Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Chris's list

Chris's list (similar to Craig's list but without the scams)

Ok, maybe not so similar. My friend sent me one of those e-mails where you answer questions about yourself and then send it on and all your friends do the same and you all learn new things or confirm old things you already knew and understood about each other. I don't know what is so appealing about those but each and every time- I participate. Well, this last one had the interesting challenge that you were supposed to answer every question by using just one word. By the way, Rhonda, that was one word- you failed miserably, but thank you for participating, anyway.

Which got me to thinking about lists. Personal lists. Top ten lists. What do I want to do before I die? Find a way to live forever....that will surely defeat that whole "you're going to hell" prognosis... by the way, that "theory" was forever embedded into my psyche by my mother that fateful night I thought I would have an intelligent, mature conversation about going on the pill. Yeah, the night I decided I would finally run away, which I did for about an hour until I thought, perhaps, I should have brought a coat and perhaps conquered my fear of the dark and maybe, just maybe, have a plan of action in place say as to where I would live, sleep and eat. So I slunk home only to find the back door locked because, even though we were the poorest family on the block in a town where no one, I mean no one, bothered to lock their doors, my father was sure that we would be robbed if he did not perform his nightly ritual of locking every window and every door. So there I was- cold, knocking on the door, going- Yeah, that's right, I'm back, the whole running away thing...didn't really mean it, if I did I would have done it much better, so can we please, not ever speak of this momentary glitch ever again?

But, back to lists-

Really, what would I like to do before I die? Top five? Not including sappy things like seeing my daughters get married.
1. HMMMmmmm-
2. Ummm,
3. Yeah, I'm gonna come back to this one.
4. Oh, go to Europe, especially Italy

Wait, let me start over-

1. Well, like everyone else in the world I would like proof that I mattered. That I made a difference by being here.

But what does that mean? Did I clean up a highway? Save an endangered species? I think I have made a difference in the lives of some of my students, not that drafting skills are that elemental to one's survival- but rather in small ways- the questions I have posed, the challenges I put to them, the times that I have said "hey, what is up with you? Is there a problem I can help you with?' and they have said "well, yeah,..." and together we worked through an issue that may or may not have related to my class but rather the incidental relationship we developed by simply being in the same place at the same time repeatedly. I never imagined the power I would have as the leader of a group, the influence and the opportunity to make a difference and the responsibility that would come with that.
Such small instances, though. Could they be enough to prove my validity and value as an adult human on this planet? Maybe it is a ripple effect. The small change I made in some one's life caused them to grow in a way that they could make a change in someone else's life- the pay it forward- concept.
Is it enough? Combined with what I do for family and friends, is it enough? Let alone, does it accumulate enough to offset my deficits? I really have to stop yelling at those kids, really! I guess the answer lies with me, is it enough for me? Will I ever be enough- for me?

Question #2

What do I love/hate about people?

1. I love the way humans fill in. When someone needs help other humans rally. Not always right away. To be sure there are always unseen victims and there are always areas where we are woefully inadequate. We were slow to help Katrina Victims, but we did, and we kept on helping. People open their hearts and homes to victims of fires with donations of clothes, food and shelter. There may be many people that turn away to those in need but there is always some number of humans that will help, even the most unsightly, even in the most uncomfortable situations. Someone helps.

2. I hate when people fabricate untruths about other people. Sometimes it's to achieve an end goal. Sometimes it's a reflection of their own pain manifesting in jealousy. I don't care what the reason is- if the person didn't say it, didn't do it, didn't mean it that way- then don't, what ever else you do in life- DON"T LIE and say they did. People believe stories and lies like this. Why wouldn't they? We all want to believe that we are being told the truth. We all want to have that basic faith in honesty and good will. I have been around just a very few people in my life that would say something about a person that isn't true, didn't happen or didn't happen that way. I have found them to be miserable, tortured and deluded. Don't be that. Lie about why you are late to work. Don't lie about a fellow human.

Question #3 What is my greatest downfall?

1. You thought I would say procrastinating, right? Close. Fear. Yep, that's right. I try to be very aware of my fear. I have discovered that it motivates a great deal of my actions. Not always in a good way. I don't want to live my life around fear. Sometimes I confuse fear with worry- "I'm worried that she won't like me." Really means that I am afraid that if every one doesn't like me ...well, what? I don't know. The world would not stop revolving if someone didn't like me, I know this. So why worry? I am smarter than this! But smarter doesn't make the fear go away when it's disguised as something else, like- worry.

I think fear is the root cause of most every negative behaviour. Envy and jealousy especially. So I practice. I practice tough love on myself. "Self," I say, "why are you jealous? Can't you be happy that so and so makes is successful and makes twice as much money as you?" Self pouts a lot but eventually tries to rise above the pettiness. Actually, self has a lot of work to do but as long as Self knows that, I think we are OK.

Basically, when I am miserable (and I don't want to be one of those miserable, mean, people) I try to break the problem down until I get to the truth. What starts out as "how could that person do that" turns into "it really bothers me because-" and then eventually "and that really bothers me because it means-" and because turns into "but I am afraid that...." at which point I know I am at the root of the problem. So I say "Self, straighten up, fear is nothing if you don't let it be something!" But Self is immature and usually crosses her arms, turns around and stomps away. Just like my daughter, Brooke.

Question #4 What do I value (besides my children and family, blah, blah)?

Well, I do value my family. Above all. My family has become a filter through which I view the rest of my world. Even on the Murkiest days I have to appreciate the way my husband fills his role as father, homemaker and provider. Good job or bad (he needs to stop yelling at those kids, too!) he is there, day after day. The way that our girls orient their world from us makes us the most important people in their world, at least for now, and that's a whole lot of proof that we matter. That's a whole lotta' responsibility and it's making us old, fast. What they give us in return, though- a chance to see the world with new eyes, a chance to be the smartest person in the whole world, a chance to be a hero, a wizard, a king or queen or even just a little kid again- yeah, this, all of this, I value the most.

Question #5 What has happened in my past that I would change?

It sounds trite to say "Nothing, I am who I am because of my past". To some extent that is true. I have made mistakes and like most, I punish myself more than anyone else ever would. But I learn and move forward. Bad times have left their mark on me but I know, I know without doubt, that I have a better understanding of the world I share because of those times. I have spent years- uncomfortable being me, until it became painful enough that I had to let that go. And let it go, I did. Now I try to convince others to do the same, hopefully sooner than I did. Without some peace about the past I would have no peace in the present. While I am not content I do appreciate what I have now and will make sure that I always take the time to appreciate what I do have.

So that's it, that's my list for today. I think I am PMS"ing- so if tomorrow I blog some terrible rant about some awful, evil person or circumstance you will have to forgive me. I'll blame it on my "self".

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