go there put it on a credit card that they’re paying exorbitant amounts of interest on. Generally nobody wants to pay that kind of money and end up with a kiddo who is traumatized by the experience. Well, we all know there are some people that have no problem traumatizing their kids, and sometimes children can be extremely frightened by otherwise innocuous things and that is outside of anybody’s control. But in general…

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      • Yeah. I am not going to disagree with that. One would expect that a vacation would be a time to relax. But, if you are a parent going to Disneyland… not really. Especially if your kids have certain expectations for how things are going to go. I somehow managed to sweet talk my husband to go on our honeymoon, and we went the next year. I used to be quite a big fan of the parks. We had to cancel the year after that because my grandmother passed away around the time we were planning on taking the trip, and then Life just gets carried away with you. The trips with my husband were a blast. I didn’t even mind waiting in line because we cuddled and chatted. It’s not that the trips with my kids weren’t good, it is a beautiful thing to see joy in the eyes of a child when it is there. For Tony, it was a lot of therapy work to get him through the parks, I don’t think we could right now because we’ve lost a lot of his crowd tolerance from the pandemic. He never really enjoyed them, and trying to get Hannah the experience she wanted after his symptoms started showing up… I would rather stay home. Especially the trip where we had security asking us to take him out of the apartment if he woke up before 5:00 a.m. because just him running around on the floor was upsetting the people underneath us. The trip I took with just her and I was lovely, but then For me I felt the guilt of getting away and being able to relax, which felt so foreign for those 3 days because I had completely gotten out of the habit of being able to do that. I feel like some of the food is decent, some of it is mediocre and all of it is higher price than what it’s worth. I love eating at the Blue bayou because of the atmosphere, but Hannah and I felt when we were there on our last trip that they were so busy trying to rush us out to maximize the number of people they could get in there that it kind of ruined the experience. I feel that’s a good summation of what’s going on with how they’re trying to run their business model right now for me. They are trying to maximize things for them, But for somebody spending their money, The experience that’s getting returned just really isn’t worth it most of the time anymore for me personally.

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      • Well I’m glad you got some pleasant memories out of it! I remember being astonished by how tasty a churro was when I was a kid, then I remember faux-gourmet stuff making the rounds when I was older. The turkey legs looked and tasted pretty good! I’m pretty sure it’s changed a lot since I’ve gone. I only remember one star wars ride both times, but since then, they’ve acquired lucasfilm and marvel. I have a feeling I’ll eventually make my way back there some day.

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      • Definitely the parks have changed a lot over the years, and they are going to continue to do so… Sounds like it’s not really your thing though and that’s okay 😊 I Don’t even think it’s my thing right now based on what you get for what you spend…

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      • I dunno…I used to have some stupid macho thing about crazy rides, but I don’t think I would enjoy those anymore. However, it seems like they’ve built ones with more narrative and special effects, and I would be interested in those. It also might be one of the few times I could stand being around kids (I love when people get excited, which is the only reason I’d go to opening night of a nerdy movie in a theater) but I’d probably get super tired, super fast. 😅

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  26. All of the therapy programs that were designed to help Tony handle the parks for our trips were created and run by me under his hab therapies. Whitney and then Emily helped me run them when they were his hab therapists, Now it’s just me. Literally, at this point I prefer to focus any programming I am creating and running towards helping him to be successful in a school environment. Any incoming ABA team is going to be focused on structured tasks in the clinic setting, and really I think it is for the best that his public programs stay with me at this point because my daily involvement and observations makes me best suited to recommend what Are the safest things to be going on in those settings. I don’t even think I would want to undertake the effort right now for amusement park work with him. I do not have the energy I did a few years ago since developing mast cell activations syndrome and POTS. I think once he is in a school environment and doing well there, it would be a lot easier to tackle and maybe, maybe if it was extremely important to Hannah I would go there. But she also was disenchanted after our last visit, so probably whatever programming I did would be geared towards getting us through a different venue…

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      • Yes, it’s a lot of hard work, and it requires considerable patience. By itself this is overwhelming. This has not been by itself, so I have been deciding what fires to put out based on the urgency thereof. Right now, I focus on what is most needed for this moment in time. The rest, who knows? We shall see.

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      • And I also have to add, there are a lot of variables that could impact everything that happens here. While from the family’s perspective the level of therapeutic support provided by the outgoing ABA team has been suboptimal since the start of the pandemic, and downright detrimental to Tony’s progress starting in April (though we were certainly trying to do our best to work with them through that), It is going to take a lot of creativity on my part to try to find a way not to have a regression in his ability to work with others at this point. We might not be able to get anybody to replace them because the area we live in is the part of the metro area has relatively few providers compared to the amount of need in the area. And for me, I’m feeling a little gun shy. The last thing I need for my own personal stress level is another provider that will not listen to the input of the family, that will not listen to the therapeutic history, and will not listen to his other therapy and medical providers. Literally it is impossible to get good results without that in this situation, and I don’t want to have to be locking horns with another person that thinks it is more important for them to come in and just dictate and be perceived as an expert (regardless of whether or not what they are offering is beneficial in the particular circumstances) than to actually help the individual or their family with what is really needed. From my perspective at this point, it could be significantly better for his progress not to have to fight that battle, but it could mean that I’m going to need to get him moved into a school environment as quickly as possible so that he has continued experience generalizing cooperation to other people as quickly as possible. I have probed exactly the areas that we are going to need to expand his tolerance on quickly to support that, but knock on wood some of it is going to require cooperation from our local school district… Which is a variable completely outside of my control. So, we shall see…

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      • I know it might seem counterintuitive, but it sounds like you’ve taken all the necessary steps. At those types of junctures, I believe it’s important to realize that and regulate stress as the process continues. You got this!

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  27. 🤣 LMAO about the rides comment… when I was a little girl, I had motion sickness bad enough to require medication. That subsided shortly after I started doing gymnastics… So I spent my teenage years and into my 30s just loving the roller coasters…and then who knows what switched, but… it’s not quite as enjoyable at this point for me either. I do very much enjoy their narrative rides though, and the roller coasters in short doses 😅 in terms of a nap on crisp sheets, that kind of gives me a throwback memory to when my grandmother would have me remake my bed at her house over and over again because it wasn’t quite precise enough, I don’t know. She was an army nurse. I know she loves me and would not be rolling around in her grave (or even surprised for that matter) to hear this, but I as a grown up do not like to make my bed and generally don’t. Only if I had a mate who cared would I go to the effort. So crisp sheets… probably not. More like velveteen weighted blankets and throw pillows😄 And… I am trying to regulate the stress. Trying. I am only human, and just trying to do the best I can with some things that have been pretty tough for me and some of this has been going on for years. Right now, I’m going through the motions because I can’t feel the stress relief, but I know eventually I will. I will be fine. I always am…

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    • I’m with you on the bed-making. Nothing better than plopping down in a big mess o’ softness. For some reason, I appreciate the neatness of hotel beds, but I promptly rumple everything up and I refuse maid service. 😅

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      • I don’t refuse maid service anymore… I used to, because I just prefer my privacy in some things. It’s not that I want a freshly made bed, it’s that any trip with Tony generates enough trash it needs to be taken out daily and whoever handles the daily trash for me deserves a tip 😅

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      • Hmmm. The question of what a person deserves is tricky- it depends on who you ask. I don’t require the finest of anything, though I do have some pretty fabulous eyeshadow products. I am a lucky woman that way, though yesterday I reached for middle of the line stuff in teals, blues, sage greens, and lots of glitter…and I don’t think a single person knew the price point of any of it to look at me. I can make some pretty mediocre or even downright crappy eyeshadows look pretty damn fabulous…it’s a matter of how much work a person is willing to put into something. That is usually the question behind what someone does for anything or anybody. But at the end of the day, if all of that vanished but I still had people around me who loved me, I’d be enriched in all the ways that matter most.

