As I continue to work on things away from this blog (which is a collection of Free-Time/Casual Online Writing, Remarks, And Notes By ME Whelan) and continue to figure out what goes and what stays of my existing online-writing, the de-emphasizing of one or another continues as well....

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Wrapping Up The Orange-Flower/Smiley Guy "Project"

With this online stuff it's so easy for one thing to lead to another.  Much of the stuff on this particular blog is stuff that I moved from the no-longer-in-existence, Bubblews. I never really knew what to write on there, and I wasn't all that active on there.  But, over time, I built up a bunch of stuff.

It was a weird mix of sometimes equally (kind of) weird writing.  Some things that I wrote won't at all weird.  The profile page showed a bunch of things on it, so at the time I decided to use one of three header images for each post as a way of indicating whether the post was super-serious/business-like, fairly serious, or some light and/or weird thing.  So, I had three header images - a plain, tan, backgrond, the orange-flowers that are everywhere in this blog, and the smiley guy.  It was my version of "sort of a theme" (not to be confused with "brand" because I didn't see Bubblews as anything to take seriously.

When the site closed I started moving some things to this blog and another one.  Then I decided to use the orange flowers as a way to indicate, if only to myself, that a post was from Bubblews.  I didn't see the tan background image as something to bother moving here (it's one of my stand-by's, so I've used it all kinds of places).

Eventually, I decided to dig out the smiley guy just to add color somewhere.  Then I started thinking that using the three-image "set" I'd used on B's would indicate (at least to me, but also in general)
that x-percent of stuff on here does come from that site.

That led me to think again about finding a way to blend the three images as part of indicating that they were (again) some version of a theme, and that "theme" is that the three-image "set" indicates stuff I'm not all that serious about, for the most part.  In other words, it's my "frivolous-stuff-sort" theme. 

So, I made a few images that combined at least two, sometimes three, of the "set".  All of this is actually a kind of pointless waste of time because I'm phasing away from any number of things related to my more casual, free-time, writing.  Still, I'm someone who doesn't like to leave loose ends and unfinished business even if I'm not going to spend much time doing something.

Since I have no plans to completely close open accounts (because I do plan to return and do something on them later), I don't want to return to old, stale, looking pages that aren't organized and don't look at least a little current.

So, since I've been in a kind of a "slow-down" mode in recent times it's also been a good time to take care of some loose-end type stuff.  I'm pretty much finished with that particular little project, but I went to Facebook and added the "theme".  My neglected FB page needed a Spring lift, and since FB is what it is, not only did the "casual" theme seem to go well, but it was easy to think up rather than try to think up a whole new thing or dig out some other images.  I don't care that much.  If it looks reasonably pleasant that's all I care.  And thus began the transition for the three-image set to become associated with the stuff I have/do online that isn't all that serious and/or is just personal.

Earlier in the night I decided to give my Google profile a Spring lift too.  I used the the "set" "theme" there too.  It was kind of funny, though, because the way the heading on there is it turned out the combo image I had didn't look good.  I just used the orange-flowers instead.  It looked fine.

There's "header image" and "profile image" on there.  What I had was a new header image and the old profile one (which was a keyboard).  Anyone who knows Google profiles knows that the profile information/image shows up in a little block at the side of the header image.  The image, itself, shows up in a circle.  I had no intention whatsoever of using the smiley face in the profile "block".  My original plan was to use the combo image as the header.  It just didn't look good with the transparency of the profile block.

So, I figured I'd just see what it looked like if I used the smiley as the profile image, and I kind of laughed when I changed the image and when it turned out that it looks like the profile image circle was tailor made for the smiley face guy.

With my Google profile stuff I didn't really want to use the smiley because the stuff I have associated with the profile isn't all just fooling-around and/or personal stuff.  With the smiley face guy as the profile image, anything I post or do on there is dotted with that little smiley.  (Did I mention he's not just any smiley?  I drew him with a particular type of expression in mind and hand-picked (no, drew)
the flowers (which used to be a different color but changed when I started using him on one site or another.  (He's been around for ages now.)

In any case, for now he's on the Google profile too.  Just as with Bubblews, there'll come a point where I de-emphasize the smiley guy and use him more sparingly (very sparingly).

For now, he's a change from the keyboard image I've been using.  Besides, when all is said and done,
I do want to emphasize that my online stuff is more casual and separate from anything I take more seriously.

It's probably telling, in its own way, that I take the stuff I don't take all that seriously as seriously as I sometimes do.  

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Trying To Address Some Issues With My HubPages Account(s)

In some ways I've spent so much time trying to figure out what I should be writing on HubPages (now that some fairly major changes are really getting under way) that I've both chosen to hold off on, but also kind of forgotten about, writing any "new and improved" Hubs.  I've been slowly trying to get one of the accounts a little more up and running, although I'm still kind of holding off with any Hubs that take more than x-amount of time/effort.  I've got some images to fix before really moving on.

Still, a little progress is better than no-progress.  If nothing else, at least I finally actually wrote something that won't seem like an emergency to delete.  I'm not going to post a link here (at least not right now), but I'll post the image (because I'd like to make the orange smiley face (my own "artistic creation" for the late Bubblews).

Since most of the subjects I write about don't lend themselves well to too many images; and since I have always pretty much hated so many of those canned images that people use and that scream, "Internet canned image", I'd once decided to just remove most images from most things that I'd written.  For now, and if I think the thing is at all worth bothering with, I figure I'll aim to at least create one or another kind of my own images.  They aren't great, but they're better than none (in some instances).

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Exhaustion Post

This was something that I was going to post in reply to a forum thing on HubPages, but then I was going to write a Hub about it instead.

Too tired, but want this out there now.   I feel like I live a big science experiment or am in some twisted game show.  Anyway, I want this out there because making sure it is will help me get through the next few minutes, anyway.   

What you say certainly would generally apply under normal circumstances.  Not all divorces are equal, and not all divorced people are equal in terms of stress and living circumstances.  Some people, of course, have the luxury of, say, the option to choose between, say, going out to work, sitting on a couch at home, or doing something like going to a gym.

Long-term, extreme, and or un-relenting stress in day-to-lfe is often something that happens with divorce.  For some people, the divorce, itself ends whatever was bothering them (stress etc.), and - voila - they feel/are well enough to, say, go to a gym AND they may actually give "the proverbial rat's" about meeting people and socializing.  (As far as whoever it is or was that was "crying every day" goes, I can't imagine it.  They were probably young and had no children to watch going through whatever a screwed up/messy divorce can cause in children's lives.  In other words, as far as I'm concerned, the person who "cries every day" after divorce probably needs help other than just the gym - but whatever....).)

