Reason For Living

I’ve been familiar with the tragedy of suicide most of my life. The mother of a friend when I was a teenager, the close friend of a roommate after college, my husband’s step sister who had visited us just prior were all upsetting occurrences. Celebrity suicides were very sad, but since I didn’t know them, it wasn’t the same kind of loss. But today’s pain, wrought from the news that one of my husband’s dear childhood friends chose to end his life seems so much worse. My husband is obviously very upset, but unfortunately also feels deep regret because he had been trying to get in touch with his friend for months and couldn’t get through. Following a divorce, he recognized his friend was having difficulty getting past that challenging time and reached out to him. They’ve been buddies since first grade and shared lots of laughs and a few not so happy moments through the years. For me this is another reason why I try to share with others the message that no one needs to suffer alone. There’s always someone out there who is willing and able to listen. Whether you reach out to someone in your family, text a friend or call a suicide prevention hotline, someone will be there.
In 1984 the Democrats held their national convention in San Francisco and I answered an ad to help answer questions from delegates who called the information line. They trained us in basic suicide prevention techniques because they figured we might be called. We were briefed on what to do if someone lost their luggage, couldn’t find their hotel and called to tell us they were planning to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. As a hotline supervisor I would have to take the bridge calls or any other calls that sounded desperate. I sweated through the entire week of that convention hoping to never get one of those calls and I’m very happy I never did.
I have to admit that I have been the one to call at least once. Crumpled on the bathroom floor feeling horrible about things I’d done or said, immediately regretted and forever punished by the thought they would be better off without me. It wasn’t the person on the other end of the call who even turned me around, they listened without judgment , one human being to another and when I hung up, I realized that the people I had hurt so much by my own stupidity, arrogance, impatience and stubbornness were the same people who would hurt so much more if I chose to end my pain in death. So I picked myself up, wiped my eyes, blew my nose and went to begin what will probably be a lifetime of apologies. The hardest thing a person can do is to hurt someone they love and still have to face that person every day and learn to be whole again. But it’s really the only choice because anything else would be too painful for someone else. I know I can handle the pain of my own humility. I’m working on finding the peace of it as I live each day showing my humanity and giving lots of hugs.
If you or someone you care about ever feels so bad you don’t think you can go on living, please make the call: 800-273-8255. Suicide Prevention Hotline



Driving While ADHD

I cringe when I look at the rear side of my car. At least the gas tank hatch still opens correctly. And I kick myself for not looking, but I’ve passed that driveway a hundred times and never once saw the post. I saw the short logs the neighbors cleverly tied with rope giving it a nautical look like it’s part of a dock or something, but never once did I see that post. And when my also ADHD teenage son was upset because he thought he’d left something precious back at the mailboxes, of course I needed to turn around. What I didn’t really need to do was to turn around so quickly and impulsively that I crunched up against that damn pole that seemed to materialize suddenly just in time for me to hear that painful crunching noise as the beautiful, flawless side of my car became mangled by metal. Well, at least it doesn’t affect functionality of anything, but I get to wear it as a badge of shame whenever I drive my less than 2 year old car.

Why do those of us who have ADHD have these sudden, irresistible urges to just do things without really thinking them through? I’ve read the research that talks about Executive Function and the fact that those of us who suffer from ADHD are challenged in this area. Now, I thought about trying to find some nifty research so I could add a link to it and look official, but that’s what you get when you have ADHD, not gonna bother. Besides, on the way to finding it I would get bored and spend an hour researching something else entirely and then forget I was trying to write a blog post. Then, the next day, many hours later while I happen to be checking email, I’d realize I never finished the blog post. I’d just start typing and this would be the result. 🙂

The Abortion Issue and Why It’s Not So Simple

Why must the Republicans insist on taking us back to the Middle Ages! We want to look forward to a better future, not worry about what will bite us in the rear. On the 42nd anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the United States House of Representatives actually passed a bill finally, however, they seem to think they’re still in the 1970’s because they voted to permanently prohibit federal funding for abortions. Just when we should be celebrating at least 42 years of freedom of reproductive choice, they go and pull a stunt like this.

via House Passes Anti-Abortion Bill On Anniversary Of Roe v. Wade.