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      • I can somewhat relate, I think. My books haven’t yielded millions like I originally hoped for, but I gradually realized that writing them gave me a sense of fulfillment, adventure, and unfolding possibility. Sometimes, I even like to read them. 😅

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      • I think the key to happiness in anything is focusing on following the fulfillment…and for me personally, there’s a point at which extra numbers in my accounts wouldn’t enhance that one bit.

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      • Yeah, I remember when people got all excited when the lottery hit one billion dollars. I was thinking why is that different than tens of millions? What lifestyle change would be so significant that a billion dollars would be that much more exciting than the typical jackpot?

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      • Hm. Well, I don’t understand why anybody gets excited about the lottery. The odds are not in anyone’s favor, strictly speaking, it’s just a money suck for the vast majority of people who participate. Obviously a few people do win at some point, but far more people just go on loosing and loosing small bits of weekly money that adds up over time…just my opinion, though.

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      • I believe it’s the idea that everything can drastically change in a positive direction in an incredibly short period of time. Knowing that kind of thing is possible can be pretty uplifting; people love stories about folks who beat the odds.

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      • Perhaps. I watched my mom buy a minimum of one ticket every week pretty much my entire childhood and adolescence. She never won anything. So it is easy for me to reflect that the same amount of money applied to something else might have produced something more beneficial in the long run…says the woman with the massive eyeshadow collection. I suppose we all have our blind spots…

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      • I try not to keep score and focus more on whether it’s fulfilling and/or enjoyable, simply because our lives don’t seem based on a quantifiable measure. By that I mean that our most rigorous measurements seem to reach no conclusion other than we’re pretty insignificant in the vastness of existence, and that uncertainty reigns when we study the fundamental building blocks of reality. Lottery or eyeshadow, I say if it gives you a nonsensical sense of fulfillment in our seemingly nonsensical existence, then go for it!

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      • And… I’m just going to add, I used a cheap ass frosted pink Milani lipstick yesterday. Totally hate their eyeshadow formula, but… their lip products are decent. I am not one to pay high quality prices when I can get a drugstore product that does the job and nobody can tell where it came from one applied…one of my favorite mascaras costs less than $8 at Ulta. Sure, Charlotte Tilbury has a great mascara…but literally nobody I know can tell the difference between the cheap one and hers on my face. I think what people deserve is to know 1) they don’t really need those products to have true beauty, and then next 2) what products at the cheapest price point possible will help them achieve their desired effect if they still do want to use a bunch of products. I like a bunch of products, that’s my style… But I don’t know that I deserve it 🫣 I don’t not deserve it either… that’s just what I enjoy and what I am able to do in my life right now.

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      • Well…I don’t know as I would go so far as to say it doesn’t hurt anybody. The ethics of product sourcing and manufacturing…sometimes those are murkier ponds that the average consumer doesn’t look into, but doesn’t change the fact that those practices still brought the product to the shelf…where my purchase unfortunately just helps perpetuate that. To be honest, I’m just a woman trying to stay sane in my own circumstances, so I mostly try not to think about that because literally if I thought about every person that got hurt along the way for the products our family uses I’d loose it (I can get carried away by other people’s emotions and suffering pretty easily), so I have to put a mental block on it for my own ability to function and have well being where I’m planted, because the system is far too big and evolved for me to have any sort of impact on it. Even if I stopped buying everything our family uses…I’m a speck of sand here so to speak, nothing more.

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      • There’s a philosophical balance that arises, for sure. By default I’m killing microbes and whatnot just by existing, but at what point does it cross into cruelty? That’s the question that needs to be constantly explored with each new development.

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      • I think the question of cruelty is a relevant one. I think the average consumer certainly isn’t actively cognizant of what practices might have brought certain goods onto their local store shelves and is such isn’t actively emoting that. But, somewhere, there are people involved in the production process of certain goods and services that could be considered exhibiting that. Humans have a long history of exploitative behavior, and that hasn’t stopped. I read a recent article, for example, about the work conditions and pay for employees at factories producing goods for Shein. I think someone taking advantage of someone to the point of paying them 4 cents per garment and employees needing to wash their hair on the job because of the long hours sounds like it involves some cruelty somewhere along the way. I’ve sewed clothing before, and literally 4 cents per garment wouldn’t cut it. While some things take longer to sew than others, and certain things might work up in under half an hour, I worked on a bridesmaid dress once that I was sewing…hours, literally that thing took hours between the cutting, sewing, etc. Even 4 cents for half an hour is…yeah, probably shouldn’t get me started. I killed a bot fly on my ceiling the other night and felt guilty. Killed it because literally I’m not interested in anyone in our household becoming a host, but…I’ve known this about me since the first time I killed a spider as a little girl. I don’t feel comfortable hurting things or people, I will do it if I have to, but I don’t have a comfortable relationship with the fact that many of the things we purchase spawned from a murky pond of exploitation. End of soapbox rant…

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      • I’ve seen the videos of bot flies hatching from mice. No thank you! But to further expand the philosophical rabbit hole, maybe the bot fly wanted to die. I’ve often thought about conditions where I would easily pick death over life, one of them being if I was attracted to children. I just want to point out that cruelty may not equate to death. As far as horrible work conditions, I hope those resolve in the future, and that anyone stuck in them finds their way into something better.

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      • I watched the bot fly for a few moments to make sure my ID was correct before I killed it. Something had impaired the functioning of it’s nervous system (we don’t spray for bugs, but many of the people around us do). So possibly, but still I felt what I felt…sometimes it is hard for a person to find their way into something better when that is everything that is around them. Right now, it’s a problem above my pay grade and situation in life grade, but I still care about it. Many more people will have to care before anything gets done to improve things like that.

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  28. And yet, even my compassion has its limits. That botfly still ended up getting whacked by a fly swatter, and I would have done it even if it wasn’t showing signs of neurological impairment. I’ve seen videos of botfly larvae in humans 😱 No thank you! So, what was your inspiration for the Enhancile? I think I got that right…. It’s early, one of my kiddos has been sick, I’m currently going through a bit of stress in other areas, and what meager amounts of caffeine I can consume have yet to enter my system…so if I messed the name up, begging your pardon…

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    • It makes me wonder how weird and gross things would look at a microscopic level in our bodies. I just saw a cool computer animation of sperm getting attacked by a woman’s immune system on reddit, which was pretty riveting.

      The term Enhancile came from an early 2000s comic named Global Frequency from one of my favorite comic authors Warren Ellis. It didn’t mean anything crazy in the comic, it simply described a woman with a bionic arm, but it did go into cool detail about how they had to reinforce her spine and whatnot in order to hold up the arm and keep her body functional. In Echo, a predominant theme is the inner versus outer and how extremism leads to suffering, so while Atriya and the Crusaders are piling stuff onto their outer bodies like linkups, armor, and Exos, the Enhanciles are going the other way and surgically destroying themselves.

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      • Well, based on a video I’ve seen one would not need a microscope to see what botfly larvae do to a human host by the time they are detectable. Thanks for sharing what you did about the Enhancile, I found it an interesting visual with a wolf head and all those extra rows of teeth, coupled with freaky long black nails and the height… I’m very visual, though I’m not sure the picture I created in my head is the same as the picture you imagined, but I thought it was an interesting concept. I may look at the comic you mentioned later, hard to say, I need to get going… take good care of yourself 😊

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      • I was still pretty new at writing when I wrote the about the wolf-enhancile, so it’s hard to remember the nuances of what I wanted. However, I do remember I wanted it to give off the feel of unstoppable physical brutality. Thanks to the first Matrix being seared into my brain from when I saw it in a mostly empty theater on opening day at 17 years old, I always try to create an escalation in action–Atriya goes from a knife fight to linkups to enhanciles to (no spoilers). Kinda like Neo went from martial arts to gun-fu to helicopter gatling guns to going one on one against Agent Smith.

