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    Affix your own mask first….

When you get on an airplane, its one of the first things they tell you. In the event of an emergency when air masks are deployed, you should always set up your own first. Why?  Because you can’t help others if you are dead. You have roughly 30 seconds to get your mask on.  Seems simple enough… yet.. there is a reason why the reminder is issued.

From the time we’re children we’re told not to think of ourselves first. We’re told its selfish. We’re told its disrespectful, but we are told all of these things without any context. We are told it in a very overly simplified way (probably because we are children) as if it is always 100% the best way to maneuver always. When we get older, and things graduate beyond sharing our toys, taking the last seat when someone else would benefit more from it… it gets forgotten sometimes to teach us that in fact, there are some situations in which our own clarity and well-being actually needs to be given more priority in order to be effective in what we do. You are able to give more and help more if you yourself are stable.

Put another way, you are far more able to help others find stability… if you have found it first.

I’m personally experiencing a down time. I’ve gotten into that rut.

The world is swirling around me with concerns and issues. Some mine, some my family and friends, some my communities, some my countries.  I’ve been feeling tapped out and pretty much felt suffocated, like I have no room to move or work. Limited resources to work with, and inability to be as productive as I feel I “should be”. Feeling like I’m barely getting by, and not accomplishing some needed things.

Truth is though… that is the story of everyone.

Even though I feel so spent.. truth is I need to admit to myself that I’ve not been doing “everything” I could, and a big part of that is because I’ve gotten in the habit of plain ignoring me.  If I’m to accomplish anything at all, I need to first make sure that I’m not “dead.”

This means that even though my husband’s health situation isn’t resolved, we actually have done work there. He is currently on medicines, he is figuring out his routines. The smart side of me knows that some of the things he says and does isn’t really about me or the kids at all. All the emotions and negativity when those times come… Its about how uncomfortable he is… uncomfortable with himself, with his place, with his sense of value. A good chunk of how we live this life is seated in how we choose to react and the attitudes that we allow ourselves to take on….. and in the end it doesn’t matter who around us, or what they say or do for us… we choose our willingness to change our own minds and our own situations. In the end I can’t do this for him.

I can be supportive, but not at the detriment of myself otherwise there may be a time where I can’t help him even a little. If I’m honest, I’ve been afraid to go get help for me, because it might take away from what he or the kids need… but if I don’t stop that, and begin to work some self care into that equation too.. then I won’t be able to help them even the little that I currently am able to.

So…

I’m going to the doctor today. Going to talk about this current issues I’ve been experiencing. Going to re-open the possibility of getting a new neurologist, and I’m going alone. This way the conversation doesn’t get hijacked to other’s issues. I’m better at hiding my issues, and seem to not be trustworthy enough to not let someone take focus off of me, I generally welcome it. Mostly because I get this horrible uncomfortable feeling and get super self conscious when I have to talk to someone about me. Give me any other topic… please.

Anyhow.. this is the plan..

 

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Sometimes you run because you have to. Because if you don’t then the worries you’ve been unable to deal with are able to catch up, and it kills you to let them. They eat away at your heart and soul, and you can’t allow that because if you do, there is no safety net. There is no backup support. There is no one else to shoulder this with, so you can’t allow them to catch you. You just keep pushing through, going a day at a time. Hoping and praying to the universe that it will all be ok if you can push a little longer…. but sometimes you stumble. Sometimes they do catch up, and they overtake you, and unfortunately, they have tonight, so I find myself unable to sleep and in tears in front of my computer. Typing away to try and get these feelings off…. to lay them somewhere else, because I’m already tired, but I still have to work in the morning.

