Monday, June 20, 2016

Is Ignorance Bliss ……. Or Just Denial?

Here is a fun little exercise for you.

During a time of grieving, therapy, healing and stress -  write up some questions about how you come across to other people and ask several people you know to answer said questions honestly. Then sit back, wait for the answers and be prepared to feel as though you were kicked in the head.

To be fair, I did ask for honesty. And those that responded were not mean, nasty, or out to hurt my feelings. In fact most of them commented on how “brave” I was to even ask the questions as they did not think it was something they could do themselves. But that does not mean their answers were easy to read. 

First, the questions I sent:
  1. When we met, specifically our first face-to-face meeting, what was your first impression of me?
  2. Overall what would you say is the most positive aspect of my personality, what would you say people find most appealing?
  3. What trait or habit do you think people find least attractive about me? Or most off-putting?
  4. Would you say that there was any particular thing about me that would want someone to keep me out of their personal circle?

I am sure some of you are thinking: “Why in the world would you even ask people these questions?” Well I do have a good reason. This last year has been very difficult after the death of my mother. She was my best friend and my greatest sounding board. I came to realize that for several reasons I often find it difficult to connect to other people in the ways I would want to. This is not just in the wake of my loss but is tied to events and experiences over many years. After my counselor suggested asking someone I trusted to give me some feedback I decided to act on that idea.

Of course being ME you know there were spreadsheets involved. Names of selected respondents, columns for gender and how long in years I had known the person as well as their responses under a header of each query. The numbers break out as follows:

  • 9 responses out of 15 requests – 60% response rate
  • 7 Females & 2 Males
  • 3 each for the number of years category: 0-5 / 6-10 / 10+
My first surprise was who did, and who did not, respond, some of these I found very unexpected. Individuals who I had thought to get a sentence or two wrote well thought out paragraphs with specific examples and occurrences. Three people who had promised to respond, and in fact gave me specific time-frames, I did not hear from at all.

The second thing that caught me off guard was the theme of the answers to Question One. The way I was described from their perspectives was incredibly similar (especially given most of them do not know each other). Yet their observations and memory of that first meeting are the polar opposite to what my recollection was and how I was feeling at the time, regardless of how it came across.

Some responses made me cry, some made me defensive and some made me question I really should ever be around other humans. There were days when I began to feel like some sort of monster, or social cancer, and I understood why no one wanted to be around me. But I read them multiple times and usually that sick, panicky feeling in my gut would calm a bit – each review decreasing the feeling that I wanted to just throw-up.

I will say again that in spite of the common themes and words I read in each answer I am still a bit in awe of the disconnect between how I feel about myself and how others see me. Some of which may come from their own filters as well as my learned behaviors.

The questions now become:

  • Do I WANT to change who I am? Is it even possible?
  •  If so, how much change are we talking about? Do I have to learn an entirely new persona and personality in order to achieve what I thought I wanted?
  • And if I do change that completely will I still be ME? What will I lose in the process? Can I maintain my own sense of self and integrity if I change that much to make others more comfortable? 
  • If I change nothing whatsoever can I handle the loneliness, solitude and sense of isolation that prompted the questions in the first place?
  • Have I just not discovered “my people”? Or is it perhaps that the window to form the types of relationships I want has closed?

I don’t have any concrete answers yet so there is no pretty and neat ending to this post. Just more questions and more work.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Personal Choices in the Workplace

I find several things about the Hobby Lobby decision, and the comments from people I know, to be very interesting on several levels.

First, in my opinion a lot of this would not ever have had the media coverage it has if the subject was not related to sex. Not "sex" as in gender, but as in the physical act. As they say in advertising "Sex sells". And people feel more emboldened to rant and rave about sex than say astigmatism.

Thousands of businesses do not offer coverage for vision care or corrective lenses - yet I do no see large groups of near sighted men and women picketing those companies. Though I would love to see that since I like many people do not consider my glasses an "option". In order to work, function, or drive I need to be able to see - and for me and millions of others that means eyeglasses or contact lenses. Yet you do not see us going crazy in the streets when we accept a job with a company that does not pay for those items.

When choosing the insurance plan offered to their employees the HR department is usually more focused on cost than any moral stance. HOWEVER, and this must be taken in account, a privately held corporation does have the right in my opinion to set up parameters that they feel do not violate their owners beliefs.

Secondly, in this age of information accessibility it is easy enough to learn if the company you are considering working for holds owner / corporate beliefs that you would have an issue with. For example: Chick-fil-A does not operate on Sundays and a private Christian school is most likely not going to cover the cost of your abortion. These are just facts based on those two businesses core values. So if you were a strong Pro-Choice supporter why would you take a job with the Catholic Church? I do not believe that abortions should be performed with the frequency they are and for so many of the stupid (in my opinion) reasons many women give as to why they want to end a pregnancy - so my taking a job with Planned Parenthood would not be a great idea as I would be in conflict from Day 1 with their mandate of accessible "family planning" for everyone - even teenagers. Who can have an abortion without their parent's consent or knowledge - yet they cannot get their ears pierced, an aspirin from the school nurse, or teeth pulled without a parent's consent.

Third, I do not agree with some of the comments I have read today that claim this ruling has anything to do with penalizing women financially. There are dozens of generic options for birth control pills on the market ranging in price from $4-$28 a month. Even with insurance and taking a no generic option a woman would typically pay the co-payment of $10-$25 monthly.