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      • Well, I do think you succeeding in conveying the feeling of brutality for sure. Quite difficult to stop perhaps, but given how it ended up, not entirely unstoppable 😉 It has been such a long time since I saw the Matrix, I very much enjoyed it when it came out. Sometimes it’s not the easiest to find bigger blocks of time to watch anything with theming that isn’t Tony friendly right now (sometimes we put something on the phone when he’s in the room, but we have to be careful about that because of how good his hearing is, it can be easy to get sloppy, especially if I think he may not understand the sounds, but he can pick up on anger and those types of things in people’s voices even if he can’t see what’s going on, and some action sounds are pretty intense, so…generally, it’s mellower stuff when I’m with him). I feel like I’m still going to be singing along to veggietales songs when I’m 50 and beyond, lol! He’s very specific in what he likes…perhaps that will be different when he’s in school, but honestly I may just choose to spend my time focusing on something else other than movies… time will tell, but I think that is likely.

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      • Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise. You may be experiencing richer entertainment through books than people who watch a ton of movies. Or maybe you could sharpen up your dance skills while singing along to veggie tales! I would definitely do that if I was in your position.
        😁 I’ve started gravitating toward tamer stuff lately. The Great British Baking Show has been a daily thing. Their propaganda is working–one of these days I’m going to learn how to make a tasty dessert roulade. 😅

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      • I watch that show sometimes with Hannah! Literally, I cannot take up baking right now (I used to bake, in my pre-therapy queen days though). But for right now? Nope. Maybe if I were strength training heavily again, but even though I joke about carbs, there’s a limit on how many I can have, my metabolism has definitely taken a hit with perimenopause. And I have my own preferences and limits for me and what I want for myself. But we still enjoy watching backing shows… For the most part, veggietales isn’t what I would enjoy dancing to, but Tony does usually come to me, make eye contact, and touch my cheek when one of the Lord of the Beans songs comes on. He loves to hear me butcher an imitation of the elf princess telling Larry’s character off, and I love that he likes to interact with me, so I will do that sort of thing with him during veggie tales songs. He likes it when I play hymns sometimes too, and will do the same thing with making eye contact and touching my cheek, though I don’t get to practice as much as I used to so it isn’t always as great a listening experience for him as it used to be. I’ve been practicing more lately because it helps calm me internally, so I’ve not been abusing his ears as much on some of the songs, LOL! I focus on my sight reading when I’m practicing, and that can lead to some mistakes for me, because my fingers don’t always line up with what my brain is seeing right away….

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      • That’s super sweet! You could probably tease a good story out of that if you wanted to.

        I think the hardest part of baking for me would be all the kneading and gripwork, to include the delicate decorations. I already wear carpal tunnel braces while I’m writing, baking would have to be carefully integrated. But it would be fun dropping random baked goods off for people to enjoy. I just finished the season with Ruhul and it had a brief shot of him leaving a cake for a security guard and it stuck with me. Cakes and pasta for me are usually disappointing–most restaurants overcook pasta and throw al dente out the window, and most cakes are too moist, I’m always looking for a cake that will measure up to the slices at whole foods or a safeway birthday cake–so it’d be nice to get it done to my satisfaction and drop them off as random gifts.

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      • I hear carpal tunnel can be tough. I think you have the right attitude, in that for many physical challenges there can be a work around. I have arthritis in my wrists from my time in gymnastics and have since I was a teenager, and it’s kind of like my birth defect in my mind…yes, it makes some things harder, but ways can often be found. I used to love dropping off baked goods to people…now my social circle is soooo much smaller, and I can’t even imagine having the time right now. I can barely imagine what it would be like being able to go back to doing that. I used to crochet people gifts, hand paint their birthday cards…now I buy them gift cards and pretty much very few people manage to get even so much as a birthday text from me. Sad, but true and I have to own it. I’m doing the best I can in my circumstances, but it’s often not enough for social niceties. Food texture is one of those things…I will tell you it’s an area I have some issues, like literally I cannot handle the texture of tofu that is not fried or egg whites (raw or cooked)…it will make me gag, and if I continue trying to eat them, vomiting is a real possibility. But it is good I can know what that is like, it makes it easier for me to understand Tony’s reactions to things, though certainly his experiences are far more extreme. I think everybody has things they like with textures, I personally enjoy softer (but not mushy) pasta and moist (but not soggy) cakes. Preferences will vary, that is of course the lovely thing about cooking for yourself…you can make things to suit yourself 😀

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      • I tried for a while to learn how to do a planche (eventual goal was planche push up), but it was just too hard on my wrists. I got up to a thirty second tuck planche without my knees on my elbows with a thirty pound weight vest on, but no further. Can’t imagine using my wrists to cushion full-body impact and whatnot, gymnastics sounds brutal!

        I’m a big fan of the natural flavor that comes from dough, so I like my pasta to be al dente with the salt boiled in beforehand. It’s like a good piece of bread that already has enough butter and salt and is cooked to the just-right texture of crispy on the outside, airy and chewy on the inside. You don’t need extra butter, or if you do, very little. It’s the same with noodles for me–I like to enjoy the noodle first, then have olive oil and very little sauce to go along with it. I’ll also throw in a smatter of sauteed vegetables to complement the noodle flavor. Too many places drown their pasta in sauces and lose the flavor of their noodles.

        Six years ago, I experimented with a raw egg phase, where I was drinking eighteen raw eggs a day for awhile. You probably wouldn’t have wanted to see me do it. 😅

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  29. Well, I used to be a fan of doing one handed back walkovers and flip flops and cartwheels…did aerials too, but…I think it was probably the combination of the pounding from tumbling with one or both hands that did it…I liked to do tumbling. I was told that also contributed to how rapidly my birth defect deteriorated… it is what it is. I will tell you, pasta is and always has been one of my favorite foods…while I like different sauces, one of my favorite ways to eat it is with a little bit of vinegar, olive oil, salt, halved cherry tomatoes, and herbs. But especially right now given how many antihistamines I am on with the Mast cell activation syndrome stuff, I tend to prefer a pasta with high fiber, like one that comes from lentils, now that I can do those again. And you know, what other people do with their eggs…I can handle that. I’ve even cooked eggs for those I love… My primary love language for expressing and feeling love tends to be service, though I recognize that isn’t always what it is for other people so I try to adapt to that. But I have cooked eggs (though it’s not one of my better dishes I am sure), I just can’t eat them…

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    • I used to be able to do an aerial cartwheel as a teenager, and I had nailed the b-twist a few times before I joined the military. I wish I had been a breakdancer; it’s on my list of to-dos after I get some stem cell shots for my joints.

      The vinegar in pasta is interesting…I’ve never had that, but I can see how it makes sense. I’ll have to try it one of these days!

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      • I really don’t qualify as anybody’s food inspiration, that’s Martha’s department… But if I were to recommend a vinegar with the setup I described above, I would go with balsamic with the fresh tomatoes and herbs. I think it pairs especially well with salt, basil and oregano, but… Food things are often a personal preference thing.

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      • Martha’s department scares me! 😂 That mix sounds savory and delicious; I’m a big fan of basil and oregano. But once again, I feel like only a little bit of sauce, because otherwise the sugary tomato sour drowns everything out.