My divorce led to my not having a driver's license because when I took my three kids and left the house someone called the "mental health people" on me; and while it was apparently figured out that I wasn't a danger to myself or anyone else, they didn't just say "sorry" and leave things at that.  Instead, "The System" didn't get out of our lives and out of what should have been a simple divorce. 

As a result of some kind of mess, my children's father was allowed to stay in the house with the children.  In other words, I lost custody.  BUT, because it was pretty much obvious to all involved (as far as I can imagine), I was ordered to pick up my children each afternoon after school, have them every weekend from Friday afternoon until Sunday evening (6:00 p.m.).  I slept in the car, and was left without money to keep it inspected (and sticker-worthy).  It was 1993 when I couldn't renew my license because a few hundred dollars (but then, growing) of tickets I got for a bad sticker.  Everything was handled in such a bizarre way, and any time I tried to address it I got any number of different replies.  So, even when I've had the "extra" money to pay off the bill that escalated, I was (still am) afraid that they'd pull some kind of switcheroo of rules on me after I'd already handed over a good sized chunk of money to them.  

I won't go more into the whole, twenty-plus-year-long thing about what has gone on; but with the Internet and being able to walk and take a very limited bus to some places, I was kind of OK for a good long time.  At some point it was wearing thin.  It didn't help that I was already kind of exhausted going into the divorce.  Neither did a couple of "horror shows" that involved losing my mother, and watching my children lose their remaining grandmother (not to mentioned any number of other losses).

Now (finally) to my point:   Just as I was starting to show some pretty obvious signs associated with adrenal fatigue/exhaustion,  I had the "gift from God" of doing a serious leg injury that was, just as it was making progress, followed by yet another one with the other leg (because I'd been relying on it for too long).  The nature of the exhaustion kind of changed in some ways, but not others.  Now the demands of getting the large muscles back to reasonably normal meant making demands on the system (look up a PBS work-out program (TAPP) for people dealing with exhaustion/compromised adrenal "system". 

The leg issues meant being trapped in the house, and where I live can mean the same thing when the weather makes it impossible to walk on roads that aren't designed for pedestrians.

Too much unrelenting, extreme, and/or varied types of stress for too long can men a person needs more sugar and/or salt in order to feel like they can function OK.  Even if they can generally function OK, or appear to be, it can mean a) not being entirely and/or always able to concentrate.  Aside from what the body requires by sometimes showing up in the form of cravings; even without any particular craving (like those days when I had fierce, fierce, salt cravings - which aren't the case any longer).

Several years into some degrees/types of stress that go on for too long can amount to a situation where a person who does physical activity beyond what his system can handle can result in (besides whatever else) a weird kind of anxiety that involves a weird kind of getting shaky (even when there's nothing in particular on the person's mind that would bring on anxiety).  Separate from physical demands, mental demands can seem to turn into physical ones (in ways I won't describe here), and if it all goes on long enough (and without at least a little time in-between for "breaks"; a person can feel like he's getting to yet another level of exhaustion that starts to  involved a number of different types of "saturation points" (my description of them) that can either feel physical, feel emotional, or just feel "plain, old, intellectual-level only").

Not seeing some causes of anger adequately addressed by the right people (like court people out-and-out admitting a failure and doing whatever can be done to make things right, for example) can mean a person needs "extra mental energy" (and a solid, well adjusted, nature and level of maturity) to control that anger.  OR, if the person is someone who doesn't know who to be angry at, wouldn't act on it anyway (at least not outside legal or moral means), and certainly has no plans to harm himself; that blend of needing an outlet for the anger and having to find a way to cool it down poses its own, additional, demands.

The "rules of what is healthy" and "rules of what are positive things to do" don't/can't apply to the person for whom the answers don't lie in places like gyms and/or in things like socializing and/or eating healthy vegetables.

If one looks up "adrenal fatigue" or "adrenal exhaustion" one may find the equivalent of a snake-oil sales-looking page of supplements (that lead people to think that "everyone can get adrenal fatigue some time".  Or, one may find tons of information about treating adrenal fatigue (get rid of the stress, rest, eat healthy foods, avoid caffeine  and sugar, etc. etc.)

Not everyone can "just" remove them-self from unrelenting, long-term,  serious, serious, stress that acts as the backdrop/foundation for everything else that's going on (good, bad, or otherwise) with/in a person's life and that his family (particularly children).  To be someone in that kind of have situation and have some "clown" think that going out for a run (or whatever) or "meeting new people" (as if a grown-up and parent give a rat's when they have that kind of thing going on) is "what you should do"  isn't just infuriating and isolating.  It would seem laughable if it weren't so uninformed.

I'm not calling anyone who has already posted on this thread, "a clown".   The "usual rules" generally apply to most people most of the time.  These days there's better information about adrenal exhaustion than was, say, a handful of years ago.  My thing is that before anyone thinks he has any advice to give anyone else, that person ought to consider the possibility that the other person may be dealing with things that the "advice-giver" may never in his life ever face; and be careful about who give advice to about what.

As I've written this big rant it's been a matter of my having been trapped in the house for enough days that I haven't been able to get enough of what I need to "get myself to OK" enough to be able to act/write like a non ranting-lunatic.  Having exercised more than was a good idea in recent days means not only "getting a muscle deal" going on that makes me more demands on my system; but has also meant needing a little more sugar than I'd ordinarily need.  (Apparently, salt is, maybe, more for "mental stress").  Anyway, having figured out that I shouldn't have divided my one candy bar that I had into halves (because that means not EVER really getting what I needed out of it); I decided yesterday when someone nice enough to bring me a candy bar to eat the whole thing.  That did the job yesterday.  Today, however, when the time came that I became aware of being in low-blood-sugar" too long, while peanut-butter helped some, as did the later addition of a little less than a teaspoon of honey; I'm not where I need to be "mentally", and I sure as heck had better not do yet more physical activity/exercise unless/until I get to a "place" (mentally) where I'm mainly OK "mentally" (it's not like I live in constant, immediate, new, upheaval-stress), and ready to once again start to gradually build up the physical activity.