You just keep pushing through, going a day at a time. Hoping and praying to the universe that it will all be ok if you can push a little longer…. but sometimes you stumble. Sometimes they do catch up, and sometimes they overtake you, and unfortunately, they have tonight. This is why I find myself unable to sleep for the last four hours and hopelessly in tears in front of my computer. Typing away to try and relieve myself of some of this pressure. Desperately wishing to get these feelings off of me….. to lay them somewhere else, because I’m already tired, but I still have to work in the morning. Tomorrow my eyes will be puffy, and I will once again likely blame allergies to people who care to ask why I’m a bit puffy, and I’ll feel bad to do that but the alternative is to explain too many things that they weren’t really in the position, nor wanting to hear in the first place… besides, the last thing I want or need is sympathy, because all it does is compound how inept I feel at not being able to manage and take care of those around me let alone myself.

How expensive peace of mind seems to be, and how odd it is that people are so opinionated on whether someone else “deserves” it or not. I sometimes wonder what it is you have to do to “earn” it? I’m at this point able to work full time and push through everything, but I still am not able to afford it. Its all I can do to keep this family of mine going in maintenance mode. Where just enough is taken care of to keep them fed, housed, and clothed, but not much more.

Deon’s troubles with Fibromyalgia and the chronic inflammation issues keep piling up. He falls more than twice a week, thankfully able to get himself back up after a bit… but what do I do when that is not the case? His medicines keep getting added to, and like me, only seem to be able to keep him in a maintenance mode… to where it keeps him somewhat stable-ish, but doesn’t resolve the pain or the issues he’s experiencing, just minimizes them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful, and he is too, but it does get to him, and makes him chaotic and emotional, which makes him question everything, and I have no answers…. none at all. He should be going to specialists that we’ve been referred to, but honestly, they haven’t been helpful in the past, and at this point in “maintenance mode” there really isn’t the money to spend on things that don’t help. This sounds horrible of me to say, but I can’t afford it at the moment to continue to see Doctors who nickel and dime you without giving direction nor actual assistance.

My youngest son used to be a catcher for his baseball team. Now he mainly catches anything and every sickness possible. He gets the flu, or a cold so often that we got a letter from the “dropout” specialist warning us that we were reported to them because he has missed so many days. Luckily he is a self-driven student and he catches up in his classes pretty quickly, and once the teachers get around to grading everything, he is still somehow on honor roll. I’m not exactly sure what they want us to do.. send him in sick so he can infect others?  It usually takes a day or two and then he shakes it off, so we haven’t even been making Doctor appointments for him, we tend to wait a day or two… which drives me crazy with worry, yet I know “it will probably be alright”, so we wait first to see, because if we took him in each time, the co-pays alone would be an actual problem.

My older son, he is on this emotional roller coaster at the moment. It worries me because my coworker just lost her son of the same age to just that. I’m having a hard time getting thru to him, I don’t know that he ever really gets the lessons and coping strategies I’m trying to teach him, he gets caught up in the emotional part and just won’t talk to anyone about anything real. He covers it up with being silly, but I can see he’s actually weighed down internally. No clue if I’m handling things with him right or not, he’s so different from my other two. I would like to get him in to see a counselor and have them talk to him and give me any possible hints as to what I could do differently, because I don’t feel like what I’m doing is working, and I’ve not got much time left with him really. Not because I think he would do anything (course my coworker never thought it either), but mainly because he is going to be eighteen this year and released on the world, and I just hope he has the tools to grow the rest of the way and cope in a healthy way with what the world is.

When it comes to me, the truth is… I’m tired, and I hurt, and I’m kinda tired of hurting. MS has thrown at me all the off the wall and odd symptoms to which I have to try and weed through if something is serious or not… If I should try and get help, or wait it out in case it simply dissipates with sleep and quiet time or distraction.

I’m up this evening because I have this odd sensation on my neck, ear, and a small spot on the back of my head that the nerves are telling me that they hurt and itch like crazy. No bite that I can find, no odd rash or discoloration at all… yet its bad enough to interrupt my sleep and not let me be able to rest. Stupid I know, and I’ll do what I always do, but I worry. At some point, my normal measures may not be a “good enough” option.