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      • Aw, is she still pounding on you big guy? 🤣 I’m a fan of savory, but the great thing about making something like that for yourself is you can adjust what you use to your own preferences for the amount. I honestly find I enjoy being able to cook something at home more than a restaurant in that regard. I don’t have to stress about them contaminating my food with something I’m allergic to, and I can prepare it to my own specifications. It can be pretty disappointing to pay for a dinner in a restaurant and leave feeling like you could have made better at home for cheaper, but that’s often what I end up feeling….

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      • My uniform of the day is a ballgag, assless chaps, and a helicopter beanie hat. 🤣 I hear you. Nothing worse than when a fancy-pants restaurant lets you down. At the same time, if I find a delicious restaurant, one of my greatest joys is hyping it up to my friends, bringing them there for a meal, and watching their expressions as they realize how delicious it is.

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      • 🤣🤣🤣 That’s quite the image, pretty sure it’s the helicopter beanie cap that perfects it 🤣 That’s pretty cool you think of your friends that way… I don’t get to do “fancy” places often these days. It’s part of what came with the “life shall turn you into a therapy Queen” package…that, and years upon years worth of leggings, tank tops, running shorts… At least I have graduated from needing to wear the diagnosis-based public therapy shirts. If I actually got to pick something else for clothes, my mind almost couldn’t handle the return of options at this point it’s been so long🤯

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      • One of my dreams in life is to be a year-round, random-strike Secret Santa. I just read about Lee Childs who does the charity thing and whatnot, but he also randomly does stuff like give 20 grand to an ex-con with health problems who can’t afford the treatment. Whether you like it or not, you’ve made my roster, and a big break from therapy Queen shall be at the top of the list!

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      • Nah, don’t even worry about it! Life beat you to it on Wednesday… It’s called a sinus infection, and nobody but me had to spend any money or time to deliver that. Except, rats, it didn’t come with a significant amount of time off from therapy, didn’t come with more sleep, came with excess crankiness ….🤔 Ok, but there was still less therapy so that’s kind of a break 😅 Life has given me mixed parts of challenges and capabilities…. What happens can often be the balance of that, but I think I will be just fine 🤞

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      • I think so too! Sounds like things have been gradually getting better for you, and it looks like you had fun trick or treating with your son. I haven’t been trick or treating since middle school! 😅

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      • I’m actually just so grateful the sinus infection hit after trick or treating 😅 Really, it was everything, that experience. No pushing, no eloping, no self-harming, no distress…50 minutes where he demonstrated a higher level of tolerance for a lot of noise, a lot of everything combined with a near ideal level of functionality. It was a beautiful experience, and it’s just a taste of other things in the future that we will see with him in public spaces, I know it.

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      • Man, I loved that you got that! I’m a fan of random gifts, but I also love when people get unexpected relief as well and get to truly enjoy themselves for a while! What a great marker of progress!! 😊

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      • Honestly, this is where I hoped for us to be progress-wise about two and a half years ago, but we got hit with a lot of pandemic related setbacks, setbacks related to my healthcare needs, several other significant issues that I’m just not even going to go into, and up until May I had to keep my efforts for his public and community safety work coordinated with the views of the outgoing ABA team… And honestly, it has been a lot better for Tony’s progress not having that particular team involved in that therapy work. It was a beautiful moment Halloween night, truly, but every such beautiful moment takes a great deal of work to get us there. I am hoping to build many more beautiful moments… But building it will most certainly be.

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      • Alright, I’m going to strive for something that might fail at brevity, but hopefully won’t rival the Grand Canyon in length. So, I honestly didn’t really know which part of me wanted to respond to this in the morning, but the flippant side clearly won out initially. But, because you have been so very kind in consistently chatting with me, I don’t want to come across like a total witch. Here’s the thing. I didn’t really know how to take what you said, but I will tell that the best gift anyone can ever give me is just to care about me as a person and be present in my life. I don’t really look for or expect anything else. I stopped looking for help I couldn’t provide myself a long, long (like really long) time ago…literally the only person I consistently trust to be there for me is me at this point. Other people may mean well, they may even love me depending on the individual, but sometimes they have their own challenges and might not be available to help me when I need that kind of support. There is no genuine justice in many official support systems that claim to have it, so really I don’t even expect help and support from the very agencies that claim their aim is to be providing that sort of thing. So, I honor your intentions, and promise to never expect anything of the sort to actually happen. I don’t mean that to be dismissive, its just a break of any kind, it’s just not what I would expect from or look for from anyone at this point. Life is hard sometimes. I’ve seen that, I’m sure you’ve seen that…but I still have it better than probably billions of people on the planet. If that isn’t a break, I don’t know what is. Take good care of yourself 🙂

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      • Nah, I get it. It’s really just a me-thing. I like seeing people unexpectedly surprised by a joyous development. There’s know way to know what happens to a gift after you give it, whether it lives up to the expectation you’ve built in your mind for its use, or whether the recipient feels the same sense of value from it as the giver. I think trying to control those things is kinda futile and ends up in frustration. I just like seeing the unexpected delight. I’m pretty sure that’s why I like Great British Bakeoff so much. They’re so happy to be there, so happy that their food tastes good. Probably a lot of editing that doesn’t reflect the reality, but I guess I’m trying to edit reality in my own way, if that makes sense. 😊

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      • I don’t think it’s just a you thing. I love seeing the people around me happy… You’re talking to a woman who when asked what she wanted for her birthday said I want to see my children happy, let’s take them to the Phoenix Children’s Museum… It is a gift to be able to bring happiness into the life of another. I do not get to do nearly the things I would have wanted to or hoped to or even used to when it comes to that… but I can understand in my own way where you are coming from 💜

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      • That’s so heartwarming! I used to think I was the same way, but I realized my urge to serve others came more from my personal insecurity (gotta prove I’m a good person to others) than a true desire to serve. I still enjoy doing things for people, and I don’t think I’m sociopathic or selfish, but I do think that direct outward service is not my true calling; it doesn’t energize me at a soul-deep level. I think it’s awesome that it’s truly your thing!

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      • I don’t think anybody’s heart should be warmed one way or another by how I am. I have had to learn to set some boundaries because that desire to serve can go into unhealthy places and I can end up getting very wiped out and depleted on the inside. And then there are other times where I am so beset by my own personal crises and the fact that for the last several years there hasn’t really been any good way for me to set some important boundaries with that, and my own critical emotional needs are going unmet for such a long period of time sometimes, it’s like my head is so far shoved in the “I can’t see your problems right now sand” that the people around me wouldn’t recognize my love of serving as an accurate descriptor of me in that moment. And I have other darker moments where I’m so saddened by the lack of compassion I see around me that I find myself thinking it’s not such a bad thing we as a species seem so bent on self-destruction. In general, it is true of me that I have a genuine love of service and a genuine love of easing people’s burdens. But it is not true every moment of my life, and in order to keep things healthy for me, it shouldn’t be true every moment of my life.

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      • I agree. Writing is definitely my calling, but when I was first starting out, I was killing my wrists and night vision because I was glued to the monitor for way too long. I think even with a calling it should come with boundaries. Because I think ultimately, although it might sound a little weird, our highest calling is to net enjoyment and fulfillment out of this life, not to do a particular activity 24/7. The activity is simply a stepping stone.

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      • Well, I can agree to setting boundaries, and I do try…but…my circumstances don’t usually allow for me to set all of the boundaries I need to. The only choice I could make that would change that for now would be one I can’t emotionally make, I know I would never want to be in that type of facility (and how far our son has come does indeed demonstrate that if another person is willing to pay a price, many individuals can be helped to learn skills that would keep them out of such a place), so…boundaries are a nice, often more theoretical concept than they should be in my life right now. Sometimes life doesn’t let me do optimal “healthy,” so…I just go for the “good enough” model.