These days I've worked my way past any number of times when exhaustion was more of a factor than I'd choose to allow it to be.  I'm generally and normally OK most of the time, but without a license my choice is either be trapped at home or go out doing a ridiculous walk to some very limited choices of places.  That, and the fact that (while I certainly am not going to starve to death, or be allowed to starve to death by relatives/friends) I can't get enough of exactly what I need trapped at home, and going out means making yet more physical/mental demands that I can only sometimes afford (depending on the day, how much activity I've done (physically, mentally) the day or two before, the weather, etc. etc.).

I could have turned all this into a Hub, but I have reasons for not wanting to.  I'm more interested in "contributing to a real-time discussion" here - and, ideally, one that doesn't involve spammers and/or advice-givers for whom life is fairly simple and the rules that hear/read from others are just what they accept without question.

Waiting Waiting Waiting

Well, as skilled as I am with doing with less and less; over recent days I've been trapped without my driver's license in the house; which means not being able to get what I need in order to really feel like I'm functioning the way I usually do.   Although since I've had the "exhaustion thing" I've called it "operating on fewer than my usual eight cylinders", over the last few days it's becoming clear that without being able to get what I need to have in order to keep up my energy/concentration level, I'm coming to a stop.  Basically, when a person has some types of exhaustion it means "artificially" hiking up the "energy level" with things like sugar and a couple of other perfectly legal substances (not alcohol or prescription drugs, by the way).

I don't need a lot of anything.  I just need what I need to function as my usual self after  years of fighting off exhaustion (living with it, not fighting it off).  I have a freezer full of vegetables and some other vegetables around, and I have bread and saltines.  So, I won't starve to death.  Starches aren't what I need.  

So, I guess I'm going to just sit here and wait for "good fairy" , because I don't have what I need to beable to write, haven't for several days now, am looking at when, exactly, I should eat my one egg (and whether I should "waste" the bread to eat the egg as a sandwich.

None of it matters because hunger isn't my problem.   It's the "energy level" thing, and I haven't consistently had what I need for that for quite some time, and a couple of days of having what I need and then not means spending another two or three days of getting over the first day of "not".

That means needing more than I'd otherwise have.  Now that I know I apparently need to plan for large numbers of days without having what I need I'll do things differently the next time I do my "main" shopping.

For now I'm waiting - waiting for someone else to make their move, I guess.   There's only so much I can say on the Internet, so go ahead, "whoever".   Make your move. 

In the meantime, I'm here - not having what I need to be able to write and generally be myself, so I'm waiting.  Somebody, whoever needs to, make your MOVE.

The problem, too, with not having one particular thing that I need (but won't mention online but people who know me know what it is) is that it is more and more difficult for me to stop myself from going online and being far more honest than I, or anyone else, would think is wise.

I'm not "the manifesto type", so I'll stop.  There's so much I'd like to say but won't because it wouldn't reflect well on me.  No, it would reflect well on me.  It just wouldn't be very safe for me to do, considering some things that have gone.

So anyway, I'm waiting and waiting, and until something goes on I'll be here not doing anything and still waiting.  I'll most likely be fine.  I always am.  I'm more interested in seeing what move someone else makes.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

When You're Tired Of Things (In Your Offline/Real Life OR On The Internet It Can Be Good To Get Your Mind On Something Light, "Fluffy" And/Or Generally Not Heavy And Depressing

The title of this post, as well the content in it, pretty much says it why I a) wrote the thing to which I'm posting a link here, and b) decided to write this post at all.  The image I've used is one that happened to be handy for me (as I said, I've been operating in a kind of tired/lazy mode recently), and I have no idea who the guy singing is.  I just liked his rendition of the song.

In any case, this is a "Hub" (I put that in quotes because not everyone knows what a "Hub" is, at least5 as it's used on HubPages.) I wrote last night as I was trying to think up a less fluffy kind of thing of thing to write.

"Where-Exactly-Is-Our-Soul-Just-A-Personal-Opinion" (Someone Online Asked. I Tried To Answer - As If They Care About My Thoughts On The Matter....

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

One picture may be worth a thousand words.  Sometimes, however, one picture is just a kind of cheerful space-saver/place-holder at those times when one doesn't have a post worth posting.

Don't Say "Twitter" Around Me

Someone on another site asked if anyone uses Twitter.  I'm not in a great mood anyway, which means that venting about how useless I, personally, find Twitter gave my not-great mood an outlet for itself.  I'm a live-and-let-live person, and I understand that people have their own reasons for using a site like Twitter (or "socializing", and I use the term lightly) on the Internet.  BUT, there's the what we understand and try to respect, and then there's what we, personally, think about something.  My thoughts below are what I, personally, personally think about Twitter (at least for now - although I haven't changed my thinking about it in - what? - several years).

 Like so many other people, I set up an account "just in case".  I go there - like - every year or two (I think) and post a few things that have nothing to do with me but that are, at least, less than a couple of years old.  I don't "get" following celebrities or anyone else because they have their websites (I'm assuming). I hate the whole look and "atmosphere" of Twitter, and the word "HASHTAG" makes me sick.  I HATE it!!!!  Basically, I have no interest in big, giant, messes of what looks like nothing to me.  I'd close the account but I reserve the right to change my mind about what I see now as the useless of Twitter, and b) it isn't bothering anyone, I don't think.  Last I looked I had nine or ten "followers" who/that didn't give a rat's about anything but wildly hoping to get reciprocal followers by following.  I pretty much severely limit my own exposure to anything "social" on the Internet.  I refuse to pretend to be interested in people or things that I'm just not.  I know there are people who follow businesses for things like coupons (or whatever - that type of thing).  I'm all about "don't send me stuff, I don't want anything showing up in any "feeds", don't send me links that you think I might like (because most likely you don't have a clue about what I'm interested in at any moment.  If I want something I want to look for it myself.  I'm not lazy, know where to look, and don't have to be assaulted by a world of stuff I don't want by having stuff "fed".

When it comes down to it (and not-great mood or not, although the Internet and culture can be enough to make anyone's not-great mood even more "not-great"), anything that strikes me as a major case of sheep/following "everyone else" is something that kind of bugs me right from the start.

One of the reasons I spend more time doing things other than writing is that, little by little, I've been trying to really weed out what's "connected" and what isn't.  As I said, my Twitter page isn't bothering anyone (not even me). 

Not-great mood that I'm in, and realistic as I am about whether anyone is even going to find this particular blog post, I'm not going to post a link to my Twitter page.  It's truly nothing.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

On "Over-Parenting" and What Can Appear to be "Helicopter-Parent" Behavior - But May Not Be

On "Over-Parenting" and "Helicopter Parents"

Note:  This post is long and kind of strangely structured.  That's because I went looking through the "Answers" (questions, actually) section of HubPages for ideas on something to write about.  One question caught my eye, but it was oddly worded in a kind of "all-expansive" way (which, of course, meant my trying to come up with some kind of "all-expansive-ish" reply that, ideally, would still have a certain degree of structure.

