Not Behind On Life

Man alone in auditorium with spotlight shining down onto him

So you know a lot about me and my life.  Some of you may even remember that I have a son.  He is 25 now.  Like me, he thinks too much for his own good.  Like me, and a huge percentage of the world, he has a false narrative about himself.  And, like me, he finds it very difficult to show himself grace.

grace (noun):
\ ˈgrās \
Definition of grace:
1a:  unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification
2b: archaic: Mercy, Pardon
2d: disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency
2e: a temporary exemption: Reprieve

Yes, I cherry-picked the definitions I wanted, the ones most relevant to this post.  It comes from Merriam-Webster.  You see, most people do not know what forgiveness is, and they especially do not understand how to give it to themselves.  Our human brains want to focus on the negatives because if we are hyper-aware of the negatives about our lives and circumstances, then maybe we can fix them, and survive longer.  It is the oldest part of our brains, the reptilian-brain programming, making some of us miserable, all because our brains, our bodies want to go on living, no matter what.

I am NOT saying my son is unhappy, miserable, or suffering from a mental illness.  I am just saying he is human, doing what humans do.  And, at 25, he has been watching his friends move into stages of their lives that he has not yet reached, specifically:  marriages, houses, and babies.  We older individuals understand that is, in the long run, perhaps, a lucky thing for him.  He has more time for doing the things he wants to do before putting his personal needs and desires to the side for a partner and an eventual family.  He may have greater success at being a parent and a partner.  And, as his mother, I certainly want him to have a happy, healthy, well-adjusted family life.  I want his children to have a better childhood than he had, and that I had, and that my mother before me had.

But to him, he sees everyone around him as “succeeding,” while he views himself as being “behind on life” — his words, not mine.  And it does cause him anxiety.  It sometimes makes him question why he has not yet found a partner because he mistakenly believes he is uniquely situated.  And likely that is my fault. 

I have always felt that I was uniquely unloveable and undeserving and, as a consequence, the world kept proving me correct, at least to my mind.  I was a terrible role model in that sense, and I see him slowly turning in that same direction.  The direction I turned and the direction my mother turned before me — some would call it a “legacy,” others would harken it to “sins of the father,” while still others debate nature vs. nurture, environmental vs. societal, and then you’ve also got the chemical, nutritional, heredity debate raging on.  No matter the causation, it is something that can be worked on and improved.  And my son does understand that.

He doesn’t let any of that push him down, destroy him or his future.  Not yet at least.  He uses it as a motivator for change.  He is constantly trying to better himself.  He works hard.  He plays hard.  And he studies… everything.  He challenges himself to grow and he embraces life to the fullest.  He is working hard to create a path to the life he wants, and when the time is right he will find the right woman for him.  He plays hard, which is good because once he marries and has kids, he likely won’t have the time, energy, or money to do so.

I have so much pride for who he is, and when given a chance I try to share with him those things that I see that make him uniquely special, the things about him (not what he does but who he is) that I respect so much.  I don’t know, maybe that’s wrong too.  I just want him to see himself as I see him, and like others experience him.  Do you know what I mean?

Anyway, being grown-up is hard.  Being a parent is harder.  And I just want every one of you to know, wherever you are emotionally in your life, right now, it is okay.  Show yourself some grace.  Forgive yourself for the things that make you hate yourself.  What you carry is likely false shame* not true shame.  And you do not deserve to do that to yourself, regardless of your past, regardless of what anyone tells you (including yourself!), just as my son does not deserve to do it to himself.  Each day, if only for a moment, try to step out of fear and into courage.  God made us for love not hate and he doesn’t want us to hate ourselves.  God loves us despite our flaws and despite our sins.  He shows us grace every single day, forgiving our sins even though we do not deserve it.

Remember, forgiveness is something that we do for ourselves, not for those that hurt us.  Once you understand that as the truth and begin putting it into practice, you will be so much happier with your life because you will understand that you are special, you are deserving, and you are capable of being happy.  And so you will be!

And, as an added benefit, you’ll be able to teach your sons and your daughters to do it as well.  And what a gift that will be, ending a legacy of self-incrimination, teaching our beloved children to have understanding, patience, and grace for themselves as well as others, effectively breaking the chains of the past, the family legacies, the “sins of the fathers,” and creating an environment where our children get to begin anew, with a fresh pallet, a new storyline that they can pass down to future descendants!  I wish I’d grown up with that and even more than that, I wish my son had grown up with that.  I wish I’d understood all of this decades sooner, not for me but for him.2

I forgive myself.  Now, hopefully, as I am growing to practice love and forgiveness in my own life, he will see the changes in me and learn it for himself.  I hope you’ll do the same.  Again, we forgive for our own peace and well-being.  So don’t fight it.  Work on it, for one incident by the one person that means the most to you (it doesn’t have to be a big incident,) every single day, until, at last, a day will come and you’ll realize you did it!  You forgave that grievance made against you.  They do not even have to know, because it is NOT about them, it is about You!