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      • I think “good enough” is ironically “perfect.” To spin way off into a metaphysical standpoint, an omnipotent, omnipresent, omnitemporal being has no challenge, nowhere to go, and has nothing to look forward to (they’re unstoppable, everywhere, and every when all at once). “Good enough” is the attitude that allows Its self-limited fragments (us) to appreciate the journey, to work through the challenge and adventure given unto Itself, and to appreciate Its brief stint as a fragmented being. Often, metaphysical perspective applied to practical troubles can seem insensitive and silly, so I apologize if that’s how all that comes off. But I wanted to say (possibly in the most spacey way possible), that I think “good enough” is exactly right. I could also back it up with all the practical, hardcharger, the-world-isn’t-fair rationale that you’ve probably heard from a bunch of other folks, but it kind of wears on me after awhile. I think you’re doing great! 😊

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      • Did you know, the DDD employee who was acting as our son’s support services coordinator during the disputed time period for his age 6 renewal told me in person that he questioned whether or not they should be spending money on my son’s therapy? He told me he thought an inpatient psych facility might be more appropriate…and to this day, that person is lucky I don’t have a recording of that. Most people who look at me think I’m either batshit crazy for what I am doing or they want to put me on some sort of pedestal that I should have never been on for doing it. Where he is right now…I have always known he could be here, because I pay attention to all the little details of what he does and I see something in that of what the differences could be between his capabilities and his willingness to participate/cooperate. I think you are a person who has no reason to chat with me and does so anyway, and that makes what you say qualify under the banner of being kind to me in my book and not silly. Yes, life isn’t fair (I have known it for many decades and sometimes it still disappoints me how hard it is to find fairness in this world), and I don’t have adequate answers for that to anybody. But, thank you for sharing your perspective and chatting with me… 😀

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      • I might allegedly have been in a similar situation, where I actually did use that information against whoever was trying to gaslight me into thinking they had my best interests at heart, yet I was able to apply enough pressure for them to back off. People can be pretty mean. I think it’s maybe what planted the seed in me to want to be the opposite (an all-year, random-strike secret Santa). I feel it’s kind of a losing path to try and balance things out (there’s always going to be something worse you can’t make up for), but the most important thing, in my mind, is that the idea of it brings me happiness. I’m sure the doing of it would too, at least for awhile.

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      • To use, or not to use…that is the question? Well, I’m not really going to go into a ton of detail, I will just say I “won” that one, to the point where the person who replaced that individual as our SSC, her hands were shaking during our first meeting. I felt kind of bad about that, really I was just trying to look after his best interests. I do not win every situation I walk into though, and you are right, sometimes people can be quite mean. Sometimes their only reasons for doing things are spite and because they have the power to cause the harm that they want. It is a lovely thing that you want to do something different with your time, regardless. Being mean is a choice. I think there is a difference between defending what you have to and choosing just to be nasty.

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      • I feel like ultimately you’re right, being mean is a choice. But I do think there’s some truth to the statement that hurt people hurt people. I remember doing things I didn’t necessarily want to do, but the urge was so strong at the time it was like an itch–it wouldn’t leave me alone, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it until the only relief I got was from doing something I knew was wrong. I’m not sure when that began to change, or why. The stock answer would be that I looked at and worked on myself because I was tired of feeding into undesirable outcomes, but nevertheless, I try to keep it in mind when dealing with others. A lot of folks seem to be like predictable computer programs sometimes in that their beliefs seem to have been solidified by their past misfortunes, and now they believe it is their right to pass that onto others. I’m not sure where the choice comes in or how to apply it. I do think you’re right, though, there is some component that is definitely a choice.

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      • That is a lovely, nuanced way to think about it. I definitely appreciate the reminder to keep that in mind. Sometimes I am able to do it better than others, and recent months perhaps wasn’t one of those better times for that if I were going to be honest. As someone who has come from a place with a fair amount of emotional trauma, I know that especially when I was younger even though I was aware of the impact my experiences could have on me and I tried really hard not to let that bleed into my behavior, it did sometimes (and sometimes quite a lot). All of us are influenced and demonstrate that in some way behaviorally by our experiences. So in some ways the past may always influence my behavior, even just by making the conscious choice to be making different choices on certain things… But I try to always remember that I can choose what I do and I can choose what I think. And in this case, I will try to reflect a little more often that many times people are living out their past hurts 😉

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      • Indeed! I definitely think it’s surmountable, but maybe not all at once in some cases. When I deal with someone who is clearly entrenched in a way of thinking I don’t like, I try to see if we can meet somewhere in the middle, and if it’s worth it to try.

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      • I try to find the middle ground too, but it isn’t always possible. Both sides have to be willing to go there, and sometimes there isn’t really any way in which the other side is open to being influenced into doing so… people can have all sorts of reasons for deciding they don’t want to work with someone, whether it is finding out about their sexual orientation or… Fill in the blank. Usually these individuals can find a very official looking reason, some of better quality than others, to skirt around the real reason they don’t want to work with you.

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      • Ahhh…but sometimes I have important reasons for needing to engage even if I know and have already seen the signals somebody isn’t going to work with me on something….

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      • I believe there’s a shift in approach that’s warranted at that point, where intuition plays perhaps an even greater role. When I deal with unconstructive people, it’s beneficial for me to cast all my feelers out and see how to apply pressure from unexpected angles, or entice them into softening their position.

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      • … But sometimes despite believing that to be a beneficial approach, I struggle with certain situations and I know I am not always as effective in them. For example, let’s say there is a hypothetical situation where you are dealing with a person who wants to be believed to be correct whether they are or not, to the point where they will give misinformation that is easily disproved in an attempt to bolster their position, assuming that no one is going to fact check them or that they can easily misdirect because of the stature they have within the community or the title they have within an organization. And then you are in a position where you have to call them on it, or you have to do what is called outshining the master in the 48 laws of power because it is the best available path left to protect something necessary for your own situation… A maneuver which almost always ends in an attempt to smash down the person who has less power but is perceived to either have produced or be capable of producing something at a higher level. So, as always you do not have to answer this, but what would your recommended approach be to that type of situation?

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      • There’s a couple of ways I might proceed, depending on my mental state. If I was feeling resonance in a more stoic frame of mind, I would blithely accept that whatever I’m feeling doesn’t matter, then lay out my options and go for whatever happens to be the best one, regardless of its chances of success, because it still doesn’t change the fact that it’s the best one. If I was more in my feelings, I’d let myself feel negative until it opened up into something less restrictive, then I’d start exploring creative angles (who has influence over that person, and can I influence them? Can I play a long game and draw the person in where I appear more friendly and influential? Is the person who’s antagonizing me easier to influence under circumstances like after a meal? Is there a way to incrementalize my opinion so that it doesn’t get rejected outright?) The main thing with this approach is that I’d have to emotionally be in a place where I wasn’t constantly drawn to how powerless I was, and how every past attempt I’d made ended in failure. I would have to regard attempting solutions as real possibilities instead of just dutiful overtures. Because if I’m not in that emotional place, my perception is going to frame all of my attempts as inevitably failed endeavors, and my subconscious will guide me to act in ways that support that assumption. If I am in a more positive place, I’ll be able to interpret stoppages as guidance to adjust course or as functional data, and lukewarm results as progress made in an unexpected manner (didn’t turn out like I wanted or expected, but I’m in a new position and maybe I can leverage that, combine it with existing efforts or launch a new one which I didn’t have capabilities for before). Not sure if any of that makes sense, but that’s my personal take on how I’d deal with it.