I wrote the thing as a "Hub" on there but then decided (for a couple of different reasons) not to inflict their site with something I just saw as "more unstructured blah-blah".  More on HubPages, "blah-blah", and saturation points (to which I haven't even referred in this "note" in future (very near future) posts.

In any case (and for what it is/isn't worth), here's the Hub that decided was better suited to a dumping ground (which is, of course, this blog). 

Oops.  Hold on.  I may have (at least temporarily) changed my mind about where to post the thing.  It will either be on here on there, and if it's there I'll post a link. 

(Update):  I ended up posting my thoughts on the matter on HubPages, rather than here.  I decided not to post a link because - I need to face it - I don't feel good about what just strikes me as "yet another bunch of casual 'blah-blah'".  I've been in the process of "de-emphasizing" years' worth of my casual writing.  I can't see trying to "re-emphasize" yet more of the same kind of writing.

Ishould re-title and re-label this post, and I probably will when I'm not tired.  For now, I'm tired.  I wrote that 1900-plus-word Hub yesterday, and then a 1000-word,  kind of related, follow-up Hub later night.  The pictures on both are mine, but I had to dig them up and do a little (very little) art work to them in order for them to be right for the Hubs (almost, but not quite, the same).

As I've said somewhere else (or here - I don't know...), writing "blah blah" is what I do when I want to get away from either other work or some things about life-in-general.  It's more productive than, say, watching television AND it's more energizing for the exhausted person.   It doesn't mean I'm particularly proud of what looks like cr*p, blah-blah" to me (because it pretty much is).

I suppose this is my not-so-subtle way of wanting to, at least to some extent, express that I'm pretty exhausted while also making it out-and-out plain to see that the "Energizer Bunny" part of me  may not doing nineteen- and twenty- hour days these days, I can still whip up a few thousand words off the top of my head if I want to (or whatever that's worth or not worth to anyone who cares or doesn't care).  

In any case, I'll probably end up taking those two new "contributions" off HubPages in the near future (unless something goes on with the site that leads me to think that casual "blah blah" is OK with them (no, not just "OK" - encouraged by them).  For now, with the changes going on, who knows....

On third thought:   I added the link.  It's in pink below the post title.  (One of these days I need to change the size of links on here.) 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Neither Writing Nor A Note, Really

"Flower Art" (By ME)

This is neither writing nor a note (at least not the kind of note referred to in the title), but after having an early (but truly) Spring-like day recently, and with another one expected tomorrow, I just thought it was time to post something less dreary than my March 5 post.

Kindness and Bullying

As I was checking out my daughter's Facebook page I saw a post and a video about kindness.  I was going to make a comment there, but it turns out I have more to say about kindness than, really, would have seemed appropriate on someone else's Facebook page.  Maybe because I don't do much on Facebook (other than to check out a few other people's pages), I don't know how Facebook is really supposed to work...

In any case, here's some thoughts on the subject of kindness:

Some people treat kindness as something they choose to exercise (or not be), "depending"... (on their mood, on whether they deem someone/something worth being treated with kindness, on how much time they have, and on any number of other things). That may be better than no kindness at all, I suppose; but even better is when kind isn't how you act, but how you are by nature (no "depending" involved and never a question of choosing or not-choosing to be kind) - whether towards someone/something and whether in their presence or not.   The reward (when you ARE kind and aren't just "acting kind this time" is discovering that even with whatever flaws you have, you like the person you are - and nobody can take that away from you :)
One of the reasons I didn't want to post these thoughts on my daughter's Facebook page is that, because the comment started to run so long I didn't want it to come across as a lecture from Mom.  It wasn't that I didn't think my daughter would understand that it wasn't a "lecture".  More, I didn't want to risk appearing to be lecturing any of her Facebook friends who are closer to her age.  (When y ou have grown sons or daughters you can be particularly sensitive to a) not wanting to lecture them "at that age", and b) not even wanting to APPEAR to be.   :?

Back to the subject at hand.  The thing about being a kind person is that it is a gift we get from our parents (if we're lucky); and it's a gift we get to keep forever (that as long as "the world" doesn't manage to convince us that being kind has to equal being weak and/or stupid).  The world is certainly full of people who would have us believe that being kind is for four-year-olds who haven't learned to outgrow such an "immature" thing.

The irony of it, however, is that another gift we get from parents is inner strength and sureness.  So, when "the world" (or someone in it) tries to "smarten us up" by convincing us that being kind is also being weak or kind of stupid,  it is that inner strength and sureness make us resist the misguided thinking of others and know, in our hearts, that kindness does, indeed, go hand-in-hand with strength.

It's unfortunate that in a world in which so many people truly believe that strength cannot go with kindness, those same people can be more prone to feel a little freer to attack the person they perceive as strong and having "backbone".  ("After all, someone who acts strong can't possibly have a very soft heart." or else, "After all, this person is obviously a kind person.  If s/he is showing such strength and backbone s/he has no right to be acting that way.")

I've asked myself if it's worse for women, and maybe it often is.  Still, kind men must deal with the same kind of thinking.  Maybe it's worse for children.  Maybe, on the other hand, it's worse for frail-looking elderly people who have been long known as kind but who find themselves in circumstances that require they demonstrate their strength and backbone.

It's not that there aren't plenty of people who understand that kindness doesn't equal weakness or stupidity (or immaturity).  Some of the most mature and kind and strong people I have known have been children who choose to try to understand someone else rather than judge them.  So, yes, there are plenty of people who know that kindness is not weakness.  There are still far too many, however, who just didn't have the inner strength, backbone, and understanding of human nature to have managed to stand up to the world's challenges to, and attitudes about, kindness - only to find themselves liking themselves a little (or a lot) less at their core.

The thing about liking who we are at the core (whether or not we like one or another thing about what's on the outside or what we're surrounded by or anything else external) is when we like who/what we are at the core we also tend to like pretty much everyone else as a starting point.  (I don't mean blindly believing that everyone in the subway station is a fine, upstanding, citizen.  I mean "in general" and "within good sense and reason".)

