Sunday, April 27, 2008

Success - part 2

After a bit of discussion of other things, therapist and I spent about 5 minutes on success last week. I am confident about who I am in that respect. I've done a lot of things and gotten bored with them before I had a chance to be a success in the usual sense of that word - money, title, prestige, renown. And, of course, I have my times of feeling worthless, but deep down, I know I am a beloved of God and that I have worth in and of who I am without regard to what I do or don't do.

I've had a couple of successes in my career path. With a partner and later without, I operated an advertising agency for five years in a town of 30,000 people in Yeah. We did for five years.

Then, I organized, found funding for and operated Neighbors in Ministry, an ecumenical social service organization that had a thrift shop, a Kid's Cafe, a food pantry for persons who were HIV+, a coalition of agencies who worked with the Hispanic population, as well as intra organizational events to bring neighborhood people, churches and organizations together. We had a very good time and made a lot of difference. Later, other organizations took over some of the ministries and the Hispanic Ministry formed its own group. A good lot of work done by a good lot of people with me as their helper, guide and gofer.

But, my greatest success has been anchored in who I am. According to "What Color is My Parachute?", what I do best in the world is love people. And, I have loved all sorts of individuals in all sorts of ways to the best of my ability all of my life. That is my greatest success: I can and do love.

Here's to all of you who can love! Keep it up.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

College Reunions

I've never been to my own college reunion, but this is my second visit to my partner's college reunion. Her classmates and their spouses remembered me!!!! Amazing. And, it was fun. So tomorrow we head home to our cats and our creek.

With new yarn, new beads, my happy goddaughter who went to Costco with me today, a happy partner who saw her long-time buddies and friends, a pleasant visit with close friends - what a cache of good memories.

Didn't take a single pix - sorry. I'll do better when we go to New Orleans in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


So far I have four or five working pages of scattered notes about success - what I think it is, what I think I am, what my partner thinks, what "they" think. I'm working today to combine them into a coherent mess to take to my therapist tomorrow. At least, this isn't something that I've cried over all week. I've been thinking about it deeply, but I'm not sniveling all week.

My categories on one sheet are finances, education, career, relationships, spirituality, physical, adn something else (papers are in the dining room). On another sheet, I put down what are/seem to be necessities for me to function at my best - like safety, good bed, good food, love, respect, availablity of new ideas,.... The "they" sheet includes things like peer respect, good salary, retirement planned, job title, ability to travel, high degree of education, long time in one field,.....

My partner said, "Don't tell me what you are, tell me who you are." If you are happy with who you are, then you are a success. Of course, she named three or four successes for me that were career achievements, but she also listed five qualities that she considers to be who I am - one of them was inquiring...the others were to be supposed from a partner - loving, caring....

Success has so many definitions and connotations that I find it difficult to contain. One thing is certain, I will not be able to say truthfully again that I am worthless. And, yes, I know that none of God's creation is worthless, but don't we all feel that sometimes?

What is your definition of success? Do you judge others the same way you judge yourself? I'd like to hear your responses.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Another Therapist Question

"Next time, I want you to tell me your definition of success." And, I really thought she liked me. Okay, so what kind of success do you mean, I asked. "All of them."

But, the session went well, and I will deal with that between now and next Monday - then I'll have a week off as we go to my partner's college reunion.

The west wind blew in cold air and stiff breezes; so we're back to long sleeves again. One woman came in the store today all bundled up with coat, hat and gloves. Not that cool.

Woke up coughing from allergy drainage. Took medicine, drank hot tea, back to bed in a few.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday is therapy day

Thanks to all those who have continued to leave encouraging comments and send emails. Today is a good day with therapy at 3 pm today. I am hoping to keep it contained, but emotions spill out throughout the week and realizations of the reality of situations long past. So, I am hoping for direction, hope, light, and recognition. That's a lot to hope for, but I'm optimistic.

Had a note this morning that a best friend and running buddy from about 25 years ago has died. Sad. We had lost contact, but I had heard that she was happy. I hope she heard the same about me. She was a delightful sprite who brought much sunlight and laughter into my life.

One day we were cleaning my apartment in preparation for a party that night. She suddenly realized that she was cleaning with only one hand; the other arm was full of my beloved poodle Sarge - we called him a sack of potatoes. He would just drape himself around your arm, in your lap, on your shoulder, and, often as with Ginni, you'd never know he was there. Sarge loved us all and so did Ginni. May light perpetual shine upon her. I'll try to find a picture of her as the sprite I knew.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bill Clinton visits

Yesterday my partner and friend went to hear Bill Clinton as he did a sweep through North Carolina. They stood and sat and waited several hours to hear this charismatic man speak about problems within NC. And, they were rewarded with ideas, possibilities and legislative solutions that could be enacted. Of course, he was campaigning for Hillary, whom he believes could do all this. And, possibly she could. She certainly knows the ins and outs of politics now. She knows how to get things done in Congress, when to make compromises and when not to compromise. I will vote for her in our upcoming primary. And, I will vote for whoever is the Democratic candidate in the November election. Both have fine points in their favor.

