Daily Prompt: Courage

Courage

We often think of courage as being exemplified by grand acts full of bravado. We think of courageous acts as the kind of acts that win medals and make newspaper headlines, such as saving a puppy from a burning building or being a war hero.

Yet when I look around me and within me, I see acts that won’t make any headlines or win any medals but are courageous nonetheless.

It takes courage on my part to write about some of the things I do on this blog because I’m making myself vulnerable and opening myself up to criticism (I would like to reiterate that my misadventures in internet forums and depression are not being written in real time. I would not have had the courage to write about those events around the time they were happening.) It takes courage to continue to telling my story when the people who bullied me on that forum continue to try to bully me in response to my writing.

It takes courage to submit my blog posts I write through another site for the approval of clients when I’ve been declined and disappointed so many times (I think it was especially courageous of me to submit a blog post about gay sex toys. That one was accepted.)

It took courage for me to reach out to old and new friends when I’d spent so many years in self -imposed isolation, when I was so afraid of being rejected.

It took courage on my friend’s part to send her daughter to medical daycare for the first time when they’ve never been apart from each other for so long.

It takes courage on her daughter’s part to be away from her mother in a strange environment, to submit herself to needles and procedures every time she has to go to the hospital.

It took courage for me to reapply to college after I’d dropped out multiple times.

It took courage for me to put myself out there in the world and volunteer when I was so afraid of performing poorly, of being judged by the people I interacted with.

It takes courage for the ESL students I volunteer with to sign up for ESL classes because they too are afraid of performing poorly and being judged. It takes courage for them to show up to class every week, when some of their peers are afraid to leave their houses, when they are living under an administration that tells them they are not safe and are not wanted in this country.

It takes courage for me to challenge that narrative I have in my head that I’m a worthless failure who’s a burden and a disappointment to everyone, that I’d be better off dead.

They say courage is not the absence of fear but the mastery of it.

Sometimes just getting out of bed in the morning and facing the day is an act of courage.

Daily prompt: Lecture

Two of the three classes I’m taking this semester have a lecture component. I enjoy the lectures and find them interesting. One class is about wrongful convictions in the criminal justice system. I actually didn’t know the class was about that when I signed up for it because it was just called Senior Seminar in Psychology and its description made it sound like it was a broad overview of the field of psychology.  Wrongful convictions happen to be an interest of mine though and I’ve read about it in my free time. The subject is as horrifying as it is fascinating.

My other lecture class is called Intro to Child Life and no, it’s not about the lives of children. It’s about a career most people have never heard of called Child Life Specialist, which involves helping children who have been hospitalized acclimate to their hospitalization. I doubt I’ll ever be a child life specialist myself but I like learning about the profession.

Shy as I can be, I’m actually a pretty active participant in the lectures because these are topics I have things to say about. The good thing about looking so young is that I don’t have to feel the least bit self conscious about sitting in a class full of 20-year-olds because no one would guess I’m older than they are.

Everyone tells me how happy and proud they are that I’m going back to school and that it’s such a great thing to do. I agree but as you may have noticed, my blogging has suffered as a result. I need to remedy that by doing these blogging prompts, which always end up taking less time to write than my regular blogs and by limiting the amount of time I spend on social media.

I do not consider writing on this blog to be any less important or beneficial to me than going back to college is.

Calling

via Daily Prompt: Calling

I really hate calling people on the phone.  I always have. I find it so awkward. Without visual guidance I find it hard to figure out when the other person is about to speak so as soon as I figure out a way to fill that awkward silence I end up creating another awkward moment by speaking over the person as they try to talk. “Oh, sorry, go ahead.” “No, you go ahead.” *Both people start talking at the same time again.*

Then there are awkward background noises such as toilet flushes or worse from people who decide it’s okay to talk on the phone while taking a dump. I’ve hung up on people who think it’s okay to talk to someone else in the room with them while talking on the phone with me. It drives me insane.

When the phone rings three times and the person doesn’t pick up there’s that brief moment of relief when I realize I won’t have to talk on the phone until I realize that means I have to deal with the dreaded answering machine. It’s awkward because you’re talking to the person but you’re not actually talking to them because they’re not there. Half the time what’s supposed to be “Hi, John, it’s Kira” turns in to “Hi, Kira, it’s John.” At least I’m not one of those people who says “Hi, it’s me.” What information are you giving with that statement that the person didn’t already have?”

Then sometimes that person calls you back and gets your answering machine, then you call them them back and get their answering machine again..and you become engaged in an awkward game of phone tag.”   “Hi, John, it’s Kira. Returning your call…again. But you’re not there..again. Call me back when you get a chance. Maybe I’ll pick up this time or maybe we’ll continue this awkward game of phone tag until one of us gives up or dies.”

For many years I had to live with a man who thought it was funny to try to trick and humiliate people on our home answering machine.  The answering machine would say “Hello?” prompting the person to think someone was home and begin talking. Then the answering machine would say “Hi, how are you doing?” Then just as the person started saying “I’m doing well” (or god forbid started saying that their favorite relative just died) the answering machine would say “We’re not home right now but leave a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.” It wasn’t funny 20 years ago and it’s certainly not funny now. It’s one of the many reasons I’m glad I no longer live with my stepfather.