I could go on and on about all the ways in which people either don't understand truly being a kind person at all, or else the ways in which so many people assume that kindness is a sign of weakness and/or stupidity.  My main point here (particularly after recently running into a discussion about kids being bullied in school) is that I don't really think it's enough to try to teach children to "act kind".  Aiming to a) show them kindness, and b) help them truly understand what kindness IS and what it  ISN'T may be the only real way to address bullying.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

"Suffragette" (The Recent Movie)

Last night I finally got to see "Suffragette", the recent movie about women's fight for the right to vote in London.  The film started out set in 1912.  I don't know how many years were/weren't covered during the movie, but women still didn't have the right to vote there at the end of the movie.

In the United States women gained the right to vote one year after my mother was born.  Since this post isn't really about women's right to vote and is, instead, about the nicely done (in my opinion) movie, "Suffragette", I'm not going to get more into the right-to-vote thing here.

After seeing the movie, however, it occurred to me that this is a movie I'd hope today's middle- and/or secondary-school students see (and in the U.S.).  Maybe many have.  It's been quite awhile since I've had any children of school age.  Of course, at this point in history, I'm not particularly thrilled with the idea of using things like setting fires or breaking windows as a way of trying to accomplish the aims of a movement.  The movie was careful to include some lines that would let the viewer know (or make the viewer think) that the intent of the women in the movie was to try not to cause physical injury to people.  If it were shown to students I imagine there could be discussion about that aspect of things.

As I was thinking about how I thought this was a movie that today's students need to see, I realized that my main reason for that was the usual one that people have when they think today's young people need to see something.  That was in thinking that, regardless of the movement, young people need to know how much struggle past generations went through in order to get to where it's so easy to take some things for granted.  Complacency isn't a good thing, needless to say; and having been born not too long after WWII, I, like so many others of my generation, am not all that comfortable noticing that so many relatively (relatively) recent events continue to move farther and farther into "that-was-then/this-is-now" past (that no one needs to think a whole lot about now).

It was a good movie, I thought.  I knew going in that something set in that time wasn't likely to be a "knee-slapper" (needless to say).  I knew that the phrase, "sucks the life out of you", was likely to come to my mind.  Rate PG13, it doesn't have anything in it that I don't think young people should see.  in fact, the violence is still pretty much "nothing" compared to some of the stuff young people are exposed to today.

As I thought about kids' seeing the movie I wondered if, maybe, many of them would find it a lot less "life-sucking" than I did, mainly because I've always been aware of how my mother arrived into the world only a little sooner than she would have had to have been in order to be born into a world in which women already took for granted their right to vote.  I don't know....

Having, myself, been born late enough to have never used a clothes line and never known life without television, I wondered if the movie's heavy emphasis on women (and others) working in a "big laundry sweat-shop type of place" made someone who was a child in the 1950's/1960's feel so knocked out a fairly modern-era sheltered-ness that it was just kind of depressing.

My grandparents were born in the 1880's.  I didn't know either grandmother, but I knew both grandfathers (and still had one living until I was in my late teens). That meant I was close enough to stories of how things were at the beginning of the twentieth century (and just before it) that some things in that movie did "sound familiar" (as they say).

In my mind I fast-forwarded to my own generation and the Women's Movement in the 1960's and then into the 70's.  I thought about how even though, in some ways, the Movement of that era could be kind of misguided; it was the era that ushered in a kind of progress (yes, progress) for girls and women that would make not having the right to vote seem unimaginable (and maybe even barely worth giving a thought to so late in history, at least in the history of so many countries).

But, there are rights on paper and in laws, which, while (needless to say) a good thing; then there are those things in human nature that make one person or group more prone to trying to oppress another person or group.  While laws and rights are so much better than no-rights and no-laws, not only do they do little in situations not covered by them, but they have also, in some ways and some circumstances, only driven some oppressive/misguided/aggressive thinking "underground".

That, I think, is the most depressing thing about the subject of rights and equality.  Young kids in school today are generally kids born into a world where so many rights and laws have made so many things better for them and their future.  I don't want to be as depressing as that movie was, and I kind of hate to say this; but for all the ways in which things are better for girls and women today, and all the ways in which laws and rights have contributed to things being so much better; the world may well become far less their "oyster" if they grow up and find themselves in situations where nobody gives "a rat's" about their rights or laws, where people still think that women are one, big, club that "all that thinks alike", and where women who "have the nerve" to expect to be seen and treated as equals had better be ready for any number of people who will try to put her in her place.

Before I started to write this I took a quick look for what's out there about this movie, and I ran into things about how it's only within the last (very) few years that women have had the right to vote in some countries.  I'm not minimizing the right-to-vote thing or the fact that not all countries have been as "enlightened" as the U.S. has been for over a hundred years now.

People in the U.S. have to be careful, however, not to be too "thrilled with itself" that women have at least had the right to vote for so long and/or that there are now laws aimed at protecting against discrimination and prejudice; because while I certainly don't minimize the right-to-vote thing (and a number of other rights/laws), the thing about aggression and oppression is that when driven "underground" they aren't seen - and I'm guessing you know what they say about unseen enemies

What A Bunch of Junk...

So much of my online writing is junk, and yet there are reasons I haven't just deleted all the junk (yet).  One reason I have so much "blah blah"/junk-writing is that I'd signed up with so many "writing sites" that made a big deal about how they were written by (my term) "any-old-body", and they told people to write about what they knew about.

With a few of those sites I'd go looking for something like a question or a title and then see what I came up with.  I stayed away from subjects I didn't think I had any business offering my thoughts on, and I'd look for subjects that I could "answer" (or just write about) as if I were having a conversation with a friend.  The thing was, however, that while I certainly aimed to try to offer what I thought was reasonably solid input on the subject/question, I had this thing that whoever or whatever posted the "idea" wasn't necessarily going to stay around to see any replies.  So, I kind of wildly wrote my one-sided input to these discussions only partially believing that anyone was going to actually read what I wrote.  Some things came out better than others (usually depending on the subject and/or my approach to it).  While I actually did (as Google has put it) "write for reader" I didn't entirely always believe there would actually be a reader.  Basically, all these little elements to the making of any piece of writing meant the result was often half-baked (or something like that, and in one way or another).

It was merciful when so many of those "writing sites" closed down.  My mistake was that most offered users/members the chance to copy all their stuff before the site shut down, and I did that. That meant I had a bunch of stuff and no site to post it on, so it seemed (at the time) to make sense to re-post that stuff on a blog of my own.  That was then.  This is now.  Even with that, however, a huge number of those things I saved aren't going to ever be  posted anywhere again.

