Open Forum: What’s On Your Mind? Talking About Self-Control and Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day, everyone. May our troops, veterans and allies stay safe.

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Time Travel(s)

I’m in the middle of a long, lovely, idyllic and idle weekend. Rather cold, but I like it like that. I remember a couple of summers a few years back that were rather chilly. Time is going by much too quickly, as usual. When we work, the week drags. When we have days off, they simply fly by. And I cannot believe it is half-way, mid-way through the year.

So, I’ve been asking myself lately:

  • What have I been doing?
  • Is it moving me forward?
  • Have I advanced in any way?
  • Have I (re)moved any major milestones?

I verbally spank myself a great deal. I try not to be annoyed with myself so much. To me, the perfect state of being is literally a blank mind. I wont be able to sleep if I cannot do that. I wont be able to drive. I wont be able to function. I often dwell and think too much about really really unimportant things I have absolutely no control over, because I do not want to focus on the big things that I must do.

Getting It Done

My approach for dealing with life is usually two track: 1) Little bites, 2) Big major moves.

It’s surprising to me, although it shouldn’t, how often I stay on the same track. It’s good when it is applied to stubbornly working to accomplish a difficult long term task, yet deadly when it’s used for avoidance and getting stuck in a rut.

Does that make sense? I know I’m beating dead horses in my life. I recognize it. Yet, I wont stop it. I discover notes, diaries and checklists from years ago. Same stuff, different day. Nothing seems to be changing.

Do you know how aggravating that is?

One of the things I’m always looking at is, How do I move forward? My personality, which I’ve been trying to change, or adjust for these situations, and for such a long time, I consider to be one of my greatest impediments. It is great for somethings. I am a Pitt Bull where it counts.

And I don’t ask for much. My list is quite short. However, it requires multiple steps to get there.

Lost in Lack of Self-Control

On some level, I think I can understand why people get up and run away, take too many prescription drugs, drink, get high all the time, work excessively long hours, push themselves too hard, are addicted to pain, pleasure and dangerous (sometimes criminal) activities. It’s about the distraction. It’s about getting the mind off that groove.

Unfortunately, it’s replacing one deep ditch for another. And one could get lost in the self for many years, forgetting what one wanted in the first place.

There’s this perfect limbo between absolute killing boredom and excitement so keen you could die of bliss. One cannot always chase the bliss … it can be destructive. But when you have to keep a certain state of equanimity day after day, month after month, because that is life… Oh goodness, life is extremely tedious.

I think it is a fine recipe for going bonkers.

So, what to do?

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Everyone can talk about what’s on their minds. I’m just doing a little mental purging. 😀

 

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Blogging and The Nature of Criticism

Email, Comments and Rules

The private stuff stays private, but I usually have two rules for posting an email:

  • It’s so on point about a specific subject, I want to share it.
  • It’s so irate and angry, usually towards my blog and myself, I want share a good laugh at the joke(r).

Regarding the comments section, it’s more or less an open-door policy.

Most comments go through automatically, because the administrative software will allow commenters based on a trusted ID. Once I approve your comment 99.93% percent of the time, you can come back to freely write and express yourself. I barely or rarely censor. Rarely.

Although through no fault of my own something goes awry, a few comments are held in a queue or sent to spam.

This is my domain. I pay for the site. Yay. I am mistress of my own domain! Hmm. That sounds so empowering, no? I’m a bit of a control freak, and the software gives me a lotta admin power! I love power!

Hmm. Power.

When a comment is awesome, I want to make it topic to run with. However, I get so many on point good comments, it’s becomes harder to decide. It’s a matter of breaking up a thread to start another. That can get tricky.

What Chu Say? The Illiterate’s Brain Fart

If a comment is out of bounds, I’ll give the person the exposure they deserve. Of the few posts I’ve put up, with regards to criticizing the blog or myself, they’re from the comments section. This is not an invitation to trolls.

Have you noticed that the irate are nearly always incoherent?

Folks enjoy upsetting themselves in a many manner of ways. They fume at words never written, but boy! are they certainly clever! to decipher what’s supposedly implied. Sort of a grand conspiracy of blogging: maybe they highlight invisible words by selecting the screen page to find the truth of what’s written. Made you look.

This is me: If I want to insult someone, I’ll use the exact words required. I don’t aim for subtle.

Idiotbook

Recently, one moron from Facebook, who is as bright as a box of hammers, sharp as a dull kinfe, polluted my email box. You wanna know what my first reaction was? Laughter. I responded with polite sarcasm.

Now, you may wonder, Why bother? Hey, I figure, what am I gonna be mad at? Feces is fertilizer. Right? Maybe there’s a nugget of wisdom to be discovered. Not.

