Milestones – Big and Small

For many years, I have wanted to set aside time, and more importantly energy, for making doll clothing. Since 2020 seems to be a year of change, I thought I would add positive change to the sea of crazy changes this year has brought.

Inspired by a group of costumers on YouTube and Instagram (#historicalhalloween2020) but not wanting to make a costume for myself, I decided to use this inspiration to make a doll costume.

All of this was well and good, but then I decided to take the big plunge and actually talk on video.

Anyone who understands how anxiety complicates regular daily life will understand what a huge challenge I undertook. A keyboard is my friend, but a camera causes all kinds of stress.

Years ago, actually two decades ago this year, I began to understand why I shied away from the idea of being photographed. I had not had issues with the process while in my youth, but things began to change for me as I neared my 30th birthday. Aging was not what concerned me – pain, or more to the point, the photographic record of my pain, concerned me. Despite reassurances from my family, by the time I reached my 40th birthday, I really struggled with sharing any photographs taken of me.

Now as I move past the mid-century mark of my life, I want to do more than just hide the pain. I want to push back against what pain can steal away. I have been doing much better managing life and pain these last 10 years. Management is the important concept since I can manage my health, but I cannot regain the health of my youth (a youth where I was unaware that my pain was not a common thing).

So with my goal of regaining what can be regained, I took the plunge and made a video with me speaking to the camera.

Anxiety was a thick cloud as I filmed myself and then worked with the footage. Even as I regained steady ground, the underlying energy that anxiety causes me would not dissipate. Fortunately the learning curve of video editing with voice-over commentary was steep and I had many, many, hours of work to keep my mind busy. When I was able to finally take to my bed, I was able to sleep.

With fresh eyes, and a bit of rest, I have now uploaded my first “talkie”*

As I was reviewing this before posting it, I was rendered speechless when I comprehended that September is now upon us. In just a few days time, I will pass the 20 year mark on the spine injury that derailed me from the life I thought I would have, and set me on the course to the life I would come to appreciate as being the better one. I did not set out to mark this milestone with a video about making doll clothing, but as I reflect on the last 20 years, it seems rather fitting.

Life gives us challenges, it is up to use to make them into milestones rather than barriers.

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*In the days when silent films reigned supreme, the first talking films were known as talkies.

Saith Me… Seek Solutions

Seek solutions before settling for excuses.

solutions

Solutions may not always be cure-alls, but they often are just enough to make a rough situation more bearable.

In my house, the common solution comes from simple advice.

  • Get up and move…
  • Drink a glass of water…
  • Drink a glass of juice…
  • Do something creative…
  • Get some fresh air…

Certainly the ills and woes of life are not eradicated by such simple suggestions, but they are often lessened.

It Is Not a Joke

As many other people have stated, the joking banter of an adolescent and the bragging of a man nearing retirement age are not one and the same. However, maybe it is the same if the youth acts upon his banter, harasses young women, and goes unpunished. If society condones or simply does not condemn youthful actions such as these, then society will find that the youth can grow to be an old man who has spent his life preying on others.

Society, as a whole, is made up of smaller units, and whether the smaller unit is a high school or a workplace, there is always someone who reigns over the group. When that person has questionable morals or believes they are above the law, all too often there will be victims of the abuses of their power. Whether the offender is sixteen or sixty, when that individual possesses power or authority, it makes their victimization of others more difficult to halt.

Power and authority are often the main reasons victims compartmentalize and simply try to move on. Feeling a lack of power or feeling that the fight against the abuse will cause them more harm, many victims of harassment and assault decide to exit a bad situation before it gets worse. For some, immediate exit is not possible. The high school student, the wage earner, the person dependent on the financial support of the abuser – for them, the abuse and the victimization may go on for years before an exit is viable.

For many victims of harassment and abuse, their story remains buried and their burden is born in silence until the day when someone finally cries foul and multiple voices begin to join together in protest. Then maybe, just maybe, the injustice that has been done will be heard by society and the burden will no longer be born alone.

Sadly, in these times, the many of the society who did not encounter the terror of intimidation or humiliation of assault will cry out that because it did not happen to them, it could never have happened to any of the others.

While a majority of citizens are never the victim of crime, it does not equate that crime does not exist. For those who discredit the victims of crime, there is often a combined sense of guilt and superiority behind their criticisms. They may feel a sense of guilt as they question whether they looked the other way as the harassment or crime was being committed. Or they may feel superior because they believe own actions and choices prevented them from becoming victims.

This feeling of guilt can lead many to deny the victim’s claims rather than face their own role in the society that allows the abusive behavior. This notion of superiority can lead to a rather nasty conclusion – that a victim is weak and therefore deserves their fate. It is this line of thought that leads to the acceptance of abuse as simply part of the natural order of life. It is also what empowers the bully and the abuser to embolden their actions.

While there are many things people can do to prevent being a victim of crime, too often victimization is simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Terrible things happen to even the boldest and bravest of individuals. Even those most prepared for society’s battles can fall victim. Sometimes it is simply unavoidable and out of one’s control. However, we, as members of society, can control how we respond to the harassment, abuse, and crime that is too prevalent in our lives. We can look away, pretend it does not concern us, and even joke about it in an attempt to defuse our own discomfort. Or we can denounce it for what it is and shut it down before it can spread further.

Saith Me… Reflections on Change

Do we really need to burn down the house in order to get out of the kitchen? 

 

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During a discussion with my children about the varied political theater which has dominated the news during the last 12 months, this rhetorical question emerged. Throughout history, a desire for change has often led to radicalization rather than the reasoned thought needed for change to be successful. Sometimes the radical voices drown out reasoned ones and disaster occurs. Other times the reasoned voices prevail.

Saith Me: We Stand Together

I had a chance encounter with an amazing 93 year old woman in the grocery store today. Her husband fought in WWII and Korea. She told me that they are horrified by the state of world affairs and especially with all the contention in the US. She stated that she just didn’t know how we would recover. I said the following

“We use the lessons learned from WWI and WWII – we work together.”

This sweet lady was momentarily stunned by my answer and then a huge grin formed on her face as she nodded.

“Yes,” she agreed, “we work together rather than try to stand alone.”

Saith Me… Consistency, Clarity, and Conviction

Consistency results from clarity of information and conviction in concept.

Remaining open-minded and accepting new information is vital, but it should not lead to self-doubt. Rather, it should assist in clarification and confidence.

Conviction in concept does not mean that the concept is inherently flawless or even relatively correct. What it does mean is that there is a determination to seek more clarity of information and thereby to grow. Even if the growth comes from having a concept proven flawed or fundamentally incorrect.

The journey to greater knowledge is not enhanced by wavering or waffling. It is enhanced by consistent action and the accumulation of information. Clarity and conviction lead to consistency.

Consistency Clarity Conviction

Turning the Other Cheek vs. Turning a Blind Eye

Where is the accountability in this statement?

No one can offend you unless you choose to be offended. 

A person may choose to remain offended, in essence to remain a victim of someone else’s offense, but they did not necessarily choose to be offended in the first place. Whether the offender intentionally or unintentionally caused offense, they should be held accountable for their actions.

Turning the other cheek and turning a blind eye are not one and the same.