Many were, though, and I'm not someone who can have stuff anywhere and not worry about what it looks like to anyone who finds it.  (I've done what I can do to minimize the number of people who may find this stuff, but as long as it's where I can get to it I'm not able to just tell myself that it doesn't matter and then not worry about it.)

It doesn't matter, and yet if I notice that one page or another has nothing on it since, say, four or five yeas ago (or more) I can't help but at least do an "update note" because, again, that's just the kind of person I am (and regardless of whether anyone even sees the thing).

Although I have some things I've written that aren't, I don't think, "blah blah junk", I don't post them because I have ideas about where I'll post them.  Then again, the conflict between whether I ever want to post anything anywhere any more and wanting to post something (somewhere) that isn't "blah blah junk" goes on.

In view of the availability of blogs (namely, this one now) I don't necessarily mind having one place on which to post whatever I feel like posting (and as infrequently as I feel like posting anything).  It's the big-mess element to what I have online that bothers me.

Earlier today I wrote (yet) another big, long, "blah blah junk" thing.  What's more, when I finished writing THAT one I wrote (again, yet) another one (but decided not to post it after all)
I have to kind of laugh as I think, "Someone, stop me!"

The whole problem is really that I'm often fighting off "an exhaustion thing" (for reasons I won't go into here).  So, that means that don't have the energy it takes to put together some of the things I have in mind for writing (that I think - no, know - are fairly worthwhile).  They're subjects I take seriously and will not write about unless/until I have the energy to do them well.  In some cases they're subjects that involve quite a bit of sorting out before even starting to approach them.  As I said, I'm fighting off some "exhaustion thing" and not really up to approaching the more serious (and less embarrassing) material.

So, I live with ever-present urge to delete all this "blah blah junk" stuff and start clean (or not start again online at all).  But, there are those reasons that I don't yet feel comfortable deleting everything quite yet; and while I'd very much just like to write about those reasons I don't feel comfortable doing that either.

Hmm.  Maybe I changed my mind about that second bout of "blah blah junk" that I wrote earlier today and will post it after all.

Years ago I wrote a little verse, 'That Thing I Need To Write".  It occurs to me tonight that, maybe instead of yet more "blah blah junk" posts I should maybe write a new verse, "All The Things I Wish I Hadn't Felt Compelled To Write"; or maybe I should write a proper but standard web article about why writers shouldn't listen to anyone who says (essentially) "write anything".

For now, let me go find that second "blah blah junk" post that I didn't post.

A Video-Inspired Rant - Videos, Images, And Other Screen- Or Page-Fillers

A little while ago I ran into an ad online that kind of interested me.  It was about heart attacks, so I kind of assumed it was a public-service type of thing.  The thing that caught my eye was that they showed the side of a foot that looked like it had some kind of "vein issue".  (I'm working on a little laptop that's plopped atop my desktop, for reasons that aren't important here.  Anyway, I couldn't really see the picture very well, but I'm guessing it was some kind of "vein thing".)

It caught my eye because I've noticed that I've got some "vein-looking issues" not far my ankle on the leg that I injured awhile back.  It's not as if I'm loaded with "vein-looking issues".  This one happens to be on a leg that I injured awhile back, and because of that the leg has spent a lot of time not-exercising enough.  I'm not thrilled with the "vein-looking thing".  I'll get it checked out sometime, but it doesn't bother me.  And, I'm now able to exercise again.  In the meantime (and for quite some time), it's kind of been eating away at me, even in mostly in the back of my mind (sort of).

So I saw the ad.  It's not like I'm not already familiar with signs of, risks of or causes of heart attacks.  But, I figured I'd click on the thing just because there was the slim chance it offered something new. 

When I did there was a video and a line that told people to make sure their sound was on.  I did the same thing I always do when I think I'm going to get information in the form of written/printed words and instead get a video:  I immediately clicked off.  If I'm looking for something (information, entertainment, whatever) in the form of a video I'll go to YouTube.  Most of the time I'm not looking for any kind of video at all, so I pretty much don't go to YouTube much at all either.

I realize that video stuff is good for people who either like video stuff or else can't, won't, read; but I'm someone who reads and is only happy getting information by reading words.  And, if it happens that I'm watching television and hoping to gain information, I'm not looking for pictures and graphics and a whole bunch of other stuff.  If the words can't be, or aren't, in the form of writing then I pefer words in the form of someone's just, say, sitting at a desk or table and talking.  That lets me just leave the sound on the television and listen to the words.

I know that there's a time and place for SOME videos.  Once when I didn't know how to get the back of a cell phone I went looking on YouTube and found brief and simple video that meant I didn't have to try to figure out how to get the user manual.  The difference between that and, say, an ad, is, however (at least for me), that I went looking for something specific with the cell-phone thing.  With this ad (or public-service thing or whatever it was) I was expecting words (maybe not a whole, big, written bunch of words - but words).

The same kind of thing happens with me when I go looking for a news story.  Some places offer the option of seeing a video OR reading the story.  Some only offer the video.  If I'm looking for words and only get a video I just get "mean".

Again, I know there are SOME times and SOME places for pictures, but I'm a word person.    I'll admit to having some resentment toward people who seem to want or need to draw a picture when one just isn't necessary (or shouldn't be).  I'll admit, after about ten years of hanging around the Internet (mostly "writing sites" if I'm not doing something more serious than hanging around in my free time), I've had resentment from the days when "everyone" said that "nobody reads" and "nobody cares about grammar any more".  I'll admit being sick of seeing pictures for the sake of pictures on things like news features that only need pictures because there's television (or other screen) to fill and "make appealing".

I'll also admit to resenting things like grade-school-looking little brochures from, for example, health-insurance companies/groups that a) use pictures when pictures shouldn't be necessary, b) spend whatever money is spent on colorful little (or big) brochures that could have offered the information in black-and-white (and fewer glossy pages).  (As with videos, there's a time and place for glossy pages, and it isn't, as far as I'm concerned, EVERYWHERE - at least not for grown-ups.)  (Once in fairly recent times I saw one of those little pamphlets from a health-insurance outfit; and if big, colorful, print and images weren't enough, these people actually followed a reference to urine with, in parentheses, the slang term, "pee" - apparently for any adults who, since they've become old enough to be getting such booklets, haven't figured out what "urine" means.  And, I'm sorry, if someone thought that was aimed at those whose first language is not English the maybe they need to look up "urine", or ask someone, what it means.)

