“Leo, I don’t care for your demeanor.”

children learning

I mentioned in comments recently how Sheryl Crow is teaching me how to communicate with people from a more productive place.  Her song, Halfway There on her Be Myself album is my anthem for the lesson.  (It’s also a great song.)  Music is the most effective way to teach me something.  I feel like I’ve already made good progress.  Now, when communicating, instead of only thinking about presenting my viewpoint, I also think about how those who might not agree will hear it.

The reasoning behind the lesson is the fact there’s little point in expressing my opinion in a manner that will cause the listener to tune me out.  I have a cat for that.  Heh.  I know whenever I speak to her, she’s listening for keywords, (such as, treat.)  She’s interested in my tone of voice.  Anything beyond is noise.  If I want people to consider my opinions as worthy of thinking about, I have to work on how I present them.  Just like with Amelia Bedelia, my tone of voice, and the words I choose will make or break the conversation.

I didn’t realize how horrible I am at this until recently.  I tend to come off like a drill Sgt.  In my defense, I did virtually grow up in the Army.  I’ve been out long enough to recognize it’s an entirely different world than that of a civilian.  It took a long time for me to adapt.  The hardest part was accepting civilian attitudes.  It’s incredibly frustrating to work with (or even be around) people who aren’t giving their best by default.  Of course, not all civilians are like this, but I seem to find the ones who are regularly.  😂

child weeping

Fortunately, I no longer lecture people on the merits of doing their best, (like a drill Sgt.)  I even try to keep my face in check, but I’m never sure I manage.  I’m a thought telegrapher.  (You can probably imagine how much fun this added to my training. /sarcasm)  Worse, my expressions aren’t necessarily the NT (neurotypical) version.  Aside from about-to-laugh or about-to-cry, I’ve been told I look angry when I’m thinking or processing.  Damn eyebrows.

Body language is something I’ve decided not to stress over any longer.  I don’t get it, I probably never will, so no more beating myself up over it.  As for my own, I’m working on not walking away like I’m trying to escape whenever I talk to people.  (Even though, half the time, I am.)  My entire lifestyle centers around not having to speak (out loud) to strangers much.  I suspect many who have or had a speech impediment share this habit.  I also used to put my foot in my mouth virtually every time I opened it.  (Thank goodness, Stevie Nicks already taught me the importance of thinking before saying.  Love her!)  Now I’m ready to take it further.  Baby steps, yo.  🙃

The battle for access to abuse-free health care continues.  Jade and Keia of Gettin’ Grown talked about the fact African American women frequently die prematurely due to racism in the medical field on this week’s podcast.  I felt validated after listening.  I’m not the only one who has had to deal with doctors or dentists who don’t think black people feel pain.  Or who automatically disbelieve anything we say.  I’m glad I decided I’m not going to die prematurely due to the crudeness and cruelty of some alleged professionals.

I’m proud of myself for refusing to see the evil dentist who mistreated me again.  I looked right at her (probably with angry eyebrows) and said, “No.  I specifically stated I would not be seen by her again when I made the appointment.”  The receptionist acted confused, but I saw a different dentist that day.  It was the first time I stood up for myself, but not the last.  I’m grateful the Patient Care Representative at the VA is a (more than) decent human being.  She’s already helped put in motion an eye exam, and I’ll be seeing a non-evil dentist later this month.

cute cat on the floor

I wrote her a note identifying some examples of the abuse I’ve endured in the Mental Health clinic and ward.  I didn’t share much, and only mentioned one person by name, but it was an overwhelming exercise.  I also shared how I was dealing with my ex-husband turning into Ramsay Bolton at the time, which is what drove me to seek assistance in the first place.  It brought back all the shit I’ve had to put up with since I got out of the military.  Plus, the Kavanaugh Travesty triggered me and stapled me to the floor as a result.  It was like standing in the midst of a trauma avalanche.  Good times.

I’m doing better now, (finally stopped weeping.)  I look and feel like I talked shit about Mike Tyson’s mom in his earshot, but at least I’m not silently wishing slow deaths on everyone who ever hurt me any longer, (then feeling guilty about it.)  I finally slept, which helped.  I also listened to lots of music and watched a Will and Grace marathon while pacing.  I might take the saying, walk it off, too literally, but whatever works.  I paid enough attention to recognize how insensitive (and probably offensive) we were in the 90’s.  I didn’t notice back then.  (+100 to the millennials for helping us see how unkind we were without realizing it.)  ✌🏽

p.s.  Here is a fabulous, healing, and hopeful video.  #SISTERHOOD