Stroller Days

strollerI still have memories of the stroller.  It was a big clunky thing; a twin with seats font and back, not like the side by sides sold today.  The vinyl canopy was an unpleasant green floral pattern.  It may have been an almost, but not quite, navy blue – my memory fluctuates on the color.

My mother would load my little brother and I into the stroller; my brother in front and me in back; then off we would go.  My mother couldn’t drive, so we walked everywhere.  I don’t think she every learned to drive.

The trips in the stroller seemed like an adventure.  I got to see big streets and cars.  It felt like we walked for miles: traffic lights, railroad tracks, stores, churches and houses.  It was a huge world outside our yard.  Special days were when there would be a train on the tracks forcing us to wait and watch it go by.

When we got where we were going my mother would take my brother and me out of the stroller and set us in the play area.  It was just a corner in the waiting room with a child sized table and some bright colored toys.  My brother and I would start to play and my mom would sit and read a magazine, smoking a cigarette, waiting her turn.  We would barely notice when she was in to see the doctor.

When my mother was done, she would load us back into the stroller for another adventurous walk home.  I remember that sometimes there would be ice cream on the way back.  Eventually my brother and I started elementary school and these trips stopped.  We’d soon take our own trips up this very street to go to school, the bowling alley and baseball.

I would later find out that these weekly trips to the doctor were visits to her psychiatrist.  She was in therapy for her manic-depression (bi-polar disorder today).  This knowledge explained a lot of things in my house growing up.

The times she spent locked in her room with the curtains closed, sometimes for days at a time.  To then one day the house would be spotless and the kitchen table would be covered in all sorts of homemade treats:  cookies, fudge, pies, cakes.  I liked those days.  We never had to wait to have some cookies.  To be followed by another switch to crying and fighting with my father.

I think back on the trips with my mother in that stroller and still remember them as good days.  These were the days when she was active and happy.  The trips in the stroller were a fun adventure and know the why behind the trip doesn’t really change that.

 

  • This was originally written in March-2005.  It’s been edited slightly but it holds true to the original revision.

Cycling Through It

Recycling-Symbol-3This is either the third or fourth attempt I’ve made at a blog – even more if you go back in time and take LiveJournal into account (no worries if you’ve never heard of it).  I’ve scrapped this site several times.  There was no loss of interest in blogging, there was only insecurity around it.  Feelings of not being good enough and not having a voice anyone would care about.

Those feelings are still there as I fire this up once again. I need to stop the cycle of desire and self-doubt and just “drudge through the drudgery to find the joy on the other side” – to quote Joshua Fields Millburn of the Minimalists.

I may very well NOT have a voice anyone cares about.  There is not control I have over that.  Only will tell one way or the other.  A guaranteed way to make sure I don’t have a voice is to not speak.  I need to get my words out there and maybe they’ll resonate, maybe they won’t.  To get them resonating more I just need to get better at how I craft and share them.

This leads to the second point:  I may very well suck at it.  Most people DO suck at what they first start doing – it’s why we practice.  The old saying is wrong by the way, practice does not make perfect.  Practice DOES make better, though.  I’ll never get better if I don’t do it – it will just sit in my head as an unfulfilled desire.  Those get frustrating after a while.

Both conclusions are that I need to keep writing and sharing.  I need to get the words out there for myself.  This is ultimately for my exploration and benefit.  Please keep reading if you like or not if it doesn’t strike your interest.

I can only say that I will endeavor to keep at and try to grow.  I may or may not succeed – but that’s true of any venture.

Fear

fear_Fotor

I used to say that I suffered from a stunted Fight-or-Flight instinct.  I’d get into a situation where my anxiety would peak and couldn’t fight (as it’s generally not the right solution) or flee (there usually being nowhere to flee to or doing so would cause a fight); I would freeze.  I’d just stand in place as the actions triggering my anxiety roiled around me.  I thought this was a short circuit for years.

I was working on this when I was informed that my understanding of the mechanism was incomplete.  The full mechanism being Fight-Flight-OR-Freeze.  It wasn’t a short circuit; it was the third option that I never knew existed.  This gave me new things to work on and it actually helped.  Knowing that the reaction wasn’t the issue gave me more clarity and better ability to work on the real issues.

Today I’ve had another epiphany about my anxiety.

I will sometimes get agitated or angry in a conversation.  This will involve stating my stance over and over because I “don’t feel heard”.  While this is sometimes true, I think many more times it’s because I’m not actually expressing what I’m trying to say.  I present my argument as a personal fact that I want someone else to agree with.  In reality, this a cover-up for fear that I’m unwilling to admit or face.

It came up today regarding employment and corporate culture.  I was presented with a scenario to explore and I was pushing back on it saying “I have never seen this in my experience”, “No company I have ever worked with has done this” and similar arguments.  This was all done under the guise of “not being heard”.

In reality, what I was trying to convey is that I am afraid to explore this.  If I do it will expose me to my employers as being gay.  If they know I’m gay they will fire me faster than it took them to hire me.

In the conversation, I was being heard.  I just wasn’t saying what I needed to really say.  I need to learn not to fear expressing my fear.