Popcorn is prepared in the same pot, in the same heat, and within the same oil.  And yet, the kernels do not pop at the same time.  Show yourself grace; you will pop in the moment that is perfectly timed for you!

2Doesn’t it always seem easier to do things for others than to do them for ourselves!

*
Shame and guilt are NOT the same thing.  Guilt is a feeling for an action that has been taken.  Shame is a feeling about who you perceive yourself to be, true or not.    For more information and understanding about the two emotions please see the excellent article on the Psychology Today online magazine’s website by Dr. Joseph Burgo entitled: The Difference Between Guilt and Shame.  

***** NOTES FROM THE AUTHOR*****
Though he likely will never see it, this post is dedicated to my inspiring, beloved son, DBL.  You’re gonna be a star, baby, all you gotta do is POP!  

The wonderful photograph used to create the meme was taken by Amir Geshani and the featured photo was taken by Angel Origgi, both were acquired through Unsplash. It’s a great source for free photos under the Creative Commons Zero license, so check it out!
© MemeesMusings/B.L. Memee, 2020. All rights reserved.

20 Year Reflections: Viruses & Miracles

Man playing guitar alone at home
A fun POEM — I am NOT the author — from 20 years ago about another worldwide virus that all of us survived!

I just found it typed up in a box of papers I had saved and thought it a great time to share. Obviously, I thought it clever and I thought the event was worth memorializing (as did, obviously, someone else). We need to take moments of levity during tragic times.  It is a survival mechanism that’s been around for as long as we’ve been self-aware.  EVERYONE survived this virus, the one referenced in the poem, but the fears were very real. Do you remember?  Can you name it?

I will tell you a little secret, I DID buy heavy-duty plastic and duct-taped my windows and sliding glass door, as so many others did. We survived that one, and most of us will survive this one, bettering our chances if we use Wise Mind, listen to the scientists, and patiently follow the guidelines given to us.

You’ve never heard any fireman say, “Everyone, run as quickly as you can into the flames!”  No, they tell you to “walk calmly, single fire towards the exits.” This is a great example of listening to the professionals, following directions, and patiently using Wise Mind to get through those panicked times and into a safe location.

Right now your safe location is your home. Your masks are vital, but they are not a replacement for staying home. Your gloves may make you weak and vulnerable by giving you a false sense of protection. Be aware, think it through, weigh your feelings and your thoughts before making decisions… this is Wise Mind it should be part of your survival plan.

POEM TIME!!!

THE NIGHT BEFORE Y2K

‘Twas the night before Y2K, and all through the nation,
We awaited the bug, the millennium sensation.
The chips were replaced in computers with care,
In hopes that old “Bugsy” wouldn’t stop there.

While some folks would think they were snug in their beds,
Others had visions of dread in their heads.
And Ma with her PC and I with my Mac,
Had just logged on the net, and kicked back with a snack.

His image downloaded in no time at all.
He whistled and shouted, “Let all systems fall!
Go Intel, go Gateway, now HP, Big Blue,
Everything Compaq and Pentium too.
All processors big, all processors small,
Crash away, crash away, crash away all.”

All the controls the planes need for their flights,
All microwaves, trains, and all traffic lights.
As I drew in my breath and was turning around,
Out from the modem he came with a bound.

He was covered in fur, and slung on his back
Was a sack full of viruses, set for attack.
His eyes – how they twinkled, his dimples – how merry,
His midnight approach though soon became scary.

He had a broad little face and a round little belly,
And a sack full of viruses that quivered like jelly.
He was chubby and plump, perpetually grinnin’
I laughed when I saw him, though my hard-drive stopped spinnin’.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know, a new feeling of dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work.
He changed all the clocks then turned with a jerk.

With a twitch of his nose, and a quick little wink
All things electronic soon went on the blink.
He zoomed from my system to the next folks online.
He caused such a disruption – could this be a sign?

Then I heard him exclaim with a loud hearty cry,
“Happy Y2K to all, and kiss your PC good-bye!”

                                                                                                                           — Poet Unknown

I hope you had a little fun with that and that somehow, this little poem written 20 years ago for a virus the world was convinced would end life as we knew it — because all computers’ inner clocks were never programmed for dates beyond the 1900s —  helps you to remember the world is not ending.