As a side note - a box of condoms will run you $8-$20 depending on where you purchase them.

This brings me to my fourth item. I see almost no men up in arms about this ruling. Why? Because birth control for men has NEVER been covered with any insurance plan. Yes, I understand, it is an outer "device" and not a medication. But what about women who choose a diaphragm instead of the Pill? Their option has never been covered either. Or in some cases the initial fitting for the diaphragm is covered but never the spermicidal jelly that goes with it.

What this uproar is really about is abortion. Which has become the single issue litmus test for any political candidate or appointee. Hobby Lobby (Evangelical), Conestoga (Mennonite), and a Christian bookstore chain brought the suit to protest not having to cover birth control such as the Pill or a diaphragm – but four specific forms of contraception: Plan B, Ella and two intrauterine devices - in fact cause abortions by preventing a fertilized embryo from implanting in the womb. 

Heads up NOW – these companies strongly believe, as do many others by the way, that life begins at conception and they are morally opposed to destroying that life.  And before someone chimes in with the old “What about rape, incest or risk to the mother’s life?” argument – I have heard of NO groups coming forward and saying they would try to prevent a woman in those situations from terminating a pregnancy. Legal abortions have always been an option for these situations – even before Roe v. Wade.

I find it increasingly frustrating and ridiculous that a person’s views and beliefs on this ONE topic is what so many people focus on when choosing a mayor, senator or president. As if any one view on a single topic is a good indicator of how a person will perform in all other aspects of their position.

And just in case anyone is still wondering where my stand on the subject is – I am Pro-Life. I have no problem with the use of contraceptives, vasectomies, or hysterectomies. Some people have no interest in being parents. Others have a genetic issue or family history of disease that make them choose adoption or not having children at all. Fine, that is their choice and I respect that. Not everyone can or should have children.

But to those who see abortion as a sort of “Get Out Of Jail Free” card, who do not want to “bother” with birth control or accept that actions have consequences – I do not think we as a society should be making it as easy as it is for them to destroy a life that did not ask to be created. Especially when the woman waits until seven months in to make up her mind about not becoming a mother. If you and/or your partner don’t want children – use something – anything – during sex. Don’t have anything on hand? Then you wait, or better yet – use that hand. Practice a little self- denial and stop treating your body as less than the miraculous creation it is. Stop putting your bodies through the extreme trauma of an abortion because having a baby now was not in your five year plan, or you let your lover guilt you into not using a condom, or you got so drunk you went home with some guy whose name you don’t know and whose face you cannot remember. Take some responsibility for your actions, preferably before you get knocked up. 


CNN / Religion

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I will never understand such evil ......

Especially evil acts or intentions towards children.

When a story comes across the news about some sub-human "adult" behaving worse than any animal it makes me regret that we have the legal system we do. This piece of dirt is going to get a trial, that our taxes will have to pay for because I am sure he has nothing and if his parents/family are smart or have an ounce of decency they will refuse to stand up with this slime.

I am not going to cause anyone undue revulsion or distress by posting any link to the story in question that prompted me to write this. Just that it happened recently in Missouri.

Sometimes when I read about one human causing the death of another I am able to pause, step back mentally and consider what the circumstances may have been in place that this event occurred. But not in this case. There is no reason under the sun why this baby had to die.

It was due to Evil - plain and simple.

Nothing either of those charged can possibly have any valid reason for what they did. I can only hope that tribal justice will prevail and they both will get their just dues in a dark corner some night thereby sparing the tax payers the burden of paying to support either of these monsters for even one more day.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

DAGMT 2014 Challenge - Update 1

How does the quote go?

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry (Bonus points if you know where this comes from without Googling it).

I could tell you why I think I have not finished as many things as I had wanted to - but the easiest answer is the one that seems to trip me up more than any other. I tend to bite off way more than I can chew. I over-commit myself and I severely underestimate how much time I will need to finish said project(s).

That said however I can report that there are TWO completed items off my list

This is an older comforter that was on one of the beds in the girls' room. However the stitching had come loose and during a wash all the wadding inside shifted and bunched.

I removed the old ties, stripped out the old filling, repaired the stitching as best I could before re-stuffing and re-tying the comforter so it can again be used in their room.

These are test blocks for a new pattern being developed by Beth Helfter - the creator of the DAGMT Challenge. I was supposed to mail them on the 10th - but they went out today.

I think I like how they turned out but there are things about the directions I would change if it were up to me.

I am coming to terms with the idea that I am NOT going to be submitting a piece for the Notable Women contest as even with the longer time frame for preparation I have not touched the project for two months. No way is it going to be ready by Saturday.

Here then are my hours so far. I cannot always seem to just do a little each day .... not really sure why.

Time that day
Total time MTD
3 hr 0 min
3 hr 0 min
3 hr 0 min
1 hr 0 min
4 hr 0 min
4 hr 0 min
4 hr 0 min
0 hr 30 min
4 hr 30 min
4 hr 30 min
1 hr 0 min
5 hr 30 min
3 hr 0 min
8 hr 30 min
8 hr 30 min
2 hr 0 min
10 hr 30 min
0 hr 45 min
11 hr 15 min