There's a time and place for images (and minimal, big-font, words that most often accompany them), just as there is for videos.  But, in a time when "everyone" talks about the dumbing down of America while also wondering why so many people are angry ("mean" for those of us secure enough with the language to be a little silly with word choice), I'm convinced that at least some substantial part of the problem lies with the underestimation of America.

For now, I'm just going to have to keep assuming that the "vein-looking situation" near my ankle is not a big problem, exercise more (now that I can), and stay away (as much is realistic) from Internet ads and sites that would have us believe that "nobody reads any more" and/or "people only want videos and pictures".  "Vein-looking thing" or no "vein-looking thing",  I don't need to feel as if my blood pressure is going up every time I'm reminded that the reason so many people think that "nobody reads" is that those of us who would like to can have such trouble finding something aimed at us.

In the scheme of "all of life and history", the Internet is still a pretty new thing.  Those of us who got involved with it in the days of "write anything, and if it's at all useful someone may read it" have, over the years, been told, more and more, to add stuff like images and videos and "whatever else" to what we write.  I'd like to turn that around and say, "Hey, you people who post scant words and/or a video, how about adding some words!"  I, personally, don't want to click on what I think is either an ad or a public-service type of thing, and get one video on a page and the words, "Make sure your sound is turned on."

Trying To Control Other People - Why Do Some People Do That?

(transfer post, previously published on HubPages, as a Hub in reply to question in HP's "Answers" section)

 Controlling Other People - Why Do Some People Try to Do That?

Observations and remarks on people who try to control others in relationships (and the negative consequences of doing so).

A Look at Controlling and Relationships

The question, "Why do people want to try to control other people?" is one that may be asked by someone who is simply curious, someone who has been the victim of a another person with a genuinely controlling personality, or someone who sees another person's behavior/beliefs as a "wish to control others" when, in fact, it is something else completely. In other words, this is a question that has built into it a lot of "colors" that mean addressing it requires a multi-faceted answer. In other words, while there are certainly people who have a wish to control one or more other people, the matter of why they do can range from something as reasonably understandable as having a tendency/personality that leans towards over-estimating a two-year-old's need to have some degree of control over his own body/actions to the most demented forms of wanting control which are components of crimes such as child abuse and rape.

It is not the aim here to address the sickest degree of wanting control that could be said to "fall at the high end of wanting control spectrum", because when the question about people want to control others arises it usually isn't about disturbed criminals. It's usually about the common interactions between parents and kids, spouses, partners, colleagues, and/or lawmakers who are seen as over-stepping boundaries and limiting the freedoms of others.


The fact is that in normal, day-to-day, interactions we run into people who do have controlling personalities. Again, emphasizing that what looks like a controlling personality and what really is that are not always the same thing, genuinely controlling personalities can range from mild to extreme. Compared to the relationship between two people with non-controlling personalities; in the relationship when one person is more controlling, one person often has a dominant nature or else a wish to dominate the other person/people. In other words, the wish to control someone else even when no physical attack/force is used) is generally a matter of being more aggressive (except in situations where parents try to exercise more control than may be appropriate, in which case they may not be aggressive, but instead simply misjudge the appropriateness of the degree of control they believe parents should exercise over children).

In adults who have controlling personalities, accompanying some degree of being more aggressive is often a sense of being very intelligent and/or generally capable. This is not to imply that people who know they are intelligent and/or capable always have controlling personalities because, quite simply they don't. In fact, people who have the "right kind" of intelligence (the kind associated with a solid understanding of people) are usually "smart" enough to know that they have no right to attempt to control others. Although this is based purely on speculation, there is at least the possibility that it is degree of aggressiveness that may (at least in come cases of controlling personalities) make the difference between being intelligent/capable AND controlling and being "merely intelligent/capable" without also being controlling.

People who have lived their lives, knowing that they are intelligent/capable, often come to see themselves as superior to (what seems to them) the large number of others who are less intelligent/capable. Sometimes people build their own self-image on some fairly isolated aspects of their own life. For example, the person who enjoyed a reputation as the "smartest kid in school" (perhaps because s/he was the class "math wiz", in addition to generally getting high grades in school) may tend to build his self-image on that. This may be a person who has below-average intelligence in the area of understanding human nature or social skills, but he may not realize that his form of intelligence is not the only form. Therefore, he comes to see himself as "smarter than most other people". Another example of how capability can be something on which a person may build an inflated self-esteem may be the person who is the only one of his many siblings to own a home, the only or first one in his family to graduate college, or "the one" in the family who is known for managing his money well.

How much a person comes to see his own level of capability as reason for feeling superior to other people can also depend on his values. The person who places inappropriate value on being older than someone else may see that as reason to feel superior. People who think that only young people "know anything" may think they are superior to people who are older. There are any number of things in life that can make some people see themselves are being more capable than others; and unless they are fairly free of aggressive tendencies, that can lead them to think they have a right to want to control others.

Some people, of course, aren't people to try to control anyone other than those close to them. That is often because many people confuse love with control; and, in fact, there can be an unhealthy tendency to objectify loved ones and believe their is ownership of them.

Just as it is known that some children in a multi-sibling home can be singled out for abuse, some women may be "more the type" to become the targets of attempts of others to control them. Even boys and men with softer appearance/demeanor and/or youthful appearances may have to struggle more others' attempts to be controlling. People who "seem young" or "seem soft" because of their appearance but who, in fact, are mature, independent, and strong in their thinking may be seen by those with a controlling nature as "out of line" in their belief that someone has no right to control over them.

While being controlling is certainly not the exclusive domain of men, and while there are certainly men who are well adjusted and not "out to control everyone else", many fathers, husbands, boyfriends, and even older brothers are guilty of believing they have a right to control younger people, elderly people, and (especially) female people. At the same time, most of us have worked with a female, co-worker who operates as a "control freak". Many of us, too, know some very young girls who attempt to control others (or at least the situation) through manipulation.

In general, when it comes to people who are genuinely and inappropriately controlling, there are the elements of "ego issues" and degrees of aggressive personalities. Many attempt to "appoint themselves everyone else's/someone else's parent", regardless of whether they are someone's parent or whether their child has outgrown the need to be "parented".

(On a personal note, many of the "control-freak" people I've met in my own life are generally decent, loving, people with an over-inflated sense of their own importance; and without, apparently, having had parents who sufficiently pointed out the equal importance/value/capability of other people when they were kids.)