I actually had to say no to my Daughter’s Mother’s Day offer of getting me a massage, because at the moment the skin on the left side plain hurts to be touched by anything other than clothes. I have to keep covered to find relief which makes the 96 degrees Fahrenheit days we’ve been having kind of tricky.  I wouldn’t have been able to handle it right now while this is going on.

Truth is that I’ve not even seen a neurologist in the past four years. I was referred to one last year, and they said they’d call me in six months and that was roughly eight months ago. I should be diligent… I should be advocating to get a new one as soon as possible. The reality is though that everytime I get one, they make me do tests that take three years to pay off, and they get nothing helpful out of them. They just tell me what I already know by simply living my life. That I’m decently stable compared to others with MS, and that if I want, I could go on medicines, but all it would do is play decoy to distract from other inflammation in my system, and “possibly” cause me to have “less” symptoms “IF” the MS was acting up. Not a sure thing though, kind of a gamble… oh and a side effect is feeling like you have the flu every day. I’ve been there, I’ve done that, it isn’t worth the gamble when at the moment I seem to be able to rest to minimize things… course I can’t rest right now. ><

It makes me question myself to always be in this “maintenance mode” of limping along… pushing a “little longer’… hoping that the universe allows issues with those I take care of, and with me to “just work out eventually.” till I get to the point where I actually can get things resolved.

In every other area of my life, I’m so pro-active. I plan, I figure out ways to resolve it now, adapt or move on… in order to keep going.

In this health care taking aspect, I seem to fail to be able to have that same nature and it’s really getting to me.

I should be getting Deon to a specialist to see what else could be done. I should be taking my youngest in more often to the Doctor so that we can figure out why he’s so susceptible to picking up sicknesses, and figuring out how we can help that. I should be getting my older son to a counselor so that he has someone to talk to since he can’t seem to open up to me without me constantly prying at him. I should not be waiting to get back under someone’s care for this MS….. but, in the world, we live in, that all requires money which I have just enough to just keep us getting by in this  “maintenance mode.”

All this talk about healthcare in the government right now, and honestly they are simpletons and nowhere near resolving this when the main priority they seem to focus on is on the existence of plans you could buy into, instead of the affordability of care needed in the first place. I have insurance, but right now it does me little good because I only end up being able to afford the occasional “maintenance” visits, but nothing further.

But it is what it is… and I’ll keep going as long as I can. I have work in two hours now …. it’s going to be a long day.

Admitting frustration relieves a bit of this, so maybe now I can shake it off, just hope the universe is kind in the level of severity it presents us with, and I’ll begin my run again.

I don’t run because I’m scared, because truly if the resources were there I’d be all over all of these things rather than doing a little for this one now, and a little for another next payday and so on.   I don’t think I run and try to avoid focusing too intently on these worries because I’m scared… I think I run in the hopes that I’ll reach a point where I’ll find what I need in order to just deal with them head on.

Hopefully, after getting this out I’ll be lighter and able to be faster than the worries for a bit. Hopefully, they won’t catch me and consume me again this way again for a little while longer. It’s time to go maintain this life as best I can… now… where were those running shoes?

 

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Ever notice how very often things are pretty fine until someone begins to feel like they “own” something? Like their thoughts and comfort should outweigh others?

It’s like we start off in a beautiful mental state where we are hopeful and willing to cooperate for a benefit that is so much larger than ourselves but after some time it seems our attitude shifts to self comfort above overall comfort. What causes this?

Its at that point, we form these human constructs of the mind.. things like group supremacy, politics, and ego… all things that are imagined ideas and not actually all that real, yet they are energized into existence by us accepting them and deciding they have merit.

We buy into them out of what? boredom? These formulated ideas don’t tend to help overall, just help specific groups… and we buy in… What kind of world would we have if we plain chose not to?

Maybe “ownership” isn’t where its at, maybe cooperation is… maybe that is why people have such a hard time finding any sort of happiness.. because they are looking for it in the wrong place. Social creatures looking for happiness in individualized focused constructs… it’s just a thought.

