Month: July 2019

Communication

I’m amazed at how well I communicate my thoughts and ideas in professional settings. I’m equally amazed at how poorly I communicate in familial settings.

Self-awareness is not just something that’s important to me personally; it’s a major aspect of my professional life…therefore I continually reflect and evaluate me!

Recently, while conversing with some family members I noticed that I repeated what I’d said multiple times in response to the bewildered expression on one of the individuals’ face after I initially made the statement.

That’s nothing…no big deal, right? Wrong! In professional communications in response to a bewildered expression, I rephrase my statements in an attempt to provide clarity to my conversation partner. So, why did I not do this when I conversed with my relatives?

That’s something I’ve asked myself for years. I know some times I really have no idea how to clarify a statement. Yet, other times I’m unwilling to take the nanosecond it takes to rephrase my statements. That leads me to repeating myself and looking at my conversation partner like “why don’t you understand what I’m saying?”.

That’s insufficient communication skills on my part. Plus it creates barriers to relationship building.

Which brings me to another point – how can I say that my relatives don’t know me when I place barriers between us through my communication patterns?

Is building professional networks of greater importance than maintaining close familial ties? Based on my communication skills or perhaps I should say based on my efforts at communication, I’m led to believe I place more stock in professional networks.

But it’s not that simple! Of course, you know that things are rarely that simple.

Let’s review my communication efforts with professional networks. The fact that I’ll rephrase a statement to provide clarity…does not suggest that I place more value in these contexts than with my relatives.

Let’s also think about the patterns of communication I’ve developed through my family unit. The unconscious beliefs I garner about communication and my place in conversations.

We learn a lot about communication and how individuals operate amongst each other in our families. It’s also possible that the conversations with my family are more relaxed and less restrictive than the conversations with individuals I engage with in professional settings.

Do you notice any differences in your communication efforts with different groups?

If you do, is the simple reasoning for those communication efforts adequate? Or is there more to it than what’s on the surface?

It All Works Out

Don’t worry about it {whatever your it may be} because everything will work out in due time.

I don’t know about you, but I am not comforted by the aforementioned sentiment. For a fact, I often feel like it’s an insult when someone says it or any variation of it to me.

Unfortunately I’ve uttered similar statements to others; however, now my perspective on it has changed.

I know that individuals are well intentioned when they say things of that nature and they are genuinely attempting to comfort the recipient.

It’s likely comforting to some individuals, in a similar sense that statements suggesting that a higher power or the universe is working things out on your behalf.

Sigh, I’ve never been one to be comforted by such statements. I’m often someone who struggles to see past my current situation and circumstances. I guess some would say when it comes to my perception of my life, I’m a glass half-empty kind of person!

This is not the case when it comes to my perception of other’s lives and the advice I give. That’s when I’m beyond optimistic and encouraging.

This part of my personality, makes me a great advice-giver and not so good advice-recipient. Especially when that advice requires me to change my perception of my situation.

Before you start with the shenanigans about how this is a bad thing and I need to work on it…let me ease your mind: I actively work to improve myself and my life daily. This includes changing how I perceive my situation and circumstances.

So, yes I work on it, but, I’m a work in progress to say the least. I don’t necessarily see my perspective as a bad thing, however, there are times when the balance is not there!

For instance, during the last few months, I accepted a job that will launch my professional career, I’ve managed to keep my bank account open during a long 7 month stretch of unemployment, and I never once became homeless or experienced true hunger despite my lack of income.

Ok that sounds great right? All things considered, but I see my situation through another set of lens.

That set of lens suggest that I’ve been unable to pay a single bill independently for the entire year of 2019 thus far; I had to depend on my parents, extended family, and friends for the simplest of my basic needs; and most of the time when my phone rings it’s a debtor whom I must tell the same tired story about why I am unable to pay my bills; I have multiple educational degrees and yet I was unable to secure any employment; my credit score has plummeted; and yes I have a full time position lined up that will launch my professional career and it is the position I desired but it doesn’t feel that significant.

Think about the differences between those thought statements. Now, imagine how an individual with the latter thoughts feels when someone says it will all work out.

Imagine their surprise when the person with the latter thoughts is unable to even faintly smile in return to their well intentioned statement.

Sigh. I’ve been told that I’m a negative person and that I make others uncomfortable when I do not take comfort in their sentiments.

Ok, so here’s the deal…I’m not here to for anyone’s comfort and it’s nonsensical for me to change my feelings about my situation and circumstances for the sole purpose of making someone else feel that their advice is inspiring.

Additionally, the phrase that it will all work out is on the same shelf as it could be worse…those phrases are empty platitudes.

