“You’re eating too much dairy.”

I’m sick.  I likely caught The Worst Cold of My Life on a recent trip to Denver.  Since living on the edge of agoraphobia is my apparent lifestyle, it’s not surprising my immune system is traumatized by mingling in crowds.  Fortunately, I can tell the worst is over.  On Day Two, I switched to Puffs Plus Lotion with Vicks because the skin on my nose was peeling off.

puffs plus lotion with vicks

Today, I can breathe through my nose and look down without pain.  Yay.  (I’m also hopped up on DayQuil, which hopefully explains the time I just wasted wondering what is that green thing on the blanket in the photo above.)  I can tell I’m loopy.  Sometimes, being sensitive to medication rocks.  (And then I ruined it by wondering if it also makes me more vulnerable to addiction.  🤪)

I’m suspicious of the universe, right now.  I think she’s trying to teach me something, and I’m on the cusp of revealing the lesson.  I’m already reasoning with my ego to soften the inevitable blow.  I suspect there’s significance to my experiencing the sudden onset of utter physical devastation from a simple, temporary cause.  No question I’ll recover, but the severity is astonishing, nonetheless.

This cold minimized my abilities until I could only ponder, watch TV, or read.  (When you’re too miserable to sleep, time becomes abundant.)  I started binge watching, Blackish.  Love it.  (On so many levels.)  I finished reading The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens for the umpteenth time.  It’s hilarious; I read it a few times a year.  (The epitome of Brit humor, in my opinion.)

street art mcdonalds

I started reading Zero Sum Game by S. L. Huang.  She’s a rockstar author.  She’s hanging out with J. K. Rowling and Octavia E. Butler on my favorite author list before I’ve even finished the novel.  That shiny.  N. K. Jemisin, too.  Have you noticed how it seems like Amazon just figured out algorithms? Suddenly, my recommended books make sense.  Items are showing up in logical categories on the site now, too.  Bonus.

Perhaps this lesson-in-progress centers on learning to appreciate.  It’s as far as I’ve gotten in my DayQuil enhanced state, anyway.  If you’ve already experienced this lesson, please don’t hesitate to throw out some pointers in comments.  (I’m hoping I won’t need any remedial opportunities.)  I can’t remember ever being too sick to play video games.  (For some reason, that kind of blows my mind.)

Yep, I’m on to something with the appreciation thing.  The universe recognizes I’m pretty literal, as my life lessons tend to be right on the nose.  (At least the ones I notice.  Heh.)  It’s trippy to be emotionally joyful while physically miserable.  It ruins the effect of misery which I see is the point.  Yay.  I found the concept.  Now I merely have to spend some thought time on the process until it soaks in.  (Because that’s how I roll.)  I’m off to do that.  ✌🏾💜

“I just pray Kruger doesn’t realize that it’s gone until this guy can fix it up.”

I’m not Catholic.  Many people I care about are Catholics.  This issue infuriates me.  I’m at a loss for words, so I made a simple graphic to help express my message.  I don’t want to get all sweary with the pope, so I’m off to visualize a better world.

“Jimmy’s got some new moves.”

Woman on a bike

Did you ever notice how people determine your value based on exceedingly flimsy data?  For example, we draw on memories of how others behave and subconsciously assign these behavioral expectations to strangers merely because something about them triggers a memory.  It could be the color of their skin, the way they dress, or even the scent they wear.  Our minds decide the person fits in a predetermined category almost instantly.

It’s a human trait to conclude based on very little information.  It’s the reason science is a thing.  Science deliberately bases conclusions only on evidence.  Without evidence, it’s just a theory subject to being disproved at any time.  These fields of study exist because it’s counter to the way humans typically think.  Training and education are customarily required to obtain the ability to think scientifically.

Have you noticed how people are reluctant to alter their perception of others, even when counter-evidence presents itself?  How we’re usually surprised when someone exhibits behaviors that don’t fit with the category we assigned them?  And how we often throw Occam’s razor out the window and instead, come up with outlandish reasons why a person is defying our initial impression so we can continue to define our initial theory as fact? 😶

in my pockets

I’ve wondered why we’re like this, and come up with a few theories to explain it.  I postulate it’s because our lives are short and we’re generally intellectually lazy.  Further, I suspect we’re intellectually lazy because our lives are short.  We don’t have time to analyze every thought and determine whether it’s evidence-based or assumption.  (Granted, as a fellow human, I’m unwilling to carry the unflattering label without the caveat.) 😂

Despite this reasonable theory of why we behave this way, it deeply saddens me.  I’ve stated several times I’m most fascinated by people.  I believe we’re each a universe of information, experiences, thoughts, etc.  I enjoy observing and listening to people and trying on their unique perspective.  Through trial and error, I’m learning to be more respectful in how I do this.  (Such as being more conscious of how long I can look at someone before it’s staring.)