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labels

Your cousin from across the country calls you for a visit and tells you that they have a “Blue Bike” in their garage.

You congratulate them, and then but then realize that while you know what a Bike typically is, and while you know what the color “Blue” is… The statement “I have a blue bike” really doesn’t end up telling you much despite the use of a “descriptive label.” Without context, it is almost impossible to for sure really understand.

Is the “bike” of which they are speaking literally a bicycle for transportation? … Or is it something like a scooter that has a very similar function, so the speaker just lumps it together in their own mind and calls it a “bike” — more to describe its function rather than what it actually is? Maybe its much like how people often refer to motorcycles as “bikes” even though they really aren’t the same thing.

Maybe it shares the form of a “bike”, but not the function… like its actually just an an exercise “blue bike.” Maybe its figuratively a “blue bike”.. maybe its a remote control toy… or a pillow… or a poster, or a birthday cake?  Maybe it is a Clown’s balloon creation…

bluebikeballoon

Maybe its only figuratively called a “bike” because of how it looks to us?

It is even plausible that they are actually referring to a poster depicting the image of a “blue bike” that they have mounted on their wall….. and they point at it to show their friends saying… “See my blue bike?”

Maybe “Blue Bike” is a movie … or a song…. or a brand name?

Maybe it is metaphorical?

And then there is the word “Blue” itself…

Blue… is it light, dark, or medium blue? Could it actually be teal and the person just considers it “blue”? Perhaps they weren’t referring to the color at all.. maybe its a feeling or an situation they are trying to convey?

Maybe its a picture of a bike with a sad face on it. Was the bike…. “feeling blue”?, Maybe they meant the poor condition of the bike…maybe they are inferring that it is a sad sight.

sadbike

 

sadbike

Sheesh my head is spinning….

The reality is that bikes come in all sorts of sizes and shapes and kinds. There are literal “bikes” and figurative “bikes” and we often aren’t always very concise or specific about what we are actually trying to convey. A whole broad spectrum of things are very lumped together under one label for our own ease.

How are you supposed to know for sure what was meant when we use our words to describe both the literal, and figurative versions of something… metaphorical versions even?

At some point you have to start questioning how helpful and relevent labels are when we use them so wildly. You almost  have to already know the overall context in order to truly understand what you are being told.

And now we get to the serious part of my post. I told you all of that, just to help make the following make a little more sense. This is a thought on how we use labels on the very people around us.

Very often in this life, we find that words of description are forged into labels that are given meanings that don’t actually belong to them. It its interesting about how often, if you strip them all away, it ends up leaving you with the pure and simple facts of a situation when it comes to the dealings of people. The mere fact that a inclusion of a “label” rather than an action itself, has power to affect wither you see something as “right” or “wrong” is to me… quite troubling. Does it bother you at all?

This personal justification of “as long as its someone like me its ok.” is not a solid stance. That is not thinking ethically, or morally regardless of what you tell yourself. Our lazy ignorance of others is not valid enough upon which to decide something about “some group” of people you don’t know and haven’t bothered to (you yourself) reach out to. Research is more than just reading some article somewhere once, and even instances where you’ve been made aware of one of ‘s view, it doesn’t ever for certain mean that the next you meet will totally agree.

Absolute cloning is not yet a thing.. so don’t allow your mind to believe that it is. Challenge yourself whenever you see yourself taking the easy way out of thinking about any situation. Don’t let the labels distract you from the situation. Truth is always nuanced.. If life isn’t simple enough to for certain know what someone means when they merely say “I have a blue bike”… then that very much means that life isn’t simple enough to label someone, judge them and just walk away.

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marionbolognesi-watercolor

Art borrowed from Marion Bolognesi

 

Kind of a dear diary moment of self-reflection (almost to the level of being a pun).

It’s interesting. What our society deems as beautiful seems to be very limited. While I don’t tend to buy into things that seem so material, opting instead to focus more on the ethics part of value theory philosophy rather than on aesthetics, yet… when I’m honest – for some reason I’ve always been overly self-conscious, never really ever able to feel “pretty” ever. Its been kind of a personal bucket list joke to myself that I’d like at some point to have at least one photo that I wasn’t self-conscious over of before I go.