The truth of the matter is this – No one likes abortion. Abortion is one of the most invasively painful procedures, both physically and emotionally, for a woman (and her partner) to go through. However, often the alternative would be to bring a child into this world that would be unwanted and unloved. There’s also the risk of death via a number of ways including drug use by the mother, squalid living conditions of someone without the means to support a child or perhaps abuse at the hands of either parent or others in the household. Unfortunately, there’s also still a great risk of a mother dying in childbirth which could also threaten the child.

Many people get into deep philosophical arguments about the actual moment of conception and when a fetus actually becomes a baby, etc. There’s really not much to debate if you’re not the one who is pregnant. The biggest problem I see with the Republicans and others who proclaim the “Right to Life” for unborn fetuses is that no one seems to be offering any better alternatives to abortion. There seems to be no discussion about responsible reproductive education for those most likely to be considering the need for abortion. There also doesn’t seem to be much talk about helping to raise a child to adulthood if the mother chooses to give birth instead of having an abortion. Sure they try to convince the woman to go ahead and have the baby and possibly put it up for adoption if necessary, but do they pay the medical bills or provide adequate nutrition and care for the mother while she’s carrying the child in her womb? Haven’t seen much evidence of any generous patrons who offer to sponsor a mother who decides to go ahead with the pregnancy to full term.

We need better education to teach both girls and boys that sex is a responsibility and it should not be entered into without appropriate precautions so conception doesn’t take place. Safe sex, remember? I support the idea of handing out condoms to high school and college students. Unfortunately, it probably makes sense to hand them out at middle schools as well these days. Better safe then sorry.

Personally I think we need to rethink our entire approach to having children. From what I’ve seen through my more than half a century of life on this planet, most people put more time, money, thought and resources into planning their vacations than they do in planning for children. If you ask just about any parent how they happened to conceive, they’ll probably tell you, “it just happened.” Is that any way to continue the species?

So, we need to educate our current children to be more responsible in their choices regarding sex and put more thought into when it would be more appropriate to conceive or if it’s better to practice safe sex and just have some fun. But this should be after they reach an age when they can handle the emotional responsibility inherent in the sexual relationship and that might be different for each person, but definitely not until after about age 16 – preferably 18 in my book. Also, since this society is still geared to favor children born to a couple who is married, it’s probably better to steer those who feel they’re ready to raise children (and all the responsibilities that go along with that most important and challenging task) towards the institution of marriage. Children really do better when raised by both parents. But that means we should also spend more resources to help people communicate better so they can have more lasting relationships.

We should probably get started now with the infants we have and treat them better, care for them and provide for them and teach them responsible behavior so when they’re old enough to have sex themselves, they’re more likely to do it more thoughtfully and with better preparation so children are no longer “accidents” and don’t “just happen.” By then, we won’t have to have legislation against abortion because most people wouldn’t be putting themselves into the situation where they find abortion necessary.

But then I’ve always been an optimist and a dreamer and someone with common sense. In the meantime, stop eroding our hard won freedoms and civil rights and focus on leading this country towards peace!

The Problem with Fandoms (a/k/a The Objectification of Sam Heughan)

I’ve always wondered about the celebrity objectification concept. It creeps me out as well and is completely a double standard. Why do people feel comfortable posting inappropriate sexual comments about someone they don’t know personally? Is it just to get attention? Keep the panting to yourself please and just enjoy the view. Don’t spoil it for the rest of us who like to admire from afar.

The Word Peddler

Fandoms rock. You know what rocks even more? Respectful fandoms. Fandoms that don’t have a sense of entitlement. Fandoms that don’t objectify. Fandoms that aren’t snide and snarky.

I am a proud fan-girl. I binge watch The Walking Dead. I eagerly try to convert others into Sherlockians. Somewhere there is a belt with a notch for every friend I have turned into a Whovian. I will talk Outlander all day long (and often do talk about it all day–to anyone who will listen, and many who don’t). So, when I find others who are equally obsessive, it’s like finding a kindred soul…except when it isn’t.

There is a dark underbelly to the fandoms. One which I didn’t really see until it stared back at me from my Facebook feed. Eager Outlander that I am, I recently joined several groups on Facebook: Other people who have read the books and loved…

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Je Suis Américaine

I am not a very politically savvy person, just ask my husband who has to interpret most of the talking heads shows he loves to watch so I can understand the machinations. But it’s all over the press since the memorial march in Paris that President Obama didn’t attend in person, but sent our French/American ambassador in his stead. Many people/agencies are criticising Obama for this apparent inability to interpret the symbology appropriately since most of the other major world leaders showed up. Seriously people? I don’t think it was appropriate at all for our president to drop everything trying to manage our country in the midst of the influx of Republican newbies fresh from their anti-Obama indoctrinations and fly over for a few hours so he could rub shoulders with other world leaders in the name of free speech and anti-terrorism. He did the right thing. He sent the most appropriate representative who would understand the cultural intricacies of the event and therefore act correctly. Why must every action this president does be criticized so microscopically? Would you do any better in his stead?