When I was a kid my mother would try to get me to call my classmates on the phone and invite them over for a play date. I would cringe in terror because I was extremely shy, socially awkward and not interested in connecting with people. Now it’s not that I don’t want to connect with people, it’s just that I’d prefer to connect over text or e-mail. No awkward silences, no pressure to respond immediately, no annoying background noises and no answering machines.

Still, I recognize that sometimes phone calls are necessary and occasionally they’re even pleasant. A few months ago I thought my calling in life was to tutor English as a second language so I agreed to tutor a guy from Egypt over the phone. When he called me several times a day and asked if I had a boyfriend I began to suspect he was looking for English lessons plus benefits.

When he suggested video calling I declined. I have some friends and family who are in to video calling but I’ve never tried it and have no interest in doing so. The one benefit of phone calling is that it does not require you to wear pants or look decent and video calling negates that benefit. I’m horrified by how easy it is to accidentally video call people on certain apps and devices. I’ve gotten a few accidental video calls and I’m afraid one of these days someone is going to catch me not wearing pants. When this Egyptian guy purposely video called me despite my request that he not do so, I blocked him.

Funnily enough, my cat has started trying to answer phone calls. When the iPad rings he swipes at it with his paw. If he could start handling all my phone calls from now on that would be great.

Jolly

via Daily Prompt: Jolly

Jolly is a word I associate with Christmas and the Christmas season is in full swing. This year Christmas decorations started going up in the mall the day after Halloween and I was a grinch about the season starting so early but now, in the middle of December I’m in the Christmas spirit.

I now really appreciate the Christmas decorations, the Santas, the carolers and the gift wrappers at the mall. I appreciate the giving spirit of the Christmas tree in the center of the mall that encourages purchasing gifts for needy children and as a name nerd I appreciate seeing the childrens’ names. I was going through all the ornaments and texting the names to my fellow name nerd friend.

For the first time in over a decade I’m able to have a Christmas tree in my house because I’m not living with a Jewish stepfather who forbids it. Although as far as I’m concerned the Christmas season starts the day after Thanksgiving, we just got our Christmas tree yesterday. We got a live, medium sized one from Home Depot. It would be nice if we still had the Christmas ornaments from my childhood but we don’t so we had to get new ones. We opted for plastic over glass because glass ornaments would be a disaster in a house with a very curious, playful cat.

Sure enough, as soon as we put down the Christmas tree stand in our living room Dr. Zeus got curious about it.  He was also curious about the ornaments and the packaging they came in. He took the package in his mouth and batted at the ornaments with his paws. Once they were on the tree he knocked some of them off. He hasn’t done too much damage to the tree at this point though and it looks quite beautiful. In addition to the ornaments it has a garland, a bow and lights.

The night we decorated the Christmas tree we listened to Christmas music and baked snowman cookies (I probably shouldn’t have eaten them all in one sitting but self control has never been my strong suit.) The snow that’s still on the ground from the season’s first snowfall further added to the ambiance.

Despite what Donald Trump would have you believe, there is no war on Christmas.  Thanks to him and his party, there is, however, a war on human decency. The horrible things that are going on in this world right now and the general crappiness of my personal life often leave me feeling quite depressed.  Yet when I look at my beautiful Christmas tree with my mischievous cat perched in front of it and I take in all the Christmas cheer that surrounds me, I feel jolly.

Image may contain: christmas tree

Tenterhooks

via Daily Prompt: Tenterhooks

I must apologize to all my loyal readers who wait on tenterhooks for my next blog post and are dying to hear what happens next in those epic sagas I publish on my blog. The problem is that while I’ve always had the ability to write well, I’ve never had the ability to write quickly and I’ve always struggled to limit the length of my writing. I don’t suffer from writer’s block these days. I suffer from having lots of ideas for writing but not enough time to write them all. Actually that’s not true. I have a lot of free time. I just don’t have enough time management skills.

Anyway, dear readers, I hope I’ve just made it up to you by publishing two short blogs within minutes of each other.

Patina

via Daily Prompt: Patina

I must confess that I did not know what the word patina meant. At first I thought maybe it was a bone in the leg but then I realized I was thinking of the patella. Then for some reason I thought it was a buffet or smorgasboard.  When I looked up the definition, I realized that not only did I have no clue what it meant, I’d also been mispronouncing it in my head. Then I wondered if there are any women out there named Patina.

I was trying to think of a way to incorporate its definition in to a blog post when I finally decided “Fuck it, I ain’t got time for that and there’s no sense in acting like it’s a word I’m familiar with and use all the time.” I guess you could say I carry the patina of being highly literate and having an extensive vocabulary but clearly that’s not always the case (and I wouldn’t be surprised if I used the word incorrectly in that sentence.) Thank you for teaching me a new word, WordPress.