For the most part I tend to put those thoughts aside, and try to just not think about it much. As a coping strategy I always tend to offer to “take” pictures at events as it generally assures that my place won’t be in them. It embarrasses me to admit it, but when I do allow myself to think about it, I personally feel so awkward and gross, and I’ve literally held back actual tears when I’ve seen a picture someone has snapped of me… and that reaction is so adverse to the way I feel I should ever be. It’s so ridiculous and is too much reaction over something that doesn’t matter when it comes to determining the true value of a person. Its just the container.. the book cover, its dumb to worry about, so I try and limit thinking about it as much as possible. I scoff at it and then put it back in its proverbial box in the deepest corner hidden under the imaginary bed in my psyche, yet every once in awhile it escapes and makes me question myself for a little bit — until I fold it back up and put it back away again.

Why is it I can sincerely and easily not care about aesthetics in others, and even pity those who make it the meat of their being, and truly believe that those who use it as any measure of value, or give it importance are themselves lacking in basic understanding of reality.

Yet hypocritically – here I am fully knowing that it shouldn’t be allowed to bother anyone – I still do have those occasional moments when my logic lets down its guard and it will bother me and even affect my current well-being and my value of myself. It never bleeds over to how I think of others, but somehow is able to occasionally blemish how I think of myself. Thankfully its not that often, but when it does comes up, I’m disgusted at myself physically, and then also disgusted at myself for caring at all and letting it get to me when I do actually know better.

I bring it up only really because in the past week, I’ve actually realized something that I plan to remind myself of if-or-when it comes up again and starts bothering me..

Truth is that the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side.

I have a co-worker who is the normal standard of “pretty”. She is super nice, super sweet, and is no fool. On more than one occasion, we’ve had customers come in and tell her how beautiful she is. While they likely mean well, it always just becomes awkward for everyone in the office and she’ll joke and shrug it off infront of the customer. She’ll admit later how awkward it is for her, and all the front office employees will just note who it was and try and spare her the next time of having to deal with that customer.

In addition, there is this tendency (especially in men) to plain devalue what they expect that she’ll understand seemingly because of it. One customer came in while I was at lunch last week, and talked to her about a barely technical part of a service we provide, and told her that it “was probably too sophisticated” for her to understand what he had done, and that he’d come back in later. Granted, she’s not a technician, but still, that was a bit presumptuous, and honestly she let him leave with that because she at that point didn’t want to talk to him anyway.

Yesterday that customer came back in and asked the same questions, only to me. Now I’m not the most technical person here, but I do understand the realities of what his question posed and how that service actually works, and within a few minutes I answered his questions the best I could, and he admitted that he isn’t actually that technical and doesn’t really “understand it much” himself. I told him that was fine, we’d try to help him best we could (customer relations and all), but internally I was shaking my head at this ego trip of his.

What garbage.. If the reality is that he doesn’t know much about it either, why was it necessary to tell my co-worker and friend that it was “too sophisticated” for her? Its couldn’t be assumed that by desk location was why he treated her like that as I sit in the front office as well and also not with the regular technicians, so what was the difference other than I’m probably more “standard issue” looking and she’s not.

Seriously I believe this ended up being a matter of that he just wanted to plain “display his feathers” in front of her so to speak rather than just get his question answered? What a complete waste of time.

That is an attitude that would be so annoying to have to deal with on a more regular basis, and I’m thankful actually that I don’t have to. I hate wasting my time, and grandiose antics do primarily that. If things aren’t really sincere, if they aren’t to the point, and if they aren’t with the intention of resolving some issue, I find it difficult to care and difficult to listen because I feel like the focus should always be on the resolution of things, not the dumb dramatics that slow the progress of the desired end result.

