Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Insert Catchy Motivational Phrase Here

There are easily a thousand motivational phrases. All right and all wrong. What you need to hear may not make it through the radio static of life. Stress comes and goes like a tide. How we perceive and feel regarding events impacts our well-being.

We learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes.
Last night I stared under the hood of our van staring at the parts. I know some of their names, can monitor fluid levels and jump batteries. I felt frustration well up. I grew up in a mechanic shop. I spent my time spreading sand on oils spills, taping windows for paint jobs, handing tools to my father and the other alcohol sodden mechanics. They were the best babysitters. I behaved for them because I liked the intricate puzzles of metal they labored over. I asked questions until I fully grasped that I wasn't going to get answers. I was a girl. I wasn't supposed to like engines. I wasn't supposed to learn and being a four year old I respected my elders. I feared getting sent to more sitters who yelled, ignored or bullied me. I should have remembered: I ended up at work with my father because the babysitters kept losing me. I hid from them, escaped from them, made a regular mockery of their attempts to supervise me. I still feared being sent to another mind numbing trailer with moronic shows blaring on a cheap television.
If only minds had been open. If only generations of gender roles had not been so strong in that small town. When I got older I worked at a different tree farm. My family wouldn't hire me as "What would people think of we had women on our construction crew?" At the Cooperative, they thought I was a highly skilled, knowledgeable, hard working member of their propagation team. My rooting rates were remarked on. No one blinked at my gender. They did remark on my colorful vocabulary.
My mistake was acquiescence. I grew out of that. Mostly.

I am not comfortable feeling helpless. I am not comfortable feeling like I'm failing. Is anyone really, or do some just put a better mask? My best and worst attributes come out. My demons circle and whisper louder than thunder. It seems like I'm arguing when I'm listening and arguing to get more detail to better equip myself to deal with myself and situations more effectively.

I've been learning. When these situations arise to stop. Focus forward. Problem solve. Think about past lessons. Think about specific friends and situations that remind you to maintain perspective. Find something to ground with, something to work toward.
Who are your supports? Whether they know it or not, take a moment to reach out of your head to check in on friends. Be there in their moment. Give their voices and conversation a chance to work it's magic. There really is nothing like a smile, friendly voice, a gentle hand on your shoulder, or a focused hug.

Many challenges I navigate through are never expressed aloud. Most come from within. It is humbling to realize you are your best support and worst enemy.

This year I had to face the reality that I cared too much for someone who echoed the worst voices in my head. I let their words enhance the destructiveness of my own shadows. I reached a point where I faced myself. I chose to heal. To grow and to listen to the healing, growing, positive voices instead. I chose to invest in myself. If you don't invest in you, if you do not value you, why would others?

I prepared for Shades of Faerie, nervous about my stories and the event. Taylor Grant and Joshua Safford are amazing storytellers. Would My stories be up to muster? Would my character? Preparing for the event, dealing with last minute details the unexpected happened.

I've spent a lifetime mastering flexibility and acceptance. Make do could be my motto. The guy who was going to do video capture couldn't do it. Omar and I were running errands in Tulsa. He broached the idea of picking up equipment and doing video. It would cost us, but it would be an investment. Initially, an investment in my character and career development; also offering us the option of being able to do video work and other projects. Investing in me, investing in him, investing in us.

The show went well. Compliments and performance awards were given to all three of us for the show.

I think about that often. I've been the one investing in me. My great grandmothers, my grandfathers did before they died. Their investments were emotional. This was a financial investment. From the time I got out of sixth grade, I worked. I made my own money. I bought my own clothes, books, toys. I paid my bills and expenses and played every sport well, got top grades. My parents focused on my siblings. They invested in them.

Having someone invest in you gives you a profound feeling if it's something you are not used to.

Who invests in you? What do you acquiese to? Should you?

Each day is a new day, life is challenges and triumphs. Tragedies and comedies in situations and circumstance that chain from second to second. Finding a way to learn from both in part of being human.