And, in fact, the world is more alive than ever! Our atmosphere, the waters, it is all healing. Wild animals are making their presence known to us, reminding us that this is their world too. Some are even making a comeback from the brink of extinction. And we, you and I and all of those we have ever known, have woken up from a deep sleep of the mundane, our apathy, our arrogance, and our misdirected energy and now that we are awake we are now re-examining ourselves, revaluing the importance of everything, and reconnecting with our families, our communities, and our gods*.

Do you see them? Do you see the miracles happening all around us? Do you see people connecting with song whether from their windows on the streets of Italy or on the World Wide Web (we haven’t called it that for a very long time, but now it feels that way) singers and musicians from different countries to perform songs of faith together from their own shuttered up living quarters?  Do you see neighbors meeting neighbors they’ve never spoken to before? I do.  I see all of them and it is wonderful!

God turns everything for good. You’ve just got to be willing to be quiet, open your ears and listen for him, you’ve got to open your eyes and be willing to see them. And then, when you do, open your heart and 2seek Him. You won’t regret it.

(*Trying to be inclusive there.)
2And here is a poem by yours truly entitled, “God’s Child.”

The wonderful photograph was taken by Brantley Neal and acquired through Unsplash. It’s a great source for free photos under the Creative Commons Zero license, so check it out!
© MemeesMusings/B.L. Memee, 2020. All rights reserved.

Something from the Lighter Side

alex-azabache-j97YqU81FSw-unsplash

Sandman Jazz queries and my responses

CAN YOU FILL THIS OUT WITHOUT LYING? Link back to Sandman’s post with a pingback if you opt to play.   

  1. What was the last thing you put in your mouth? 
  2. Worst physical pain you’ve suffered? 
  3. Favourite place you’ve been? 
  4. How late did you stay up last night? 
  5. If you could move somewhere else where would it be? 
  6. Last holiday you went on? 
  7. When was the last time you cried? 
  8. What’s your favourite season? 
  9. If you could have any career, what would you do? 
  10. What was the last book you read? 
  11. If you could talk to ANYONE right now who would it be? 
  12. Are you a good influence?
  13. Does pineapple belong on a pizza? 
  14. You have the remote, what channel do you choose? 
  15. Last concert you attended? 
  16. Favourite food?

My Responses:

First I’d like to say, why would I lie?  The questions are not at all intimate, and even if they were I have a certain amount of real like anonymity as well as the option to not even respond.  Though I suppose the “without lying” does catch people’s attention and makes them want to read the questions.  So I suppose it was a clever way to catch our attention, have us read his blog, and then ping back to him.  Well done Jazz Man, well done!

1.  The last thing I put into my mouth was my nightly medications washed down the pipe with La Croix Tangerine Water.  Maybe not the best combination to put together, but it was handily nearby and did the trick!

2.  The worst physical pain I suffered was giving birth without medications, hypnosis, or being surrounded by water.  Baby boy came too fast for any of the preparations I’d planned for.

3.  My favorite place to have visited was Santorini, Greece.  A gorgeous island with amazing blue waters and American breakfasts!

4.  Last night I stayed up until 6 AM.  I was on a manic cycle and prior to that had not slept since Friday.  I’ve come back down and am feeling balanced.  Though, it is, as I type this answer, 5 minutes to Thursday, so we’ll see whether or not I am truly ready for a normal sleeping pattern again.

5.  I was raised in Northern California and if I were to live anywhere other than here, it would be somewhere down there.

6.  The last ‘holiday’ I went on was a trip to Northern California to see a lifelong friend for a week.  It was very pleasant and I had a jolly good time.

7.  I had my most recent cry in September 2019.  It began in the evening around seven or so, shortly after dinner anyway.  And the next day when I woke up, I still had tears running down my face.  I am pretty sure I had let crying jags for a week or two thereafter and then it just kinda morphed into silent depression.

8.  My favorite season is summer, when the sun is shining my spirit feels uplifted!

9.  Ah, well this is easy.  Before becoming disabled I had a career as a court reporter.  Maybe you call us Stenographers over on the other side of the pond?  I loved it and have missed it every day since walking away.

10.  Well, the last book I physically read was not so good.  I am however someone who cannot not finish a book I’ve begun.  It was Book 2 in the Magical Kingdom series by Terry Brooks.  I disliked the book so much that I will not read the remaining books from that series.  Anyway, it was entitled The Black Unicorn.