I’m not naive I am very self-aware. I do not waddle in despair and I do not feel that my situation and circumstances are hopeless. However, I do not feel comfortable in this situation or with these circumstances.

I am entitled to feel however I feel. I believe it would be much easier for people to simply say, that sucks during the rare times they hear of my situation or circumstances.

Plus, it’s more than appropriate for an individual to tell me that they do not care to discuss my situation because it’s bringing them down. It’s important to take care of you, and part of that is protecting your own mental health.

Thankfully, I don’t sit around and incessantly gripe about my situation and circumstances. For a fact, when most people are made aware of them they are shocked.

But on the off chance that I do share with you or that anyone tells you their less than good current situation and circumstances,..try not to immediately find a fix! Just listen and once you’ve had enough change the topic.

And please, be mindful when you say it will all work out!

What’s something that irks your nerves when you’re in the midst of a trying time?

Romantic Relationships

Those who know me in real life are well aware that I shy away from romantic relationships.

In all honesty, I often miss the clues individuals utilize to express their interest in me…therefore I miss opportunities to even engage in many romantic relationships.

I’m one of those people who hyper focuses on one goal and loses sight of the big picture.

Even with all of those personal flaws or quirks (depending on who you ask) I’ve managed to fall in love and experience a romantic relationship.

Laugh, you know those quirks I mentioned earlier? They didn’t go away once I entered a romantic relationship, and they complicated things.

I’ve mentioned before that if I was born 15 years later than I was, there’s a high likelihood I would’ve been labeled as being somewhere on the Aspergers Spectrum.

That is not an insult to those who are on the spectrum, neither is it my attempt to make light of a serious issue.

I was born at the wrong time and in the wrong location and definitely in the wrong socioeconomic class for anyone of influence to flag my tendencies as different.

Enough of that.

I’m an adult now and I am still perplexed by romantic relationships. A part of me truly believed they are an utter waste of time and energy. While there’s another part of me that feels like romantic relationships are enticingly beautiful.

I still leave something to be desired when it comes to romantic relationships. I often have to be told what it is my partner desires from me and that can be annoying.

Oh I don’t mean they have to tell me something grand, no they have to tell me “amber I would like for you to hug me and not seem like I’m on fire and you’re afraid to catch it” haha! That was an odd moment, but I do have a tendency to hurry hugs.

I do have to work hard in romantic relationships and I still don’t know if they’re worth it. It seems like a lot of work with little benefits.

Friends forever

Years ago I believed that if I remained friends with an individual for five years, we’d be friends forever.

That’s not exactly true…yes five years is a long time to keep a friendship going. However, both parties have to actively work to keep the relationship afloat.

I’ve moved a few times in my adult life and I’m the first to admit that it’s hard work to maintain friendships. Thankfully, I’ve maintained some relationships in my adult life. Although it has been work.

Like me, my friends are adults. They are employees, spouses, parents, and we all live in different areas of the country. Life gets busy and making time to check in on friends is a lot. We manage to keep in touch with each other.

I’m also inactive on the major social media networks which has become a primary way of keeping in contact with individuals. I believe that true friendships reach beyond the world of Facebook. Removing myself from Facebook and Twitter approximately 5 years ago, quickly showed how some of my friendships were faux/ships of pseudo/relationships! They didn’t outlast my participation in social media networks.

I also was invited to less baby showers, birthday parties, and weddings when I deactivated my major social network pages! – this was welcomed news because I was always mailing gifts or sending my mom on a mission to find a gift for the recipient.

Today, I think that it takes much more than five years of knowing one another to be friends for life. It takes commitment and communication.

Let’s talk about today…

I’m in the land of the living; however, most of my residence today is in the I Am Chronically Unwell camp! That’s no problem!

Well it’s a bit of a problem…let me explain.

I’m what most people would consider invisibly unwell. Meaning that there’s not many external markers that give away my membership in the club of chronically unwell and/or sick individuals.

There’s millions of individuals who have invisible illnesses so that’s not the problem.

The problem is that at times my acting skills are so good that even I forget that chronic ailments take up residence in my body. Yes, acting skills! Day in and day out I purposely put on my best face and I muster up all the strength I can to downplay my membership to the chronically unwell club.

Through the years I’ve worked hard to not allow my ailments to define me. We’re not going to get into how psychological, physical, and emotional damaging this mindset can be when it has limited impact on the true state of illness.

I won’t say that this acting is a bad thing, neither will I declare it a good thing…I’ll let you draw your own conclusions. I’ll just say the acting is what I do on a daily basis. Acting as if I am free of any ailments despite the fact that my body is riddled with ailments became my way of life decades ago. So much so that presently acting well is simply a habit now.