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      • … and I just want to add in case you do feel comfortable sharing and approach to that type of situation, that if I were in such a situation and I either did or did not decide to apply that advice, those outcomes are definitely only on me because I would be the person making the choice about what I did or did not do. I would not be holding you responsible for anything that happened with it.

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      • Sometimes, my friend, I am wrong. Very much so, and I should know it (and I certainly want to know it) when that is the case so that I can learn to be even better. I like your point about believing genuinely in the possibility of the outcomes, and I thank you for sharing your ideas. Sometimes the best path still comes with a bunch of stuff that’s a whole lot of suck, but I tend to favor taking the best path forward when I can…thank you again, I do appreciate your time and that you took my question seriously ❤

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      • Nope, my life definitely doesn’t seem to serve boring. Ever. Though, I think I might kind of like that if it did…at least for a period of time. And, we shall see on the nap. Once Tony is transitioned into school, I have been pondering some plans for different options I may consider in my life that may mean naps won’t help achieve what I want…but I think at least for a few months I am going to give my body some time to nap because it needs that. You see, I feel like in some areas, I handed people scissors and let them clip my wings, and in other areas, life has done that. And I’m emotionally done living the clipped wing life. Perhaps maybe I cannot fly all of the places I would have wanted to, but I have some things on my agenda that involve wing prostheses and getting some stuff done that makes my fulfilled on the inside, and that is going to involve more work than naps…

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      • I think our society has too limited a definition of what soaring is. We think someone soars if they are rich, successful, powerful…I think someone soars if they find a way to be consistently happy.

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      • Are you referring to W.W. Jacobs’ “The Monkey’s Paw?” Having messed up something for two people at the same time this morning (I’m talented that way sometimes, insert palm smack to forehead here) I checked out an e copy from the library to read while I tried not to castigate myself too much as I drank my breakfast smoothie. I have not read it before, and I think perhaps to me the underlying message is that it is important to appreciate and find joy in the good things you already have rather than trying to push fate for more. But, I think that can be tricky. Anybody seeking more than they have through any sort of effort could be seen in a way as pushing against fate…but do we say the people who succeeded were fated? And do I really believe in fate? Maybe sometimes…sometimes I think certain larger things were supposed to happen, but there’s a lot of wiggle room in the little things…but I don’t have a definitive answer on that. And, I’m certainly one to push sometimes for what I want…just maybe not via only wishing for it.

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      • I’m not nearly so cultured as to have based my reference off that–it was the monkey’s paw in a Simpsons Halloween episode. 😅 But I did look it up and apparently they have the same premise–three wishes that go horribly wrong.

        As far as fate, I believe this is where emotional intelligence comes in. If my entire being is giving me a nudge, then I feel like an inarticulate part of me knows something I don’t and it’s worth pursuing. I don’t think desire is bad, desire is natural. We desire oxygen, food, company, health, creative expression…none of those are bad. I think there is a focus on lack which can make desires seem bad. If I crave certain goals and refuse to be happy until they have materialized in the exact manner in which I want, no exceptions, then I’ve cut myself off from the unexpected boons and pleasant detours along the way. And also, maybe that goal was just to set me on a path where I could receive more input with which I could realize my actual goal was something entirely different, if that makes any sense.

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      • Well, the Simpsons is culture, technically speaking…. just a different area of it 😉 and given the time frames involved, I would say that the short story was the inspiration for the Simpsons. Besides, who am I to judge someone’s “cultured” status? I think I will ponder a bit on the rest of what you said. I am honest enough with myself to say I don’t always feel like desire is a helpful thing….

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      • I used to think the same, but now I believe there can be separation behind desire and a feeling of lack. I love daydreaming about this or that, but if I’m getting bent out of shape because the daydream is out of reach, it’s time to focus on something else.

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      • I think it is important to recognize a desire when I have it, and think about what it is telling me about possible unmet needs within my life, *but*…if it is something I believe I cannot act on because of what I prioritize in my value system, I’m going to end up trying to use cognitive distancing techniques, etc. because it would be better for me either not to feel it or to give it amplified power because when I have chosen to prioritize something else, it doesn’t help me feel it past reflecting on the information it gave me about myself.

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      • I can get behind the more utilitarian viewpoint. Personally, I’m more of a daydreamer now, though. It definitely shows in conversations with friends; I’m usually always somewhat in my books or the possibilities I weave through them. Kind of ironic because as a kid I would always be reading when my parents had get-togethers with other parents and their kids. I think I’m really just an engagement junkie. Like I can do well enough at school but it’s only engaging if I’m taking a test. And it’s easy enough for me to do practical stuff, but it’s only really attractive to me when it demands my full attention. With writing or daydreaming, I don’t have to wait on other people or outside developments, I can immediately change things around and stay engaged.

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      • Well, there’s a whole lot in your comment and responding to it honestly could make me trickier to follow because I’m like an onion from Shrek, I’ve got lots of layers 😀 My parents almost never let anybody come over, our friends or anybody else in general weren’t welcome. I spent much of my childhood reading and daydreaming and living for a future and I don’t know that my sanity or spirit would have survived if I hadn’t…but not always constructing helpful skills within myself in the process for how to navigate what that future would be like when I could break away from certain things. I agree that it is difficult for me to engage with a subject unless it has a meaningful application in my life. My current approach to life is to adopt whatever strategies from as diverse a tool kit as possible that might enable me to first survive, and then do what I can to move things into thriving. It isn’t always easy. I made some choices while I was floundering my way through processing some of my traumas that set up the game board, so to speak. I am utilitarian when necessary. A dreamer when I can be. I think life works best for me when I can balance the two…learn and use the practical, dream when I can, but I can’t pin my happiness on the attainment of a future dream because sometimes maybe all I will have is the good stuff I can focus on in the now.

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      • It is indeed a gray area. Dreams and practicality blend together much more than I initially thought, in my experience. I used to be a pretty strict utilitarian, but ironically, it failed to provide as much utility as I would have liked. 😅

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      • Well, sometimes it’s a hard balance to find. A person can sacrifice their heart and soul on the alter to the utilitarian gods… I personally think flexibility and being able to use both paths is the most useful. Just my opinion…

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      • I definitely think some people lean more one way and then the other. I also think that over the course of life, it changes. Sometimes it’s better for us to explore the super utilitarian side of everything, and sometimes we should listen to an intuitive surety that urges us to do something that doesn’t make sense but feels absolutely right. The art of life!

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      • True, Life is an art. But, sometimes what art creates is more tragedy than beauty… And so it is with life. The true art sometimes is to find that little bit of buried joy that can change the perspective of the piece, even if nothing can be done about the overall tone conveyed.

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      • I will also just add, briefly, I have personally found it can be very difficult to influence someone who is feeling insecure and threatened by your either potential or actualized ability to outperform them. I will try, because generally I would say that is the preferable way to start (although I definitely don’t always remember to do start there, especially if I am under high levels of stress), if it is actually genuinely a position I have to take and a path I have to be on, outperformance or winning other allies that can balance things out is usually the path I have found I am more successful at personally.

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      • 😂 I wouldn’t say I always get to the results I’m after, hence I’m always happy to hear someone else’s take on certain things because then I can learn from it…

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      • I think there’s definitely a balance that comes with that. Other people sometimes chime in just because they want to feel like they contributed. It’s kind of why I stopped asking for feedback before I finished editing my books. I realized if I edited the book to my satisfaction, I would know through and through why I wrote what I did, and that I would be at a point where I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve seen writers pile on another writer simply because they perceived a theme that didn’t fit their ideology, even though (ironically), the writer they were piling on was using egregious description to criticize what the others didn’t agree with.