While it seems like it would be more desirable to have visible “beauty”, it seems that when you get down to it, maybe life is actually more often closer to reality (when it comes to having to deal with other people) when you are just simply “standard” looking.

I don’t typically have to question the intention behind smiles I get as being anything but what they are…. and in the end… you know what… I’ll try and remember to take it as the blessing it apparently is, because I honestly wouldn’t have the patience to deal with the other side of things.

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Challenge Question: What decided your morals? Where they given to you as a child, or did you find them elsewhere? What questions do you ask yourself that help you determine if what you are thinking or doing is moral?

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A facebook comment response that got far too long. I apologize upfront as I absolutely adore talking philosophy with others, so sorry if this is boring to you.. lol but it expresses some thoughts that I’ve genuinely wanted to find a fellow philosophical “interlocutor” to discuss it with…

Stuff in blue is what my commenter had referenced
————————————————————–

I may have to look up that book you mentioned [Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult], as I’m always interested in what possible different views are out there.

You bring up a point that deserves real attention.

Truth can be very different to different people, depending on your “lens” you are seeing, hearing, feeling it through.

Part of the reason we are now experiencing this “Post-factual age” (in my opinion – so take it with a grain of salt) is because there is a misunderstanding in what a “truth” actually IS in the first place. We’ve actually expanded its meaning and given “opinions” and fleeting “feelings” the same gravity and validity as “truth” or “fact”.

Truth which started off being defined as:

“that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.”

Now goes on to also include

“a fact or belief that is accepted as true.”

Whether or not there are actual “facts” or standard “morals” is a philosophical question that has been a topic of discussion throughout time. I personally tend to lend towards the Kantian philosophy that there are some things that are just plain “true”, like for example…no matter what your religion or race or culture is, it is known that : 2 + 2 will equal 4. It is a mathematical fact that is consistent and replicable. It can be considered “true” and “valid”.

The more mundane beliefs about life and the understandings I gain from the stories I’m told — are for the most part contingent on my state of mind at that specific point in time. (this is the “lens” you mentioned, and honestly was exactly what I was talking about when I mentioned it being possible to ignore a truth – something you normally would agree with – simply because of biases held against who it was that uttered it).

While I can very well feel strongly about the “perceptions” I create through my “lens”, the mere point that they aren’t consistent, and aren’t 100% replicable for everyone across the board —  should alert us  to  understand that there is an actual difference between something that is ALWAYS replicable as “true” and something that is not.

We often have called these opinions “personal truths” and over time the distinction between the two types of “truth” seems to have been lost.

This I feel is an unfortunate trend that leads to confusion over all, as it seems to equalize what is reality with fleeting opinion, leaving not much to solidly go off of.

To me it seems somewhat similar to the Kantian discussion regarding morality and the real difference between hypothetical imperatives (things you just ought to do to achieve a goal) vs. categorical imperatives (actual moral obligations derived from pure reason).

Kant’s view was that what is moral is totally knowable using reason.  He reasoned that it was simple as to why it doesn’t require religion to understand morality. His basis for this was that if we consider our actions in a universal term, we can pretty easily determine if something is moral or not. He said:

Act only according to that maxim 1 which you can at the same time WILL that it should become a universal law 2 without contradiction ~ Immanual Kant

Example – Lets say you are tempted to steal some bread at the store.

This would lead to a contradiction which would make it be known as being an immoral act. This is because if you bring yourself to accept the action (or maxim) of it being ok for you to perform theft without repercussion, it then should be ok for everyone world wide to perform theft without repercussion always. A rule allowing stealing isn’t really universalizable because there would be no end, and it could never be viewed as fair for everyone to always steal.

Back to the point I was trying to make was that we should consider a distinction in what we consider as truth, otherwise it isn’t a helpful parameter.

Whether  or not we consider something as being an actual “truth” SHOULD require that it be a Universally valid statement. If its not, then it isn’t a solid truth, its just our impression.

1. [Maxim is a rule or principle of action.]
2. [Universal Law is something that must always be done in similar situations]

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