Since the lockdown, I have moved on to listening to audiobooks that I can check out from my library using the app Libby.  I am really enjoying it.  The voice actors are tremendously gifted and I find that I am retaining it better than if I were reading it myself!  So, when all of this is over and we are able to return to libraries, book stores, and the like, I think I will likely keep on with the audiobooks.  It will have become one of the changes to remain with me.

11.  It’s hard to choose just one person to talk to.  I’d love to talk to my dad and my grandmother, but they have both moved on.  I have been talking to my son but the quality isn’t what I’d like it to be.  If I could have the conversation at the quality I would like, I would choose him.  We are still working through the He is an adult now stage of relationship-morphing.

12.  Am I a good influence?  Yes.  And no.  It depends on what I am influencing.  Do I have a good work ethic?  Yes.  Am I a motivated house cleaner?  No.  Am I kind and loving to people I know and do not know?  Yes.  Am I kind and loving toward myself?  Not really.  I am a work in progress and I think everyone who answers this question truthfully would have a similar answer.

13.  Pineapple on Pizza?   Oh hell yeah!  Double pineapple, please!  Pineapple is always served best warm!

14.  When I have the remote I choose Netflix, Chromecast, NBC, and MSNBC.  But mostly, it’s Netflix.

15.  The last concert I attended was a long, long time ago.  A girlfriend had a spare ticket to see Marc Anthony, so I joined her.  I knew only 2 of the songs, but they were songs I liked and I had a good time.

16.  My favorite food is a bean and cheese burrito with melted cheddar on top and slathered with sour cream and guacamole!  Yum, yum!

The wonderful photograph of Santorini and her bright blue waters was taken by Alex Azabache and acquired through Unsplash. It’s a great source for free photos under the Creative Commons Zero license, so check it out!

© MemeesMusings/B.L. Memee, 2020. All rights reserved.

Isolation Pt. 1 #lockdowneffect

aaron-burden-cEukkv42O40-unsplash

According to Business Insider, 4 days ago, on April 3, 2020, via statistical analysis of governmental measures to survive COVID-19*, one-third of the World Population is on Lockdown due to the devastating effects of this novel coronavirus.

It is a strange and scary time.

People are suffering for many reasons that are the same and many reasons that are different.  We are suffering from the illness, yes.  Our friends, neighbors, and acquaintances are dying, yes.  We are frightened and anxious.  We are feeling stir crazy and bored.  We are not experiencing as much of the life-giving air and sunshine that we need to thrive but, more than anything, we are isolated, kept apart from one another.

Our habits are changing.  Our thoughts about our actions and those of others are changing.  The world will not be the same once a vaccination is found and we feel free to leave the safety of our lodgings, coming and going as we did just a few months ago and for thousands of years before to the beginning on man living in dwellings.

I believe we will see very obvious changes to the functioning of our societies; there will be social changes that we will long for which may never return, longings that our unborn children, our grandchildren, would be shocked or repulsed by or even just curious about while simultaneously being so surprised to learn just how different our childhoods and life experiences were from what theirs is.

Will the future be filled with a world of germaphobes? Will we be wary of people standing too close? Will our children and grandchildren not yet born also be wary or will they be immune to these fears?  Will we use Mork’s or Spock’s hand gesture of greeting, or will we organically create our own (and if so will it be a worldwide greeting or different greetings around the world) or, as I hope, will we be stuck with the elbow bump?  Will little girls play Patty Cake and Miss Mary Mack?  How about Say Say Oh Playmate, Down Down Baby or Down by the Banks of the Hanky Panky?  Will adolescent boys give high fives for making baskets?  Will first loves, young marrieds, or seniors stroll through parks hand in hand? And how will sporting teams greet one another?  By standing in a very large circle and bowing in unison?

Time will tell and I think that some of these changes will be fascinating to see.  I expect there are enormous changes coming, changes at all levels of our existence.  I cannot tell you why I think this.  I can only tell you that I feel this.

I suggest that in addition to outward changes in social behavior and thinking, there may well also be hidden changes deep within our subliminal selves, the not-yet understood definitions that make up each one of us, creating infinitely unique individuals from every spermatozoa and egg that unite, even those eggs that later split creating not one but two tiny babies that will grow into integral members of future humanity.  There are changes taking place right now, today, in the mechanisms that guide us toward our behavioral choices, actions, beliefs, and feelings… our souls.

And could there even be something within us, as a species, that is changed forever?  Will the impact of this cause a chemical change in our DNA that will be visible to science proving that we, as a species, made a sudden adaptational leap in the DNA of today to the DNA of the generation that follows?  And, if so, what will that adaptation mean for all of us, the people who are walking our earth now and all of the generations that may come after?