Therapy Plus

Just as growing old is not for sissies, therapy is not for sissies, especially therapy for post traumatic stress syndrome. Many years ago, a therapist at her first meeting with me told me that she thought I needed to work on PTSD about my brother's death. I fled and never went back, using a very flimsy excuse. I couldn't think too much about that then.

Now, with the emotional flashbacks, I have no choice to but to think and, worse, to feel. Last week after I had carefully enumerated how I had felt abandoned by various important people in my life, my therapist said that I needed to write down the feelings I had at the times of those abandonments.

The first was my father, and I don't recall the event of his leaving to go back in service and returning home only two weeks a year (he had to go somewhere). I can't put any emotions to that event except an intellectual knowledge that Mom, Brother and I drew much closer together.

Now, I realize that my brother played the role of father in my life even though he was only six years older. He was left to drive the tractor and help make the crop that my father had planted before he left. He was left to do the heavy work around the farm that my father had done. He was only 13, but he took on the father figure.

And, truly, he had been the one to take care of me most of my memory. I went everywhere with him - even to school occasionally. I have often wondered if others had siblings who occasionally went to school with them, but the people who would know are all dead; so I can't ask.

So, this brother of mine was father, brother, friend, confidante, teacher, and very handsome even at 13. And, I adored him. He was mine. I was his. No hanky-panky. No fooling around. I just knew that Brother would take care of me always.

Always lasted until he got a girl pregnant and married her at my mother's insistence. Then he moved her into the house with us and went off to work as a welder's helper on the pipeline. When he came home, I was no longer primary in his life. And, I hated his wife.

He died following an accident during at storm on an oil repair barge in the Gulf of Mexico. He actually died on the operating table in Morgan City, Louisiana, two weeks after my 16th birthday. Always didn't last very long.

And, I have finally re-created the emotions of that abandonment - both his marriage and his death. Let me tell you, that's not fun. I feel as empty as I did then. I feel as angry, as fearful, as hurt, as whatever as I did then. I cry occasionally. I stare a lot. I play a lot of computer games. I can't even knit much. My brain has shut down for the moment except for the this re-creation of those times.

And, it's hell. Intellectually I know that we have laundry to do, the floors are getting filthy, things need putting up - but I just cannot do anything except feel and re-member.

Okay, so now I have those feelings. What do I do with them? I am tired. I am useless right now. I am crying. I am feeling. This is not fun. And, I don't know the next step. I see my therapist on Monday afternoon. Maybe she'll tell me what to do next.

Meanwhile, as my online buddy Lindy says, just do the next right thing. Since it's 3 am, maybe going back to bed is the next right thing.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The compliment game

Been catching up on my reading. Ya gotta go over to Warriormare's and check out the tab at the top "the Compliment Game". Add your thanks - tongue in cheek to others.

Sardis, Mississippi, Lake and Dam

Well, I was just looking at a picture of the spillway on a lake near Pseudopiskie's place, and it reminded me of many happy times at Sardis Lake/Dam in Mississippi. It was the largest earthen dam until the Aswan Dam was built in Egypt. And, I remember sleeping in the sand on cool nights when I'd be on my way from Memphis, TN, to Mom's house. You burrow out a body sized spot in the warm sand and cover yourself with a blanket to keep the warmth in. Of course, you froze your tootsies off the next morning as you went down to the water to wash the sand off your feet and legs (since you were wearing a dress back in those days).

And, I remember playing around the spillway as a child and watching how many large fish were being caught. The beaches were wonderful and I always wanted to roll down the grassy embankment (long green strip in the picture) naked until I hiked myself up there one day and discovered that the soft-appearing grass was about six inches to a foot high and the embankment was broken with drainage ditches. That would have been one very uncomfortable roll. But, it looked so beautifully green and inviting.

My experience was mostly in the lower lake (left side of picture) below the spillway where we would have family gatherings. The adults would fish and tell tall tales, and the youngsters would run around all over that part of the park (now much larger I'm told) chasing one another, playing around the spillway after being cautioned not to go over there. We'd talk to the people who were fishing, and it was the only place I remember that segregation was not practiced then. Old black ladies and old white men sat side by side on home-made stools with their poles in the water...sharing tales and bait. I ahve some pictures of the spillway back then, but I'll dig them out later. Meanwhile, the photo at the top is from the official site - and it's mostly of the upper lake.

Beautiful drive if you're ever down that way.