Haiku Heights

English: X Factor Auditions View of the hundre...

English: X Factor Auditions View of the hundreds of hopefuls going through the vetting procedure before going through to the next rounds. Is there a future winner here? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

EXPECTATION

Edge of seat, trembling

sticky pink gum, wet with sweat

her name called, door slams.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Pinpoint pupils, raw

heroin, addict, veins pop

Once his Mama’s dream.

A clandestine kit containing materials to inje...

A clandestine kit containing materials to inject illicit drugs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Carry on Tuesday: “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.”

English: a little shy girl Русский: ЗАСТЕНЧИВА...

English: a little shy girl Русский: ЗАСТЕНЧИВАЯ ДЕВОЧКА (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She had always given up too easily. As long as she could remember, she chose not to fight but to deflate, like the air sizzling, slowly, out of a big brightly colored blue balloon. Why, she wondered now? Was it just her character or was she never able to feel safe and confident as a young girl even in her own home? It was hard to differentiate one from the other. Nature vs. Nurture?  Was it because she had  been six weeks premature and had to stay in the hospital for that long in a heated crib? She had always been a shy girl, an anxious one too.  Whose fault was that, she asked herself, in her older years. Surely it was not hers alone? Did her parents not think this was unusual enough to warrant some extra attention?

She didn’t like “playing board games”like Scrabble because there was no game that she thought she could do well in and she was easily embarrassed and ashamed. Had she dug right in, like others she knew and practiced feverishly, she could probably have been on top in at least one or two things but she never stayed long enough. It was a shame, she thought, later on in her life. No one had ever encouraged her to keep trying, it was almost as if they expected little so she gave them what they expected. She felt just like a tiny speck against a world made up of giant red rocks and icy mountain peaks, even large green valleys. She could disappear easily and no one would notice.

She tried to disappear one day when she was about thirteen or fourteen. Their family had a shared cabana at a beach club and one day she took off walking a very long distance and stayed away for hours. She wanted her family and friends to worry, to look for her, she wanted to be missed but when she eventually started walking back, and came “home” no one said a thing; they never even knew she was missing. She was upset, and mad that no one had even noticed.

She gave up all the time, but it didn’t seem like giving up when she was doing it, only years later, while looking back at her youth she figured out that she had been too scared, too fragile, too afraid to try new things. She gave up before she could fail; that was a very lonely and limiting life. She pushed boyfriends away before they became too close. She knew they weren’t serious, so she ended the relationship, knowing it would never be more than what they had then. She regretted that only once in her life but she didn’t have the emotional capacity, at the time, to communicate well.

Looking back forty years, she could see when her life had come to an emotional halt. It’s as if the brakes were firmly pushed and there she stood, alone and apart from most of her friends. Her husband still teased her about playing with Barbie dolls at fourteen with her friend, Linda. She was definitely a “late bloomer,”  her comfort companions were stuffed animals that surrounded her bed for many years. Even now, one or two are tucked under her pillow.

Now, as an older person, she sees the world in a different way. While physically she cannot run anymore, her mind jogs like the wind, as fast as possible. She is no longer shy and introverted but strong in her opinions and in her intuitive feelings. When she walks now, she walks with a brightly, colorful cane to help her balance issues but that does not stop her from walking, it fuels her with confidence, a confidence she never before had. Lastly, if she doesn’t like the sound of something she has written or a photograph she has taken, she will take another and another and not give up, until she knows, in her heart that it is exceptional and only she has to love it for it to be magnificent and divine.

Eating For This And That

English: Individually wrapped slices of Americ...

English: Individually wrapped slices of American cheese. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In addition to eating for enjoyment, I’ve realized food choices reflect my mood. When I am nervous I can eat rapidly, going from one food to the other at an alarming rate: sweet, salty, sweet, salty, crunchy, soft, sweet, salty. When I am worried (I’m in that stage now) food has very little appeal to me and I need to force myself to eat.

I remember when my dad was in the hospital for quadruple by-pass heart surgery my mother complained to him that “your daughter has not eaten in three days.” Like he needed to hear that! But, I do remember having to force myself to take a bite of my age-old comfort food, bread, butter and Kraft’s American Cheese (individually wrapped.) My only beverage of choice was a Yoo-Hoo. To this day, if I can’t eat, which admittedly is rare, I will rely on the same things or scrambled eggs with a lightly toasted English muffin with butter and grape jelly (not jam) to put something in my stomach.

Comfort food. The things we had in our childhood that made us feel better. I had a friend whose comfort food was a hamburger. I found it strange but to her it was comforting, that is what her mother made her when she didn’t feel well. It was her version of my American cheese sandwich. What are some of your comfort foods? I’d love to hear about them and why. No judgment here. Love,food and comfort, they unite us all.

What Makes Me Nervous

Biting one's lip can be a physical manifestati...

Image via Wikipedia

Jasmine tea

Image via Wikipedia

nervous

I go through periods of time when I could say “what doesn’t make me nervous?” Luckily those episodes don’t happen too often. I was also a nervous child, fearful and anxious. I was born premature and spent six weeks in the hospital without my parents; sometimes I wonder if that was a factor in my anxiety. I know sleep deprivation is definitely a reason that adds to my anxiety and unease so I try to get a good night’s sleep. During these brief albeit intense phases I: obsess about health and safety issues for myself, my family, my dog, basically those I love. I worry about mammograms for myself and every family member and friend that I love. Sometimes I worry about heart disease because my father had some heart problems. As you can see, when I worry, I worry about health issues and life threatening diseases.

