Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Emotional Roller Coaster

Today has been an emotional roller coaster.  I think I'm having one of those please remind yourself what you can control kind of days. I seem to think I'm in charge of something and that my stressing and worrying will make a difference. I woke up this morning in a total cranky, crabby funk. I couldn't move for the heavy cloud I was carrying around. I put some music on and actually felt better by the time I hit the shower.  For someone with no musical talent I live and breathe music. I celebrate to it, cry with it, dance to it, love to it, and sing with music. I find that I can completely change my mood with the right song. There are songs in my collection that take me directly back to a specific mood. There are good songs I can't play because of the feelings attached to it and really bad songs I jam to because of the memories they bring.  So today, a little gospel got me out of bed and remembering to be thankful for what I have. I ended up having a fairly productive day, writing, meetings and vet appointments.

Beside the stressors that come up when you work as a state employee for a state in the midst of a huge budget crisis, my kitty warrior princess seems to be sick.  After I spent the last few days nearly worrying myself sick it turns out to be nothing a few days on antibiotics won't clear up. That being said, I spent the last half of the day sitting in a vet's office listening, waiting and worrying. I can't control the state budget. I can't control the cat's health (apparently). I can't even control that man who was in the vet's office before me asking the same question three times - although I tell you I really wanted to get back that half an hour we all spent waiting for him to process what the vet-tech said to him (three times). What can I control? Not half as much as I would like but I sure as heck can control what song comes up next on my iPod!

This is fabulous. Next time I'm having one of these days I'm pulling up this website. How to Accept The things We Cannot Change

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Words have POWER

First I need to start with the fact that I spent the day minding my own business. Just like the water. I even redirected a student to the person who could and should help her. The person who has the power to address the issue.

Oh the fun thing for today...I was interviewed by a group of five year olds. Along with knowing about my job and what I do to uplift my community they also know my favorite color is purple, I lived on an island growing up, I love shoe shopping and my dog's name is Maya. It was a very nice change of pace for my week. They are using the information to write a poem. I'll be sure to share the poem. I'm a little nervous.

Now on to today's topic....

Yesterday, I was sitting in a meeting in front of an English professor. She asked the speaker to answer a question on a word the speaker had used. The professor admitted that her question might be a matter of semantics but she needed to make sure there wasn't any subtext. Meanwhile, I'm thinking..."because words have power". 

One of the things I've been doing for years is training folks with disabilities and/or training folks to work with people with disabilities. As I move my soap box into place, let me tell you, I just cringe inside when I hear certain words in reference to disabilities. Some of them are as hurtful to me as a racial slur. Suffer, Afflicted, Arthritic, and Patient are four of my least favorite words. My doctor is over across town. I see him maybe three times a year. Him and his nurse are the only people who can call me a patient just because I have an autoimmune disorder. I'm a woman. A dog owner. An educator. A bad singer (who sings ALL the time). A clown. A blogger (as of this week). Some days a Princess even but not a patient! Unless, of course, you happen to catch me in a robe with my butt hanging out.

I'm also not afflicted with anything. I have an autoimmune disorder. If you don't know why that one is offense, here's a quick definition: "To inflict grievous physical or mental suffering on".  Most days I'm not "suffering".  In fact if you catch me "suffering" it's more so because I'm spoiled, I like getting my way, and I might be a little over dramatic. Let me miss a meal and I'll be sure to tell you I'm suffering and blame you if you are between me and my next meal. As a person with arthritis I have good days and bad days and to imply I'm suffering negates all the wonderful things in my life. All the wonderful ways that I would much rather describe myself. This week I'm going with Rock Star!

Today's Lesson Brought To You By Life!

Today's lesson is for me. Don't do other people's work for them and stay out of their business if you don't want to be invited into their world.

Okay, it's probably safe to say I'm a bit of a busy body. I don't mean to be just two things...1.) I hate watching people flounder when I know the answer and 2.) I hate not knowing the answers. Ugh! I will tell you this, however, from a disability perspective my colleagues never say oh that poor woman she has a chronic illness - poo poo. They are too busy passing their work off on me instead of doing it themselves! So today I helped with the company brochures, provided feedback to a student who isn't mine and I didn't even speak to (just spoke to the person who was SUPPOSED to talk to him) and put time in on a political campaign. Okay, that isn't fair I did agree to do that last one but please know none of these are my job. I do not get paid or promoted or even thanked for any of the above. Now I'm stressed and achy and whiny. So what's my lesson. Mind Your Business, girl!

I'm mixing my religions I know but one of the things that stand out for me about this day are the Taoism quote I sent to a friend. I admittedly was clowning him 'cause that's what I do, but I probably could stand to read and remember some of Taoism at the end of this day.
Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.

So instead of sending a scathing email to the co-worker who probably forwarded my email instead of actually talking to HIS student....

Instead of getting into an argument with the chick about the print on the brochures (which really is hard to read)....


Instead of even telling you what I really think about the rest of those yahoos, I'm going to remember that none of this was even my business until I made it so. I'm going to be soft and yielding. Okay, maybe I'll just settle for being a little less of a busy body.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Searching for the Good

Wanna know my favorite part of pain? I know you are shaking your head about now, saying to yourself that I've lost my mind, who has a favorite part of pain. Well I do!  It's that part when you realize something that hurt either doesn't hurt any more or hurts a lot less. You know, like when you stub your toe. First it hurts like nobody's business, then the throbbing sets in, then as you are going about your day at some point in time it stops. At some point in time you think to yourself - hey my toe isn't hurting anymore. That point! That point where you say - hey my toe isn't hurting anymore - that's my favorite. It's like sunshine after a rain. I make an effort to notice that moment. It's like searching for the good. 