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      • Well, if I personally ask for feedback, I want it as honestly as possible…not in a mean way, but certainly in a constructive way. I think once someone is trying to sell a product, they are opening themselves up to feedback and it is a good idea to be receptive to hearing that because it is conducive to having a long-term viable product to sell. I can see the merits in wanting to create the art that you want…with any art, people will decide what they want to support and not, but as someone who writes, I understand both perspectives. I wouldn’t ask for feedback on one of my poems…they are word paintings and I want them to be as they are, my choices are always deliberate there. But then I also have to accept that in not trying to please others there, I may not produce something that others find pleasing enough to support…my art is first for me and if others find something to resonate with, cool. If not, it still meant something valuable to me…

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      • Yeah, I agree. Bottom line is also that writing is a TERRIBLE way to try and make money. If I did stumble upon some formula that traded effort in writing for cash, it would have to be a quick way to fuck-you money, and even if it wasn’t, I would be formulating an exit strategy. It would be one of the biggest disappointments if writing slowly transformed into a job that I dreaded.

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      • Yes, and I would say that poetry is one of the worst ways to try and make money as a writer…I think it is disappointing when anything we felt passionate about morphs into something to now be dreaded. Life can do that for anything, especially if one is struggling to survive either physically or emotionally. I think part of the battle is always in the head about that one…

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      • It is pretty disappointing. I’ve started to change my view on those occurrences, in that they’re now an indication I should lay things out and reassess, see where I can tweak some stuff or if I need to change direction.

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      • And, I think for some people who have had bad things happen to them that go on to perpetuate the same bad things to others, it comes from a position of previous powerlessness and feeling like now they have a chance to be powerful themselves… Just maybe. I have not gone on to do the things that were done to me as a child, but it was something I reflected on as a possible unconscious motivator for some people to perpetuate certain cycles…

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      • Ha! I have never once claimed to be emotionally intelligent… I’m just trying to do the best I can with the circumstances I have been put in. I have my strengths and my weaknesses, sometimes the former will make up for the latter and sometimes not…

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      • Ok, I think maybe now that I’ve had a snack I can respond to this one 😀 Maybe. Bear in mind, sometimes I am a little rough around my emotional edges right now. Ok, so I will be the first person to tell you there are many things I could be better at. But I will also tell you that the circumstances I have been in the last several years have deteriorated my ability to even be able to emotionally focus on changing certain things for the better. If we take this back to psychology 101 and talk about where I would consider the different areas of my life are at under Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I would say that really I have been so beset by crisis that if anything, my ability to calmly facilitate certain things had downgraded considerably because years of these types of situations will F just about anybody up. Literally it’s been so much worse than the cumulative weight of every post and every review I have ever written about my circumstances. That being said, can I be better at some things? Yes. Should I use my circumstances as an excuse? No, but it’s a reality and it’s a pretty hard one to get around sometimes. I think emotional intelligence is just the latest catch phrase for being able to play with others well in the sandbox, but I’ve seen it applied to the words of others simply because they are wealthy or successful, individuals who if they were not might very well be criticized for some of their mannerisms and ways of handling things. So, sometimes who is considered to have it and who isn’t is a bit of a cult of personality mirage. But at the end of the day, you are right, there certainly are areas where I can do better when it comes to regulating my emotional responses to things, that is very true.

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      • It’s definitely kind of a trendy phrase. I see it as the cognitive ability to guide emotions into a productive and fulfilling configuration, both in the short-term and the long-term. The meaning does kind of get lost in the churn, though.

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      • Being able “to guide emotions into a productive and fulfilling configuration” is indeed a skill worth having. Some things are easier said than done…I think some very natural and understandable emotional responses to life events are definitely not productive or fulfilling…

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      • I may be a little strange from what I’m about to say, but I think every emotional response to external stimuli is productive and fulfilling, but ACTING on it may not be. Also, wallowing in certain emotions aren’t productive (as opposed to feeling them and transitioning into another one), but all that’s pretty abstract. Maybe I’m splitting hairs or engaging in semantics.

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      • Well, I don’t think you’re strange. But then again, you’ve seen my eyeshadow. My filter for strange is in its own place 😅 That being said, For me personally there are times where I might recognize a reaction or emotion is very natural to feel, but it is absolutely something I cannot act on because of the demands of a situation, and I know I cannot act on it, so feeling it sometimes makes it harder for me to cope internally. Especially if I haven’t had enough sleep…and every now and then that has bled into my actions when I would have rather it did not because I am just a very fallible human over here doing the best I can, and sometimes at best just is not good enough….

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      • I would argue sometimes it is better not to feel certain things at all. But, it is still important to be ultimately at some point honest with oneself about what one is feeling and then deciding what one wants to do with it, just my opinion….

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      • I think it’s definitely honest to state that sometimes I wish something hadn’t happened, but I would also say that acknowledging my feelings around it will be an eventuality that I can express constructively, destructively, or somewhere in between those extremes.

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      • Tricky, the balance of those extremes, because the assessment thereof is always subjective and varies from person to person. At the end of the day, you are the only person having to live your life and I am the only person having to do my life. We do the best we can with what we have…I am often looking to be better, but sometimes I’m not. Sometimes I might enjoy snarking back at somebody emailing me claiming to be a vendor looking for a review, and then sometimes I might decide I need a healthier past time and move on 🙂 There are people who would support either decision…there are people who will arm chair critique anything and everything. Sometimes something that looks destructive in the moment is merely the first (and a necessary) step to building something more constructive. Sometimes it is hard to say, but I still feel like for me personally, I’d rather not feel certain things.

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      • I agree with the implication that arm chair critiquing isn’t so healthy. I just heard an interesting theory regarding ethnic cuisine when it comes to yelp: the best ones are actually 3.5 stars, because if you go above that, then it appeases obnoxious yelpers who don’t have an appreciation for flavor and instead obsess over the creases in their napkin or whatnot. I found that pretty amusing!

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      • No obsessing over napkin creases allowed, eh? 😉 Ok, I don’t personally care about napkin creases, but I think when it comes to reviews…you know, I suppose we all have our things we care about (like puzzle pieces that don’t come warped right out of the box) and make us more likely to ding a company for something if we are reviewing. And perhaps what matters to us doesn’t matter to everyone, but it might matter to someone of a similar mindset… But, after my experience getting a ridiculous number of e-mails from people claiming to be vendors (some were, some I am certain were not) after I stopped generally shopping at Amazon, I rarely read reviews at all any more. Sometimes I do, but it is a system just too easily gamed and sometimes it just takes too much energy to figure out who’s writing a review for an incentive of some kind and who isn’t. Energy I’d rather spend on more productive things, so now I’m more likely to think I’m not going for something cheaper, I’m going for a product from a company with a more established overall track record. And maybe for restaurants, check the rating they have with the public health inspectors, what their violations have been, that sort of thing…

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      • I think I get it. I was very much a numbers and rankings guy for a while. I didn’t have time, inclination, or resources to do much exploring, so I depended heavily on data to guide my decisions. Later in life I became rewarded more by instinct and faith in good outcomes, so while I do still weigh that stuff, I don’t put as much emphasis on it anymore.

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      • Yeeaaahhhh…I should probably practice more faith in good outcomes. I’ve seen enough bad outcomes in life that I have to do a lot of extra work with myself sometimes not to expect the bad, but I think it is often more useful to expect and hope for the good.