I have written quite a bit about isolation over the years.  And I believe firmly that isolation kills.  But now, for our mortal survival, individually and perhaps as a species, we must isolate away from one another.  And that is an enormous shift in humankind and it is why I suggest that this may, in fact, be the kind of event that changes who and how people are, how they interact with one another, how they think, as well as changes to their physical and sub-physical natures.

Of course, I could be wrong.

 

 

The wonderful photograph was taken by Aaron Burden and acquired through Unsplash. It’s a great source for free photos under the Creative Commons Zero license, so check it out!

☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀

*“…statistical analysis of governmental measures to survive COVID-19,” is my laymen’s terminology of what was created and presented.

© MemeesMusings/B.L. Memee, 2020. All rights reserved.

My March Coronavirus

Quarantine

On Sunday, March 1st, I woke up with a bad headache and a strong, dry cough. I did not go to church. I called my work and told them I was sick and would not be in until better.

On Thursday, March 5th, I still had that bad headache, the strong, dry cough was now accompanied with a sore throat, muscle aches and pains, and by afternoon I was shivering and shaking, teeth chattering, it was so bad I called my county health department asking what I should do. As terrible as I felt, in terms of do you need to go to the hospital my problems were minor. After our discussion, I called a nearby walk-in clinic (my doc is an hour away) I sometimes go to. They wanted me to go to my doctor. Thanks for that.

March 5th was the first day that they announced testing would be available for people. There were locations that were determined to be the providers for those drive-by tests. My private practice doctor was not going to be one of them, and regardless of that, I was not capable of driving anywhere. I did learn where to go and what to expect.

I was so damn cold and exhausted from the struggle to find direction from someone “in the know” I crawled into bed and slept for another 4 hours. My temperature was 101.3.

When I woke up I was no longer “freezing.” It was 5:30 PM and I knew I had to get going. I got dressed, got in the car, and drove to the town 30 minutes north of me where the tents and drive-thru testing was to be.

Nothing. There was nothing there. Well, that’s not quite true, there were tents, abandoned blue tents and no cars lined up or people wandering around looking lost.

There were a few parking spots with cones at the front, I parked in the coned spot closest to the tent hoping they were watching from windows because it was very stormy, heavy, heavy rain and strong winds. My temperature was 103.3, I was sick, and I didn’t know what I was supposed to do.

And nobody really had any answers.

Long story short, I did end up inside after being told I was to wait in my car until they had a room ready for me (I had all the symptoms of Coronavirus and had spent 3 hours with an individual who was in China when the illness broke out, returned home, quarantined in home 14 days w/o symptoms and returned to work; where I met with her.)

An hour and a half later, a nurse in full protective gear came to my car and took me through a side door to my room.

I was tested for strep, tested for flu. I waited. Strep. Yeah, that’s probably it. Both tests were negative. I was taken for x-rays of my lungs. Good news, my lungs were “clear.”

And, the reason the tents were empty, the status change for testing had not been made official. The doctor called the health department and pushed for me to get tested. It was late now, after 8 PM. The individual said I likely would not pass criteria to have the tests read but to go ahead and do it and the next day a decision would be made about whether she could submit them for processing.

So they scraped my throat again and then pierced my brain with their 12″ nasal probes, one per nostril which, once finding its destination was twirled around to get a good sample.

I was told 3 days. I would know in 3 days.

I cannot share with you about the next 3 days as I was flush with fever, delirious at times, sleeping pretty much around the clock. I can tell you I’ve never been as sick in my life as I was on those days. I was in deep pain, had difficulty breathing (thankfully I have a CPAP machine, which helped), and in those moments of lucidity, I was SCARED.

Three days came, three days went.

On March 9th, I called. I knew my test was being processed as I had called and gotten the confirmation that an exception had been made in my case (they had already used the test after all, and we had pushed the fact that I work with seniors).

The wait was now 7 days.

On March 11th, my fever broke. On March 12th I learned the results of my coronavirus test. Negative.

However, I am to remain in quarantine until all of my symptoms have resolved.

Today is March 17th, I am still coughing up my lungs, although now I occasionally get something coming up out of the lungs. Because I was sick so early, I was unable to prepare for this by shopping for food, toiletries, etc.

And yet, I am calm. I feel at peace. The earth is cleansing herself. Isn’t it interesting that the world’s children are not hard hit? I find it fascinating, it feels like a plan. And ultimately, I know that God turns all things for good.

#coronavirus #Seattle #underquarantine #shelterinplace #day17

Photo by CDC on Unsplash
© MemeesMusings/B.L. Memee, 2020. All rights reserved.