I reply, because I feel sorry for the feeble minded. I don’t like beating up on the mentally handicapped.

Here’s the gimme: An angry email or comment tells me how much power I have over this person. They’ve wasted precious moments of their time to tell me nothing. To send me their mental upchuck. I love that kind of power.

I think I’ll conquer the world from here, blogging in my warm and comfy pajamas, with a nice cup of herbal tea by my side.

Criticism Is a Fundamental Good

I appreciate criticism. I welcome constructive, make it work, useful, thought provoking differences of opinions. That’s how we all learn. Trial and error. Through observation and analysis.

I’ve worked jobs where I get nervous if I’m not getting feedback that tells me where I’m going wrong (or right). I’ll request criticism. I need to know the correct dance moves. If I’m going left, while everyone else is going right, shouldn’t I be told the next steps? (In real life, I am horrible dancer.) I appreciate the “swim with the school of fishes” mantra as long as it fulfills my goals, metrics, deadlines and the like.

I do not pretend to know all the answers. I do not have this mindset that what I say is the last word on any subject.

I write observations, not absolutes. I’m not writing position papers. I’m not recruiting for a cause. (Unless it’s for the secret Black Women’s Illuminati. Remember that we don’t exist, okay?)

I write assertively, because I consider writing a tool. It needs to be sharpened. Repeatedly. I realize that this is the subtle distinction the fuming, irate, nitwits miss. I cannot raise their IQs, so it’s not on my agenda.

I blog as an intellectual exercise. It’s interesting and rather fun. And I’ll keep at it until I’m truly bored, and then I’ll stop. If you are helped by my words, that actually brings me joy. I like sharing my thoughts. I am sincerely greatful when you share yours with me.

Have a good one.

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The George Costanza Method

One of my all-time favorite shows, when I bother to contemplate and can recall it, is Seinfeld. In the beginning, when it was the Seinfeld Chronicles, I used to wonder how long it would last before NBC killed it. It was incredibly funny in a New York area inside-joke kind of way.

In the beginning, the show had low ratings, and there was an air of a show trying to feel itself and what its niche was. The show came alive once the quartet started to gel. Also, back then, I think network executives were more open-minded about letting an audience find a show.

Today, they don’t have such patience. I used to watch Reaper (online, since I do not own a television set!), and it was so funny. That was a show where nearly every line and situation was damn near hysterical. What made it funnier is that no one ever chuckled at the jokes and the show didn’t have a laugh track.

It was so good. Alas, it was canceled. Today, network executives are looking for instant hits that slowly bleed away their audience as opposed to the opposite track. Good luck with that strategy.

George Costanza

My favorite character was George Costanza.

I once spoke about him with a co-worker, and she loathed him.

I asked, Why?

She replied, He lacked morals, was dishonest, and willing to do anything to get what he wanted.

I replied, That’s what I liked about him.

Psychoanalysis, or Something Like That

It has been years since I read up on Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, psychoanalysis, the Id, ego, and super-ego. Please forgive me for not getting the psycho stuff up to par.

I always saw Seinfeld as a guy, observing himself, in which his personality was split in four distinct ways. He was an introvert, watching, observing, very detached, and critical. He even admitted in one show that he had all the friends he could manage when another person tried to become a friend of his. That is classic introvert behavior.

Kramer was all impulse (id).

Elaine was the only adult in the group (ego). She was the planner, the studious one, and almost always honest.

Seinfeld was a neat and fussy perfectionist (superego). The show took off once it allowed him to date and evaluate what was wrong with every woman he met. The hilarity with the “man hands” woman, the lady with the one dress, the mutterer, and the designer who forced him to wear a ruffle shirt, among others, are instant classics.

Say what?

George was the composite of all these characteristics, warring with each other, and that’s why he was my favorite hot-ass-mess of the show. He seemed to be the only real person on the show.

The show’s most pivotal, and interesting point, came when George decided he was going to change from being a loser to finally winning at life. And how did he do it? He was going to ignore his gut feelings, and act on the facts in front of him.

It may have taken George all of his life, but he realized something about himself. His gut instincts suck. They mislead him all of his life. Every conclusion he had reached about social situations, career advancement, and people were completely wrong.

The light bulb went off when he decided to do the opposite of what his gut told him.

Do I believe it?

Fight or flight is a legitimate feeling in some circumstances, but relying on responding to the same situation in the same way, each and every time, is also known as insanity. Your experience and gut instincts have been failing you for some time now.

I don’t think it has to be a radical switch, but trying the George Costanza Method every once in a while will yield different results.

Go break the mold, you might be pleasantly surprised at the results.