Underdog

via Daily Prompt: Underdog

We call my dog ,Lily, Underdog because she’s always going under things. If you’re looking for her and can’t find her, there’s a good chance she’s under the table. At our old house she was always going under beds but at our new house she’s discovered much to her chagrin, that the beds are constructed in a way that make it impossible for her to get under them. She’s just too big

She’s usually driven under furniture by sounds she doesn’t like- that sound could be thunder, fireworks, music, beeping, glasses clinking together or some sound that is perceptible only to her. She has very big ears and is very sensitive to noises. One time we were walking her through the neighborhood when fireworks started going off.  As there was no furniture around, she darted under a parked car.

Aside from noises, the other thing that tends to drive her under furniture is seeing an object she wants there, usually one of her toys. I said that she can’t fit under beds in our new house but she hasn’t quite accepted that fact. She still tries to get under the beds.  She thrusts her head under the bed and whines and barks, hoping that if she just tries hard enough the bed will magically shift to accommodate her or she’ll magically shrink.

While Lily is too big to fit under the beds, the cat, Dr. Zeus, is not. He goes under them quite a bit, especially when he’s mad at his humans and as you can imagine this drives Lily crazy.  The two of them like to play-fight and while Lily has the advantage of being bigger, Dr. Zeus has the advantage of being able to retreat under furniture. He’s taken an especial liking to the footstools in front of the sofa. I’ve taken to calling him Undercat.

Image may contain: dog

Panacea

via Daily Prompt: Panacea

Another SAT vocabulary word from WordPress. I’m familiar with this one though. I’m sure most of those gun-crazy assholes who become outraged at the prospect of enforcing gun control in the wake of every mass shooting don’t know the definition of panacea. They probably think it’s some kind of STD. However, if they’re not arguing that gun control violates the second amendment, they’re essentially arguing that we shouldn’t bother with gun control because it’s not a panacea to the violence and murder problem.

They’re absolutely right about that last part. Enforcing gun control would not completely eliminate all violence, murders or massacres. It would not even completely eliminate all violence perpetrated with guns. There will always be criminals who slip through the cracks.  However, that does not mean that enforcing gun control is pointless. Gun control would drastically cut down on the number of gun related deaths and injuries  (and overall violence related deaths and injuries as well. Despite what gun lovers imply, gun control would not result in the number of deaths and injuries caused by other weapons rising to the level of damage caused by guns.) That is certainly something worth striving for.

It would be nice if we could take one action that would end gun violence once and for all but true panaceas of that sort are very rare. When it comes to the major problems that are plaguing our society today they really don’t exist-not for gun violence, not for domestic violence, not for rape, not for sexism, not for racism, not for mental illness, not for poverty.  The reason no one solution will serve as a panacea is that none of those problems are caused by only one factor. They are caused my a multitude of factors converging.

Our culture of toxic masculinity contributes to the gun problem- the kind of culture that causes boys and men to use big guns as compensation for small penises. Then there’s the culture of selfishness that leads those men to believe their right to have unrestricted access to high powered assault rifles trumps (pun intended) the right of others to remain alive and safe.  Those issues need to be addressed in addition to not instead of gun control.

We all need to do just do our best to help ourselves and each other, knowing that our best will not result in perfection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Egg

via Daily Prompt: Egg

What came first, the chicken or the egg? I pondered that question as a child and came to the conclusion that the egg came first because the chicken evolved from another species. But what species did it come from? At what point did it cross over from that other species to chicken and what determined the transformation was complete?

That’s as far as I’m going to get in to eggsitential questions. My favorite part of the Starbucks protein pack that I get on a regular basis is the hard boiled egg, which I sprinkle with salt. There used to be one egg in the pack, now there are two. I was quite happy when Starbucks made that change. I only like eggs in hard boiled form. I find eggs in any other form nauseating. My mom says it’s ridiculous that I like eggs in one form but not others and that I used to eat eggs in other forms but now I won’t. What can I say, my tastes evolved, just like the species that preceded the chicken.

My brother likes scrambled eggs. One day when he was making scrambled eggs I ran in to the kitchen, poured fish food on his breakfast and shrieked “April Fools!” He looked at his ruined eggs in dismay and said “How is that even a joke?”

He felt that his fifth grade teacher resembled an egg. My mother said that was ridiculous, it wasn’t possible for a human to look like an egg. Yet after she attended a parent-teacher conference she had to admit that his teacher was indeed rather egg-like.

I hope you found this blog to be eggcellent.

Proxy

via Daily Prompt: Proxy

Proxy is one of those words I’m not sure how to use properly because I’ve never really heard it used aside from Munchausen by proxy. That’a a very horrible yet morbidly fascinating condition. I recently finished a novel that featured a mother and her children who were the victims Munchausen by proxy. It caused one of her daughters to become a murderer and the other one cut herself constantly.  Yeah, I can imagine being a victim of Munchausen by proxy would really fuck you up emotionally.

When I looked up the word proxy the example sentence was someone voting as a proxy.  There’s a state election coming up on Tuesday but due to my recent address change I’m not sure if I’ll be able to vote in it. The anniversary of last year’s dreadful presidential election is coming up soon and that makes me sad.

I’m going to end this blog now because I’m behind on the daily prompt blogs and on blog writing in general. Maybe I should have someone else write my blogs as my proxy. Did I use the word correctly there?