So often I read about people with chronic illnesses, health issues, or disabilities talking about their pain, their illness, the disability as if it is central to who they are and what they do. Kind of like living inside the pain. The pain can be overwhelming, trust me this I know! If you are not able to see the good, however,  you'll never move up off that street. Never change addresses and always live inside the pain. Surely, no one wants that to happen. So what good has happened today?

I read a post online that said people with chronic illnesses should tell people how they are "really" doing when someone asks how they are today. Having lived with a fair amount of severe pain when you ask me how I'm doing I say - "I'm good" or an occasional "I'm okay". Is that an honest answer when my knee is swollen, I have a bruise from my monthly medicine, and I have an x-ray order riding around in my purse? Heck yes!! I live alone. If you are talking to me it means I'm out of my house. I'm out of my bed. I'm dressed the dog has been walked and I drove to where ever it is we are talking. I AM GOOD! Heck I might even be great!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


"Everyone come on and dance if you want to. If music makes your body move, well alright".  I can't stay long. I've been playing some back in the day hits through and online radio station. I didn't even realize I was back to dancing until I found myself boogying on down my hallway to get something from my room. 

Trying to sit still while they are jammin' to Dazz is very difficult - cause music DOES make my body move. What moves you?!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Holding On

We had Spring here for a quick minute, I have picture proof. It is absolutely freezing today, however. But you know the one thing life has taught me...Trouble really don't last always. Today it's 36 degrees tomorrow is liable to be 65. Today my lower back is killing me. Tomorrow I'll be back to dancing (only in my house... oh but sometimes in my office). Spring flowers always remind me of how winter is just a season, not always!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Power and Privilege

I talked to my students today about power and privilege. While they were quick to condemn the wealthy for not being aware of their privileges, my students struggled for an hour and a half to list their own privileges. And even then they listed privileges as they felt they were slighted out of by the truly privileged.

It's a tough task to know what privileges are handed to you based on your gender, social economic status, sexual orientation, religion, able-body, or other identity statuses. We all have them and half of us think we earned them as "rights" not privileges.  From the little things you don't think about like being able to watch a movie with characters that look similar to you or being able to kiss your husband in public. To the much larger things you might realize like being able to sleep soundly in a warm bed, in a warm house, without any real fear of a bomb hitting your house. There are people in this world that worked just as hard, saved just as much, and did all the "right" things who aren't enjoying your privileges.

One of our readings for today was Peggy McIntosh's paper on White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. It's a very interesting read. It can be found here: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

Another interesting read is by Linda Black and David Stone called "Expanding the Definition of Privilege: The Concept of Social Privilege". If you can get your hands on the article it's in the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, volume 33. Black and Stone discuss the idea that we all have some privileges and that these privileges are based on our many social identities (gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc.).

A very interesting and long night!

Affordable Health Care

The White House blog  has published information on the Affordable Care Act today. This week marks the first year anniversary of this act. I guess that means people have been fighting against the act itself for a little over a year.

I know everyone has their own opinion on the administration (we always do). And this act does require an out of pocket expense for someone....or some businesses as the case may be. I can’t be against it though, I have a pre-existing condition.

I currently have health care. I have a pretty good plan. Oh, hell, I have a great plan I work for the state. My plan is so great it pays for doctor’s visits, medication, preventative care, emergency care, surgeries, etc., etc. I even have choices when picking a plan. I can do a strict HMO, a PPO or one of those ones where you pay less up front because you are the middle man working out your own reimbursements. I went with the one that was most affordable and had the most flexibility (but I pay for a middle man thank you very much). I travel at least a couple of times per year and I didn’t want a hassle if I went off network to a doctor in say....I don’t know...Nevada. ...and honestly, I never know what flare up might happen when.

My personal flexibility ends with the plan and it’s coverage.  I do LOVE my insurance coverage. I really do. But...and yes there is a but... I worry about the fact that I have to LOVE my job as well. Somedays my job comes in with a small, teeny, tiny l-o-v-e. This poses a problem.

A little bit about me....I have a graduate degree. A terminal degree, highest I can get in my field. Did all I could do to prepare myself to be a good upstanding taxpaying citizen.  I got my degree in a field that gave me options. I went back to school several years after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder so I knew I needed options - because honestly I LIKE working and figured on doing it until retirement age if health permits. With options health can permit a whole lot I presume in my field. But here’s the kicker....I’m restricted if insurance companies are allowed to hold onto those pre-existing conditions standards. Very restricted. I can’t go months without insurance. I have medications where out of pocket costs would be about the same as a car note. A big, luxury car note!

Last summer I had an interesting conversation with my cousin when I was out in Vegas. She works for herself. I think I had told her about a friend of mine who also lives out there and works for himself. My cousin’s father (my Uncle - of course) ALSO has his own business and instilled that entrepreneurial spirit into his kids. So over coffee, knowing that my degree prepares me for private practice (among my options), my cousin looks me in the eyes and says “so why don’t you start your own private practice”. I looked her dead in the eyes and said in reply, “because I need health insurance”.

This video is from the White House, so I realize it is slanted a bit... but it speaks to me....If I were self employed could I survive? If I just decided I was done living inland and moved to the coast, could I? If offered a job some where fabulous making a ton of cash, would they hire me after I spent 30 minutes going over their health plan to make sure I’d be covered from day one? 

Jumping Right In!

So I’m jumping right into this online blogging thing. I have a facebook page, a couple of twitter accounts (don’t even ask) but for some reason I have totally avoided blogging. It seems like such a commitment. But I’m inspired so here I go......

I hope you come along with me on my journey while I try to figure out how to make this work for me. How to get the ideas out of my head and into the real world. How to represent myself and my friends in such a light that others may be inspired as well. 

Come on in! The water is fine.