November 18: fear no more

What’s the thing you’re most scared to do? What would it take to get you to do it?

I’ve had all day to think on it and I can’t think of anything that I’m “most scared to do” – not that I’d want to do anyway. There are things that I’m afraid of but I have no control over them so I don’t worry. There isn’t anything that I’d want to do that I’m scared to do. Maybe I don’t understand the prompt. Or…maybe I’m too pragmatic – growing older has that effect. “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” – FDR’s inaugural address. (and I thought it was from the Bible) Those are words I do live by everyday. Sure, we all get afraid of something but it’s a fear of the unknown and we do ourselves a disservice to be in fear of things we don’t know and things we do not have the power to change. So, no, there is not something I’m most scared of.

365 Days of Writing Prompts

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Excuse me…

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“Excuse me!, Hello! You-Who!”

That’s how old I am – “excuse me” was the phrase you would use to get someone’s attention, to interrupt a conversation, to get by someone in a crampted spot. I don’t hear “excuse me” hardly ever anymore. When I was working, I used that phrase all the time because there is so much activity in a hospital that to interrupt and be heard you had to insert yourself. I could never bring myself to just jump in front of people and start talking, ask a question or otherwise be ‘rude’ but I noticed other people never had a problem with that.

“Hello!” is the more modern way of getting people’s attention and it’s usually said with an exasperated, exaggerated “I can’t believe this!” attitude, like “hellllllooooo!” (insert hand on hip and forward head roll). I use “hello!” more like a sing-songy “you-who” – more cheery in the way a middle-aged, prim neighbor would call over a garden hedge.

“You-who” or “you-hoo” – I mean, who says that anymore? Right?

#SoCS: attention seeking word: i.e. “pssst”

I love winter atmosphere

Atmospheric:

  • relating to the atmosphere of the earth or (occasionally) another planet.”atmospheric conditions such as fog, snow, rain”
  • creating a distinctive mood, typically of romance, mystery, or nostalgia.
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google images “snow dusted conifers”

I’m usual very aware of the atmospheric conditions not because my work depends on it or how it plays in deciding what to wear – although that’s important. No, I’m typically aware of what’s going on because I walk my dogs and where depends on weather and time, or I’ve hiked in the woods/mountains or I’m driving and I love looking at the sky, clouds and the mood of what I’m passing through.

Last week there was one day I left the hospital, it was later afternoon which means it was already getting dark and the weather was threatening rain or snow all day. When we left the building we noticed the temperature ‘wheel’ (an indicator for freezing temps and, thus, slick roads) was blue = 32* or below. The roads were wet but not slick or frozen mostly due to high traffic. As we headed south on our one-hour road trip, it started snowing and by the appearance of snow on the road edges and trees, it had been snowing south of the hospital. It was getting darker with the sky overcast in gray clouds and the evergreens along the highway were covered in snow – not the thick blanket but the dusting that’s like confectioner sugar on cookies and cakes. I wanted to take a photo, to pull over and smell the atmosphere  and have the cool, cleansed air settle on my skin – and take a picture. I did not, there were other people in the car and I knew they were only seeing the ‘bad weather’ and concerned with the ‘road condidtions’ and wanted to get home ‘soon’ rather than later. Ugh – passengers. But it was one of those bombogenesis days that I really love; moody gray, unpredictable weather and precipitation, cold and that unique winter-snow scent not to mention the beautiful frosted deep green conifers standing stoically, shouldering the first of their winter burden.

I did not get a photo and, I’ve decided, I’m not taking passengers routinely anymore; I don’t get to enjoy the ride or the visit as much as I would solo.

Daily Prompt: atmospheric

November 17: land of confusion

Tell us about a time when you felt out of place.

Oh, … yeah…only most of my life. It’s really only been my late forties, early fifties that I feel comfortable with my ‘place’ in life. Due to not having ‘real’ parents, any guidance, anyone who was looking after or helping me grow and develop – I have had to learn everything the hard way – hands on. I’m finally feeling, not only comfortable but happy with who I am. It’s been a long and miserable journey for the most part.

I’m not going to relay all the memories that come flooding to mind with the prompt to describe a time when I felt out of place but I’ll tell you about one – not the worst one, or the first one but just a wierd one.