Sigh. So when I have days like today when my illnesses outweigh my acting skills and I must pause…I struggle.

I struggle because I’ve spent so much time pretending to be well that I forget how to tend to my illnesses.

I struggle because no one is used to me saying no or being unable to participate in whatever activity they want me to.

I struggle because on those days (today) I’m forced to look at myself and see the illnesses that I fight so hard to ignore.

I struggle because the illnesses impact my entire being.

You’d think I’d only experienced days like today once every three years, the way it seems to knock me down. You would think that there’s no warning signals and that I’m always caught by surprise based on my reaction to days like today.

None of that is true.

I frequently experienced days like today. There’s generally always warning signs and I even take steps to prepare for the life interruptions. Yet, I’ll never get used to the toll days like today take on me.

Days like today will be familiar, yet foreign.

Who likes to fall (in love)?

I’ve read that it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. That sounds like something someone makes up while they are trying to recover from a breakup or worse, unrequited love.

I’ve loved a time or two. I’ve lost a time or two; in regards to love. I’ve even had the pleasure of experiencing unrequited love. For those reasons I’m not sure it’s better to have loved.

In many ways, I think I could’ve been ok without every experiencing love like that. But then again, I could just be recovering from a breakup or unrequited love!

I don’t know what I think about love, at this phase in my life. I do know that I employ too many fantastical ideas about love and relationships.

I do know that I stick with a person well past the expiration date. I do this in all of my relationships, romantic, familial, and platonic.

Please don’t tell me that familial relationships do not expire! I’m not suggesting that we will quit being family but I am suggesting that the dynamics change. Familiar relationships take work to maintain just like all other relationships.

Love, romantic love, is something I vowed to never do! I was uninterested of putting my heart out there and exposing my emotions. I was adamantly against ever falling in love.

Some people have said that the thing you’re most against is the thing that you will run into or at least find yourself doing. Well! I didn’t listen to that sage advice.

I looked up one day and realized I was in love with an amazing individual. Yes, he was and is and likely always will be amazing. I did not want to fall in love with him and I questioned the validity of my love for a long time.

I bet you’re wondering why I don’t believe that it’s better to have loved since I still still speak highly of the one I loved?

Well although my life improved drastically with his presence, I don’t know that I’d want to experience the vulnerabilities associated with falling in love all over again.

I don’t know if it was necessary.

If I seem confused, I’m not; however, I am still struggling with the vulnerability associated with falling in love.

I’ll never speak badly about this man, it’s really not about him. It’s about me and the complexities of my emotions.

You won’t catch me truthfully singing that I feel like falling in love

Plans. Pain! Plans?

It was Sunday, which meant it was time for me to mentally plan and prepare for the week. It would likely be more sensible for me to plan on Saturdays; however my Saturdays are booked and so I plan my week on the first day of the week…

At times those plans are very loose; those are the times when I actually plan to stream programming, read a novel, or watch random videos and listen to music.

This Sunday my plans were not very flexible as far as the tasks I’d intended to accomplish. I planned a set amount of hours that I’d spend on the tasks in order to follow my plan for the week.

Well…here’s the problem – when I planned my tasks for the week I failed to plan for pain. Oddly I failed to even consider the possibility of pain.

Not considering the possibility of pain is odd because I actively live with chronic illness and pain. Well I guess I wanted to think positive and plan my week without the presence of pain.

I am in pain most days of the week, multiple hours in a day; however, when I planned my week on Sunday…I didn’t consider the possibility of pain.

At times I believe that the faith talks dissuade me from practicing self care. In many ways faith talks or willpower talks fault the person going through something and rarely addresses any core problems. When faith talks and willpower talks occupy my mind I believe I am able to not consider the pain I experience on a regular basis.

Somehow That pain pauses until my weekly tasks are complete or at least that was my frame of mind Sunday when I made plans.

Surprise, I know it’s not even going to shock you, pain was not only present while I attempted to complete my scheduled tasks, pain sidetracked me to the point that I was unable to stick to my scheduled events.

I’m not new to chronic pain or illness. I’ve dealt with these things in various forms with varying levels of success most of my life…so it’s amazing that I’m astonished that pain made my plans questionable.

Whether I’ll be able to complete the scheduled tasks this week as planned is a question that will remain unanswered for a few days.

Pain has interrupted my sleep cycle, lack of sleep impacts my comprehension levels which are already lowered as a result of the pain…all of this makes it difficult to complete my tasks I scheduled for the week.

Ok so at this moment I’m accepting the possibility of being unable to complete the planned tasks this week and like many people living with chronic illness and pain. I adjust and do what I can, while thinking to myself “why did I forget to make room for pain?”

What do you do when pain makes your plans questionable?