I have Fibromyalgia and an auto-immune disease of my thyroid but I don’t worry about what I have, I worry about what I could get in the future. I do tend to worry in advance “What if this happens?…” A very old friend once gave me her advice: “Don’t meet trouble half-way.” Alas, sometimes I can’t stop it. I will ruminate about a certain subject. For that, there is medication that my doctor prescribed, used cautiously and only when I am in a very bad state; I am not at all ashamed of that, many people have this disorder and I don’t think you need to suffer in silence the way I did. The medication doesn’t knock me out at all, it just takes away the rough edges, like a camera blurry and fuzzy. The medication acts like a focusing mechanism, making things not as traumatic as they seemed, the sense of urgency gone. I am once again, in focus. It takes the edge off and I can feel my breathing change when it begins to work.

Sometimes, at the very start of feeling anxious, doing deep breathing exercises helps. I say I want to meditate but I have said that for years and haven’t done it yet; I’m not sure why. In addition and as often as possible, I list, in my mind, all that I am grateful for in this world. That, with a warm cup of jasmine tea, kissing and holding my dog, listening to music I love and singing out loud are other things that help me.

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Extreme Sports? Bring it on! (NOT!)

Inês, a Girl walking in the beach. Porto Covo,...

Image via Wikipedia

You Jump, I’ll Watch
Extreme sport? Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. You have got to be kidding me. I tremble at the word “extreme.” Sure, some of you will write about hiking mountains, and bungee jumping, massive triathalons and motorcycle marathons…..but for me? I’d be happy if I could walk every day at a consistent (medium) speed. Right now, with Fibromyalgia, I can’t even count on a slow, measured walk, twice a week, because of joint and muscle pain. I have no interest in “extreme sports” but to be honest, I never did and never will. I never was a big risk taker and the adrenaline I would get from fear alone is enough to make me pee in my pants. When I was much younger I once thought about sky diving or “parachute jumping” where you are shoved out of an airplane with some cord to pull so that the parachute opens. The trouble with me is, when I am stressed I forget things. Forgetting to pull that cord for that parachute? Not a wise choice. I’m staying home.

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It’s Time To Skip, Again

My 2 children spontaneously hold hands and joy...

Fear: I know your name and how you make me feel. My fingers are deep in the inner pocket of my blue fleece jacket rubbing my thumb and forefinger over the soft texture again and again. It is part of my life and everyone’s life at some point. It takes a long time to get over it but eventually you have to and you do. It is like a lazy turtle hiding in its thick green shell and only slowly, with caution, it sticks it’s leery head out and barely looks left and right. It retreats, yes, we all do but we do come out again. Maybe it’s a little easier the next time.

Life is like that, everyone can be terrified at some point and it took me years to accept that it wasn’t just me. I am still cautious, I still get those annoying, tight anxiety strings that pull and tug until they think they can wear me down. I try to push back but sometimes I fail and that is alright. There are solutions because we cannot handle everything ourselves. We need other people or we need medicine or we need to write down our fears or do a collage to rid ourselves of the scary lion, in our minds, attacking its innocent prey. Sometimes, we need to force ourselves to jump or to take a baby step or to skip like when we were innocent children. Remember the feeling of skipping down the street with your best friend? Pure joy and innocence and no fear whatsoever. Maybe we can still be that person once in a while.

It is alright to make mistakes and to make them all over again. Some lessons are hard to learn but not impossible. I know that I feel that too. Some people hide it better than others, some quake, some sweat, some can’t speak for a moment but eventually you find your OWN path. Don’t think it’s just you because it isn’t. I promise. Think of someone who you think has absolutely no fear and then think again. Everyone feels frightened some time in their life. There are some of us that wear our hearts on our sleeves, like me. You can notice my feelings on my face ten feet away, at least some people can; others, don’t notice a thing.

Sometimes I have to play a game. You can play it too. Plaster a great big fake smile on your face and pretend you are absolutely confident. Once my college teacher called it “the confidence game” and I needed it as much as anyone else. It takes time to master it but give it a chance. You might be happily surprised.

“What if I fail?” asks the nervous me. “What if I made a really big mistake?”  I wept to one of my son’s teachers when he was in first grade, “Stand in line, she said “do you think you’re the first one to make a mistake?”  To me it seemed colossal and I did fret with worry but it made me think. My son is now eighteen and I still think of her words, I can picture the teacher’s red hair and the tears on my face streaming down like a small but steady waterfall. When I finally stopped weeping and gave her a hug, I left feeling a tiny bit better. As years went by I always remembered that and now I give other people the same advice I was given. It is okay to make mistakes, everyone does.

If I had any failures in my life most of them were because I was “scared to try.”  I look back at my life and think it might have been really healthy to have been fired once or twice, or scolded and reprimanded instead of TRYING to be the perfect me. My one badge of pride is that I did not pass on my own fears to my children. For this, and this alone, I have succeeded in a spectacular way. I have also forgiven myself for the mistakes I have made, because the decisions I made at the time seemed right. Now, knowing more and being older if I try really hard, I can make different choices. Not always, but sometimes and that’s perfectly good enough.