I regret we have so little time, and therefore, don’t usually recognize how everyone we encounter is incredible in their unique way.  We all hurt when rejected, so many of us build walls out of self-preservation.  We present a side of ourselves based on past treatment and rejections we’ve experienced.  We perpetually tweak our presentation to yield the least amount of pain.  Some of us are less able to alter our presentation and settle for avoidance and isolation, instead.

It’s a complex operation, and I freely admit I’m more prone to avoidance and isolation.  I lack the necessary sophistication and am far less apt at reading body language than most.  On top of that, I’m sensitive to the energy of others, which makes it far more challenging.  I can easily sense rejection but suck at narrowing down the cause.  It’s frustrating, (she said while claiming the Understatement of the Year award.)

Kramer inaction figure

It saddens me because we so quickly reject those who aren’t instantly comprehensible.  Those who are so different, we’d have to create a new category on the fly to process them into our existing catalog.  It’s so much easier to label them as strange and disengage.  I have a strong theory that these encounters with unusual strangers are opportunities to grow and expand ourselves.  But only if we’re willing to spend a bit of time connecting with them, and opening ourselves to differences.

I truly believe, based on my own experiences, that ignoring the initial inclination to reject someone because they’re different is a shortcut to overall growth as a person.  Sure, it may take a moment to wrap your mind around something new, but I think it’s an investment in your character.  You stretch your mind to encompass something new, and in doing so, expand yourself.  And finally, my point.  I challenge everyone who reads this to test my theory in 2019.  To consciously and deliberately connect with people you encounter who are different than those you’ve bonded with in the past, and see if it leads to personal growth.  💜✌🏽💪🏽

“They said I put too much chlorine in the pool.”

bloom

Time has been flying by of late.  The results of rebuilding myself with small changes are continuing to reveal astonishing outcomes.  This butterfly effect is fascinating, and I’m surprisingly fearless in its midst.  Letting go of my need to feel in control whenever possible is likely involved.  I didn’t anticipate this skill as part of growing, but I’m delighted by it.  (Bonus!) 🙃

I believe it involves a level of trust in myself to be able to cope with whatever comes my way.  Experience and reflection are far more valuable than I ever imagined.  I spent time lamenting the challenges, unfairness, trauma, and despair I’ve endured without recognizing the gifts that grew from the devastated ground.  I failed to focus on how painful periods of fire-and-fallow eventually lead to regeneration.

This newfound understanding is a powerful anti-stress tool.  My transformation from extremely high-strung to calm and tranquil is incredible.  It feels as if I stumbled on it accidentally, then noticed in hindsight.  My world moves more slowly now.  I’m no longer stuck on a permanent three-second delay.  I’m not continually racing to catch up to the present, but instead, exist here.  It’s wonderful here.  I can look around and breathe.

solitude

Initially, I credited this phenomenon as part of aging.  But after more consideration, I’ve concluded it’s about growth.  I recall being upset when I realized growth and aging don’t necessarily correlate.  Based on my observations, they’re not even related.  I’m perpetually attracted to those whose energy reflect tranquillity.  (It’s likely because I’m highly sensitive to that of others.)

I know my proclivity for solitude is born of rejecting the exhaustion that results from proximity to chaotic energy.  I used to view it as a weakness, but now I believe it’s nutrition for my soul.  I’m confident it’s afforded me the ability to grow.  I notice this feature in the lives of those who capture my interest and attention, as well.  It also clarifies the diversity of individuals to which I’m attracted.  I even appreciate the thought required to connect the dots.  🙃

For the first time in my life, I’m thankful I was interracially adopted, and raised in racial isolation.  I can finally see the ways it’s had a positive effect on who I’ve become, rather than merely regret the overwhelming sorrow and pain it also entailed.  While I’m still amazed I survived to adulthood, I acknowledge the fire-and-fallow created many opportunities to regenerate and grow into who I’ve become.  Today, I love the beautiful garden that evolved as a consequence.