Speaking of which, we’re now getting the jockeying for position pre-election year with potential candidates starting to come out of the woodwork, but there’s really no news there. Does Mitt Romney really think he’s got a snowball’s chance in hell to be president after the debacle he barely survived that last time? Why must the same old candidates with the same last names be constantly trotted out like last week’s leftovers? We need new blood in the White House with fresh perspective; someone who might actually represent those of us who are invisible demographics and can see past the next primary.

OK, here’s my wish list for the type of person I want as president – anyone up for the job? If so, add your name to the currently 154 other potential candidates on the list:

In order to represent me, my president must:
* be intelligent and not just look smart because they’ve been told what to wear and how to gesture, they actually need to have an IQ that’s above the average.
* be kind and thoughtful like someone who always remembers friends’ and family members’ birthdays and anniversaries.
* be well read and not just the mass market media, but also more eclectic fare like UTNE Press or even High Times which brings me to the next item:
* be compassionate about alternative options for health care and medicine. This includes making sure the health insurance programs include things like acupuncture, therapeutic massage and yes, marijuana as a viable medicine.
* never have betrayed family or friends which includes cheating on a spouse/partner as well as taking unfair advantage of a business partner. This could really just say that the person needs to be honest in their dealings with others.
* be skilled in debate and negotiation tactics that aren’t just zero sum game, but include compromise strategies that allow all parties to “win” – “a rising tide lifts all boats” as the saying goes.
* be teacher of tolerance and be willing to support those people who have lifestyles that may not be fully understood by the majority like those who identify as homosexual, bisexual, transgender, and any number of other identities that people wish to express. It’s their life, let them live it as they wish as long as it doesn’t harm anyone.
And finally, my president must be self confident, but humble, strong, but gentle and willing to go against the crowd if it’s the best option for the country.
I have a feeling I’ll have to wait a while until my job description is filled. Bummer.

Who am I?

I’ve struggled with identification many times, whether it’s what to post on my Facebook profile, how I present myself on Linked In or trying to squeeze the essence of me into the limited characters of Twitter: “peacemaker, parent, educator, student, citizen, pioneer, synergist, chameleon, activist, warrior, conceptualist, pilgrim, dreamer, peacemaker.” Notice how I listed peacemaker twice – that’s important. Whether it’s breaking up fights between my teenagers or avoiding interaction with people while driving (no road rage here, been there, done that and survived), trying to spread the concept of tolerance through social media or my humble attempt to help end the stigma of mental illness so everyone can get the help they need. That’s what being a peacemaker is to me. The other roles I play are important, but that one drives everything else. I’ve survived over half a century, most of it “in the fog” as I call it pre-ADHD diagnosis and meds, and I’ve come to realize that the phrase “life’s too short” is more valuable than most people think. Live, Learn, Repeat…

New Beginnings

Several years ago I started a blog, but first I HAD to buy my own domain. Then I HAD to tweak the theme, format, colors, font, etc. until it was “just right.” By the time I actually got around to writing something, I had lost interest. That’s a good example of someone with ADHD and OCD. Once I started writing, I kept thinking that my content had to be something I wouldn’t mind my children or family reading so I had to limit my view. That’s life as a parent and adult with ADHD and OCD. See a pattern here? This time I was trying to “favor” a blog of someone else, discovered you had to register on WordPress, figured I had thought about restarting a blog at some point in time and since I’ve been learning how to “seize the day” and do things in the moment as I think of them, I chose a theme – after carefully scrolling through all of the choices to make sure I didn’t feel like I’d missed something. Clicking around I chose the background image, my standard Sequoia tree I photographed years ago and goes along with my concept. Then it came time to choose the header font color. That must have taken about 10 minutes clicking between the basic color choices and sliding the hue bar up and down to see how it displayed against the background image and finally settling on something as I realized how long that process had taken. Saving all of this tweaking and previewing the site, I realized I still had to write something. So, with complete impulsivity and hopeful eagerness, I started typing and this is the result. Welcome to my life.

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