I was in grade four and I’d made friends with a girl who moved to the area. I don’t remember how that came about but it did. Eventually she invited me over – a sleep over I think. Anyway, the first glaring difference was that she lived in a house, a big house and had her own bedroom. She had two parents not just a mom, her parens owned a business and I’m only assuming – now – that her mother probably worked at the business but I don’t really know for certain, maybe she was a ‘housewife’. CeeCee had to take time from playing with me to practice the piano – the one in their living room, and her sister practiced her flute. We played in the ‘family room’ – another room besides the living room and dining room. There were two bathrooms and a nice yard in which to play.

I was already feeling like the an alien, being at CeeCee’s house was like being in a different world from my – as I now refer to it – trailer-trash, wrong side of the tracks life. I had no idea how to interact with, not only other children but other people. When I say “trailer-trash” that’s exactly how it was; we lived in a trailer park out in the woods – away from respectable society I assume, where most people were poor and hoards of kids ran around like hooligans. It’s probably a good thing we were no where near civilization. My mother was rarely home and when she was, she was in a foul mood and we were sent out of the house. I was beyond shy, traumatized is more like it, so I had a hard time reading people, situations, etc. The most natural or normal things in life were foreign to me, we children never left the park except for school and sometimes to my grandparents house, so nice clothes and things were objects of curiosity and desire.

It was just before Christmas and CeeCee’s mother came into the room with a package for my friend – I believe it was mailed from a grandparent – and had her open it then. It was a long skirt, a maxi skirt as I now know it’s called. In hind-sight it probably wasn’t anything special, it was the 70’s so it was a plaid, it was winter so probably some warm wool blend or somthing like that. All I remember is seeing that skirt and – probably saying out loud – I wanted it. I had “always” wanted a long dress or skirt but, obviously, did not have/get one; that would have been an extravagance not to mention impractical, I mean, where would I wear that?

I really don’t remember much else about that experience – I know my reaction/feelings were transparent but I don’t know what I did or said but I do remember CeeCee’s mother having a talk with her privately – I was sent to the living room – and later CeeCee was ‘different’ with me. Now I realize that her mother probably told CeeCee that my family couldn’t afford such nice things and to be nice to me. I think my friend was embarrassed for me, she seemed more shy or careful after that. Anyway, I don’t remember ever going to her house again and soon enough we were not friends. Not because of a ‘fight’ or anything like that but because CeeCee soon made friends with other girls (in our school class) that lived in her neighborhood – and were of her socioeconomic ‘class’ – and these girls made sure I knew that I was not included in their little group. They’d be today’s equivalent of “mean girls”.

I’m sure I was the girl on the outside watching my friend have new friends and being resentful – why wouldn’t I? But I have no lingering feelings about this incident. I don’t look back and think I was bullied nor do I feel shame or anything other than the fact that it’s one of many odd and confusing times in my life. Now I know I’m a misfit and I don’t care, the world is full of ‘my kind’ and I’m no longer ‘white trash’ – although my life isn’t over yet so there’s still time to come full circle. 🙂

365 Days of Writing Prompts

 

when things mushroom

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My oldest, unemployed daughter, who’s rooming with a friend, was here overnight (x2) after a visit to the hospital for her sister. X doesn’t do much when she’s been here; no socializing, no playing with her nephew, no dishes, vacuuming, etc. etc. That’s one reason why I told her to leave a month + ago. While on this visit she helped herself to food/coffee – I don’t have a problem with that – however, she didn’t wash her clothes this time or shower. I told her (yes, I have to wake her up sometime before noon or she’ll sleep all day and make her get out of bed and any thing I think she’s more than capable of doing, I tell her to do – not like Cinderella, as you’ll soon read) to do the dishes, there was a little more than one-setting of dishes plus a pan – so, hardly any at all, and her response was, “I’ll do my own“. I said, “you’ll do all of them just like everyone else in this house does, this isn’t a free-for-all”.

Well, this morning, the counter was covered and the sink was now full of dirty dishes. I had already determined, because I know her well, that I was getting her out of my house today and she will not be invited nor allowed back again. I don’t know how she’ll get to the hospital for Thanksgiving, that’s where we, the family, are all going – I assume she’ll have to ask someone else to bring her.