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Braindump Thursday: It’s June Already?

Goal Setting

I feel like I am behind the curve, or far from the goal posts.

I always have a couple of goals I want to achieve, but I’m not even half way there, and half the year is almost gone!

Tweets

I signed up for Twitter.com, although for the life of me, I still don’t “get it.” Maybe after a while I’ll see what the fuss, hoopla, and hype is all about.

Family

I am so pleased with one of my nephews. Like I told him the other day, I get the joy of bragging and celebrating him without expending any effort in raising him.

Ah, the joys of being an Aunt.

Ambidexterity

I’m taking a class: it’s one of those, Who are you? What do I want?, let’s explore ourselves type of things.

The teacher gave us an exercise where we use the less-dominant hand. If we’re right handed, we have to do the exercise with the left.

I’m right handed, and completed the exercise rather easily with my left hand.

She asked our reaction to the experiment. I said I felt like I was cheating, because I can write with my left hand, and use it almost as much as the right.

The instructor says, “You’re ambidextrous.”

I allowed, “Almost.” Although I admit, if I had to shoot at something, for example, I could, and would, use both hands.

Self-Control, or Controlling Yourself

I think I was about 9 or 11 years old when I stopped letting other kids, especially older children, goad me. I never got into another fight once I made that decision. It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t say what I thought, but I never laid hands on another person in anger again.

I stopped, because it occurred to me that I was really going to hurt someone. I certainly didn’t want to. So, I learned to tuck away my temper, and talk myself out of picking up baseball bats, stones, chairs, and other assorted weapons trying to knock another kid unconscious.

Yeah, I was that bad.

Can’t Move Me

I’m not just stubborn, I’m bullheaded, and fixed too. What do I mean? I’ve always been one of those people that you can tell me what I cannot do all day, and I’ll still do what I want.

I am this way, because my parents put the flame retardant, self-esteem guarding, and social pressure resistant armor on me to handle these people and particular situations. I would snicker when people complain about me, “She won’t do this. She can’t do that. She’s not going to succeed. Blah, blah, blah, blah….”

In short, You can’t tell me nothing.

Hey, I believe even if you don’t feel secure, confident, or bold, fake it anyway. Eventually the rest will catch up, and help you on your way.

Because I am lagging in my goals, I will have to double-up my efforts….

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Self-Worth: That Voice in Your Head

Do you have an inner or outer critic that won’t shut up?

Does the inner critic sound familiar, like a mother, father or other relative that wouldn’t let up on how terrible they want you to think you are?

I used to wonder how people ended up not speaking to their relatives for years even decades. It is easy to give up on these complicated relationships. I am always conflicted, because with the good comes the bad, but sometimes cutting the cord is a necessary evil.

It doesn’t have to be a total elimination of these people from your life, but some relatives are, well, toxic. Like a frog in slowly warming water, one’s self-worth and self-esteem will erode under a constantly rising temperature of methodical, mendacious criticism.

I am open to different opinions. I am open to words of advice. Yet, there is a point when that family member has to STFU.

It is a crude point to make, yet insanity is the act of doing the same thing over and over again, hoping for a different result.

As for me, I can’t take it anymore. I have had enough. Constant second guessing of myself, constant criticism of even the smallest deeds, the relentless assertion of not “being a nice person” – I can’t take it anymore. I have had enough. It is life long, long term child / adult abuse. It is a sneaky, shadowy form, but the message is always clear: there’s something wrong with you, you are not a good person.

When I constantly get this message, I begin to wonder: how am I supposed to change? What can I do to be a better person? Am I really a bad person? Am I mean? How come I am not nice? How come no one likes me? Is that why so-and-so doesn’t like me? And so on…

Yet, to make sure that my reality isn’t skewed I check with people I know. I ask, am I that bad? The responses I receive are: you are a nice person, you are good, you are kind, you are sweet, you are compassionate.

That’s when it occurs to me as to why I get mad. I know it’s not my imagination. I know when I’ve heard nasty little comments, little digs, malicious insults, negative pessimistic stories that just happen to match my personal situations, and the constant attempt to chip away at my self-worth and self-esteem.

I understand that it’s not the real deal type of abuse, but do I even need to hear it? This kind of language is programming. Programming which leaves me to second guess myself too often, to leave me preoccupied with things that – while they matter – take up too much effort and energy. I am forced to act under a false doctrine: I am not worthy. I get angry, because I don’t want the inner critic to take over and make me live a life less worthy of living.

I am content with myself, with the way I am. I can do little to change it. I am the way I am. I try to be respectful of everyone; I can do no more or less.

Yet, for my mental health and well being, there are some family members that I need to pull up anchor and drift away from.

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