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      • Not to pull a switcheroo, but I actually prioritize the feel of the expectation. If it evokes dread and stress, then I’ll go for something that feels more free flowing, like apathy (oh well, fuck it). Sometimes, ironically, embracing a bad outcome makes me feel free and capable (looks like we’re fucked, but whatever). And sometimes, forcing a positive outlook will evoke more stress than I ever imagined. I’m really just hunting around for that free-flowing feel. In my anecdotal experience, if I resonate with that, it will open into something positive in a natural manner.

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      • I feel like if something evokes dread or stress, if it comes from a gut feeling intuitive reaction I’m going to do what I can to avoid it as long as that sense is in place. If it comes from something I’ve got to be doing for the time being, I’m going to do what I can to change my circumstances so I don’t have to be doing it…

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      • And there is a big asterisk there. If something is very stressful and it is necessary for something my kids need… I’m just going to try to focus on what is positive that I can to pull myself through it and just keep on doing what I need to no matter how stressful it is…

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      • Sometimes it’s actually the path of least resistance, even though it’s not very smooth. In situations like that I just resign myself to the pain and inconvenience, since I’ve already decided I’m not going to do the alternative.

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      • I think that’s a good starting place, I often find myself thinking, OK, since I feel like I have to be here in this particular situation doing what I am doing, what can I do to make it better even a little bit?

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      • I was similar, in that I would immediately chart out next steps to improvement. I think I’m a bit different now in that I try and enjoy where I’m at and let things unfold with more natural-feeling ease.

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      • I have been reading a book from the library on time management. Not the first of it’s type I’ve read, but I’m crazily always hoping that one of these books will allow me to sole the unsolvable: how to fit an unmanageable amount of items that nobody could do without a staff to assist them into each day. This book points out that all we have to be happy about truly is the present. It is never a bad thing to be reminded of, but I’m still chipping away trying to improve some things. I don’t want more material things than I have, I want more time to do things like go to the art museum or just even get a full night’s sleep…

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      • Sleeping whenever and as much as you want without worrying about the downsides is indeed one of the greatest gifts one could attain, in my opinion. I think you’ll get there. Things seem to be improving for you, plus you seem to have done a lot of assessing of what is sustainable and what isn’t. Full night of sleep is coming! 😊

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      • I am going to agree that being able to sleep was much as you want or need is a profound gift…not one I am likely to experience though, and I can make my piece with that. And you are correct, a full night sleep is on the agenda. I have been going through Tony’s communication goals and transitioning those to differential reinforcement as well, and what I am seeing is a significant increase in rate of skill acquisition. My therapy schedule just got 20 hours per week lighter…I am taking time to assess what my next steps are, but one of the first things I did was put in a boundary over at our house with the aim of getting me a minimum of 7 hours a sleep a night. Before that, I was maybe seeing that much sleep one night a month, but usually more like 1 night every 3 or 4 months. I am supposed to be getting a minimum of that for the POTS alone. So. I am thinking, I am planning, and I am seeing a rate of progress with his school readiness goals that currently makes me happy…what happens with that and when is still to be decided, but I don’t see any likely path that includes sleeping more than 7-8 hours per day. And that’s OK. It’s more than I’ve had for quite some time now, years really…

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      • Ok, now that does sound heavenly 😍 That being said, I believe my dream needs to be a flexible dream, adapting to some circumstances that are certainly outside of my control regardless of what I predict they could be. And, I would say that I have to temper that dream with what is realistic for my circumstances and what I want most right now, which is to put myself in a position where I won’t be financially dependent on anybody else ever again. There likely isn’t a Venn diagram overlap that comes with 9 hours sleep and naps in the midst of that for quite a few years…

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      • At least, I should rather say that I recognize that the bad is always a possibility, even when people hit me with some stat saying how unlikely it is. Statistics mean nothing to the outliers on the bell curve. What is less likely can still happen, and if you’ve been that outlier enough, reassurances are zilch.

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      • Absolutely. Anecdotal experience is giant. If we didn’t have a use for it, we wouldn’t have a use for being individual people/perspectives. If accounting for potential bad makes you feel safer and secure, then I can’t argue against it.

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      • Well, I wouldn’t always say it makes me feel more safe for secure. I would say it makes me feel more grounded in reality. Sometimes I find myself wishing I could think in a more typical track that you might see someone take with something like that and pat myself on the back and feel a full sense of reassurance that the weight of the statistics guaranteed a positive outcome. I feel like that is a misapplication of the statistics, it might make a positive outcome more likely but not guaranteed. As I said, landing in outlier land one too many times… Makes it harder to find analysis of probabilities truly comforting.

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      • Then I misspoke. If that approach makes you feel grounded, it’s absolutely warranted. The way we interact with the world is something we need to figure out on our own in the end. I’ve seen people hold to their beliefs under incredible duress and pressure to change em, and I’ve seen people hold to their beliefs despite being punished for them and having their hand held into demonstrably better ways of living. We’ve gotta find out what works for us as individuals.

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      • I’m not here to be the spoke police either 😉 I try to represent what I think in an evaporated condensed format that can’t really do justice to the intricacies and nuances of everything blowing around in that epic wasteland between my ears. I put a lot of work into becoming a reformed catastrophist many, many years ago…I think positively about some things that others never would, and I will always thing positively about something my gut feeling says I should on even with a lack of supporting up front evidence that I should take that position, BUT…I have to work with myself sometimes not to assume the worst in other situations. It is a balancing act. Most of the time it is a simple awareness that all possibilities could be there and I like to think through contingencies when I can, and I certainly love me some evidence when it’s available, but that can also cross into to much obsessing about things outside of my control. I would not say that you misspoke, I would say I was clarifying my most of the time position on things and that I’m somewhat complicated on the inside 🙂

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      • I totally resonate with you on the all possibilities thing. As an overthinker, I can easily logic myself into a dim or not so good outlook. But then I remind myself I’ve been in situations like that before, then I’ve been given unexpected boons from out of nowhere that completely derailed my logical projections. Sometimes, it’s as simple as well I know what to do next, just leave the rest alone because who knows what happens after that?

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      • Yes, always a certain number of factors are outside of our control, so outcomes are never guaranteed one way or another. We just do the best we can. It helps me to understand the possibilities, and sometimes I have to work harder to focus on the more positive ones, but I think in general, it’s a much happier place to live to envision positive outcomes.

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      • I just realized how that could have come across. I am not saying that you or anyone else is not grounded in reality when they choose to believe a positive outcome is more likely and focus on that. Reality is what you make of it. I envy the ability to be in that head space on a more regular basis, I just can’t get my reality there all the time because of my past experience…

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      • I think I get it. Just for me personally, it would sometimes help to entertain ridiculous thought experiments to deal with that. Like reality could have been created a second ago, all evidence of a past intact, and no one would ever know. That’s me, though. I’m kind of an absurdist at heart so that resonates with me.

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      • While certainly that is true, even if that were the case, my present self still has an active memory of certain things and believes they happened that way, which would create the same sum effect of having really gone through them I think…

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      • True. With me, it can generate the same source of comfort that comes from a brief overview of quantum physics or astronomy. Life really is structured like a game, and our most rigorous methods of induction and deduction point out our insignificance. The fact that we can’t affirm fundamental metaphysical truths–whether we were created a second ago or not–simply hammers home the fact that I should focus more on enjoying the moment.

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      • Though, I just do have to add… Sounds to me like you’re not really that scared if you’re going with the kind of activities that utilize a ball gag and you’re still coming back for more…🤔 Just saying! So no witness protection program needed for you here… 😎

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      • 😂 I’m thinking it was😏 Even if Ms. Prison Martha herself recommended that wardrobe to you as part of a scene, sounds like you still had a chance to say no and not wear it. Just saying.

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