I don’t ask her how things are going, if she’s found work yet, how she’s getting on with her frined (after a month of living there but not paying rent) or what her plans are because initiating a conversation by asking of her welfare will mushroom into something resembling the cloud over Nagasaki after the bomb was dropped. I don’t ask her anything because she’s so chronically surly with me. That’s not an exaggeration as her sister says we are like oil and water.

I am concerned about her welfare, especially her mental welfare, but she’s 35 years old and she’s shown no indication that she believes she’s responsible for herself (she has been employed off-n-on but she usually quits or sets herself up to get fired because she doesn’t like the work) – despite all the places she’s lived and been told to leave, despite her family over the span of almost two decades trying to encourage and help her get her life on some sort of productive path, despite the fact that she is not mentally (nor physically) challenged and is quite smart actually. I know people say, they have said to me, that she’s done well living off other people so far, why would she change. I don’t try to wrap my mind around her thinking, it’s illogical and she knows better – how can she not? She sees everyone work to pay for things they want/need, she knows you have to work to get where you want to be but she persists in this rational that she’ll work when she wants, quit when she wants and wonders why other people just don’t cut her some slack.

I worry but I can’t do any more for her.

Daily Prompt: mushroom

November 16: love to love you

IMG_3166What do you love most about yourself? What do you love most about your favorite person? Are the two connected?

Wow! That’s a loaded prompt. I’m not going to take the time to think on this, I’m just going to write as a stream of consciousness – with corrections.

I’ll take the first suggestion about what I love most about myself as it will be the most challenging. I’ve never thought about what I love about myself; I don’t even think about what I like about myself. We all think about what we don’t like about ourselves – we’re trained to find the flaws, not only in ourselves but in others too. So…to start my rambling…

I like my independent nature – it embodies creativity and stubbornness. I used to think it was a flaw, my ‘loner’ nature, but I’ve come to realize it’s a great strength that others sometimes admire but mostly are turned off by (I think being so independent of the need for other people makes other people feel irrelevant and, therefore, unimportant). Independence is very liberating – and enhancement of my life.

I read a blog post, I don’t remember who/where but it was about being single and how single people are actually, contrary to ‘popular’ opinion, happier or as happy as couples. Cultures tend to look at solo lifestyles as ‘lonely’, despairing cat-lady people. “Surveys” say that single people are not as healthy as couples. These are both falsehoods. Close connections or relationships are one facet of how people can be healthier but that is NOT the same thing as being part of a ‘partnership’; a few close friends or family members is all that is needed for soloists to remain happy and healthy and still be independent of a spouse or partner. I have no where near the number of complaints that my married/partnered friends have – not even close. I’ve mistaken that, in the past, as having a boring and uninteresting life but I’ve gotten wiser and realize that I like my life (we can all claim our lives ‘could be better’) and that’s in large part due to my independence.

Independence is a very strong character asset, if that makes any sense. Yes, a self-reliant person can be perceived as an outlier, especially if the person enjoys their freedom. I met a traveling nurse this summer, we went to an event together one day and we talked about our “independent woman” personalities. She said she had a boyfriend who balked (my word) at her independence because he felt he wasn’t needed in ther life so she had to explain to him how her life story necessitated her becoming so independent; when you can’t rely on other people to be there for you when you need them, you need to realize that you have to take care of yourself first. That becomes habit – and a good one – not because you don’t want or sometimes need other people but because you learn to not place expectations on others that may lead to disappointment or resentment. That’s a hard lesson to learn, really learn. That means that you can have people in your life who have value and meaning to you but you can navigate life without having to lean on someone else.

My free-style has allowed me to “dare” to hike the White Mountains and the Appalachian Trail solo, to take myself out to breakfast/lunch/dinner by myself (with a good book, of course) or the movie theatre, to travel to other parts of the U.S. or other countries – by myself. I earn and spend my money as I want. I don’t have to “pass it by” someone before I do anything or go anywhere. If I want someone’s input or opinion, I seek that of a friend or family member – who I trust, but resort to my own counsel in the end. I have determined what’s really a priority by whether or not it’s something I can do/get myself.

I love myself the way I am – I don’t even care what I look like (which is middle-age, menopausal plump wearing comfortable clothes and shoes 🙂 Sure, there are some things that I can and do ‘work on’ but mostly it’s about what makes me happy or satisfied with ME.

well, that wasn’t so bad

365 Days of Writing Prompts