There may be two different groups of people who fall under this category. The first are often well adjusted, loving, parents who exercise (or try to exercise) some degree of control over what children do. Their motives are simple (and even pure): They want what is best for their children and know that parents must, at times, exercise some degree of control.

The fact is parents do need to have some degree of control in their relationships with their children, and one of the biggest challenges between parents and kids is often how much control is correct/appropriate at any given time at any given child's stage of development. In general, there are some generally accepted guidelines with regard to how much control parents should have over children, but within those rough guidelines there is a lot of room for individual differences. For example, most people agree that allowing a two-year-old to wear lipstick (except for Halloween) is grossly inappropriate, but not everyone agrees about whether, when, were, or even what color lipstick a thirteen-year-old should wear. The ten-year-old who thinks she should be wearing lipstick to school may think her parents are "too controlling" if they "make an issue" out of this. Most people (at least those mature enough to see all the possible consequences) would agree that this kid who wants to do something "ridiculous" and "inappropriate. If the same girl's parents "make an issue" out of lipstick four years later many of those same people would see them as "a little too controlling".

Good parents will "control" the three-year-old who will run into the street by holding his hand. Good parents will tell a ten-year-old he can't watch television until his homework his done. On the other hand, parents who are a little too controlling may expect their child to eat more than he feels like eating, or to eat foods he hates. Parents who are too controlling may not allow their child to have a phone conversation without wanting to hear it.

To further muddy the matter of parents and control, however, are individual differences among kids. The seventh-grader who is simply having conversations with his friends online wouldn't warrant parental "spying", while the seventh-grader who is believed by parents to be "dabbling" in drugs may call for more parental vigilance (and, yes, even control). Both the three-year-old, whose parents grabbed his hand rather than allowing him to run into the street as he wanted; and the twelve-year-old who has taken what could be the first steps down a destructive path; will resent parents' taking steps to control their activities. Neither is mature enough to see the potential dangers, but no good parent (even the one without a controlling cell in his body) would sit back and allow his child to head for disaster.

The control issue becomes a bigger one when kids are teens (or even in their early twenties) because it is so obvious that they aren't three years old any longer. Although some parents (the ones with "control issues") may try to control their older kids more than is appropriate, much of the time what looks like a wish to control older kids simply is not that. Often, the conflict arises because young people are - quite simply - young. Their brains have not reached complete maturity. (A PBS special on the teen brain pointed out that the prefrontal cortex does reach full maturity until "early- to mid-twenties".) The exact extent to which that contributes to any one young person's belief that nothing bad is going to happen to him may not be clear; because sometimes even adults who have not seen enough "bad things" happen to them have a similar innocence (less politely - aka, "stupidity").

When a sixteen-year-old's parents won't let him take the car out nights it isn't always that they are controlling people. They may be among the least controlling people in the world, but they may know the risk of letting inexperienced drivers have too much freedom with cars. They may, for example, just want their child to get some limited driving experience before allowing him carte blanche with the car. They may think, too, that limiting the car until he reaches the "legal" age of eighteen may build in a period of gaining experience before having absolute freedom. The teen (particularly the one with friends who have unlimited use of a car) may see his parents as "controlling". What he can't see is that those same parents will see things very differently once he is just a little older.

The fact is that normal parents love their kids in a way that only other parents can understand. Besides their desire to be good, solid, responsible, parents; most parents are absolutely terrified that their son or daughter (out of nothing more "evil" than the simple "innocence" of youth) will make a mistake that destroys their future, or even ends, their life before they ever get to really live it.

Even when parents are more than aware that their son or daughter is grown-up (but hasn't been grown up for very long) and are more than aware that they have no right to attempt to control them, they may still appear to be trying to control them (at least in the eyes of the freshly grown-up person of 18 or even 23) when they continue to try to influence them. Essentially, if a young adult is willing to allow his parents' preferences to determine his decisions he is likely to feel that his parents still have control over him. At the same time, the young person who doesn't allow his parents' preferences/urgings change his behavior may feel free of their control but may make terrible mistakes.

If I may share a perfect-example story: When I was 19/20 years old I, like most other people of that age, was enjoying the freedom of staying out as late as I wanted as often as I wanted with my girlfriends. The freedom of not having to pay attention to the clock, and of being out driving around and having long conversations about life, was great. My girlfriends and I knew we weren't doing anything wrong whatsoever. All we were doing was talking (and sometimes going from one coffee shop/fast food place to another, in our wish to just be out and being with friends). My parents were not controlling people. They did, however, frequently urge me not to "be out at all hours, all the time". They just kept saying, "Something is more likely to happen, the more you're out driving around at all hours." I wasn't a stupid person, and I was far more mature than a lot of people my age were. Still, I reasoned that my parents were "worrying over nothing", and I assumed it was because they were not aware of how absolutely innocent our activity was. (I never even drove fast. Neither did my girfriends. My friends and I were "sensible young people".)

Well, we defied the odds for a while, until one night a drunk came out of nowhere, killed my girlfriend, and left me with a change life and change outlook on it. I lived to see that my parents had been right. My girlfriend did not have that luxury. I turned the "completely adult age" of 21 a few weeks later. Although my parents had not attempted to control me beyond what was appropriate for my age, one could see their frequent urgings not to "be out driving at all hours, all the time" as some version of an attempt to influence/control my activities. The point is if they tried to influence me the reason was that they knew something I wasn't mature enough to believe.

Much of the time when parents of almost-grown, and recently grown, sons and daughters attempt to influence them, it isn't about trying to be controlling. It's about having lived long enough to have seen a lot of what can happen and not wanting their son or daughter to have unnecessary disaster in his/her life.

The second group of people who may not have particularly controlling personalities, but who seem to want to control others, are often the people who vote for, or make, laws that are seen as infringing on the freedoms of others. Sometimes laws do step on the rights of others too much. Sometimes they only step on the rights of people who want the freedom to do things that voters/law-makers think may be detrimental to society as a whole. While there may certainly be some voters/law-makers who have an unhealthy wish to control others in general, some don't. Some simply believe they are supporting a law that is in the best interest of the public.


Another point that may be worth mentioning relates to yet another possible scenario when one person is "accused" of wanting to control others, even when he may not have a controlling cell in his body. This is when a person values, and has a lot of, self-control. People who, themselves, have a lot of self-control are often misunderstood. Some people don't care what anyone else does but happen to value self-control in general. These may be people who exercise a lot of self-control, who like having control in their own lifes as well (who doesn't?), and who believe in encouraging self-control and control of one's own life in young people.

This may be parents or teachers who, themselves, don't, for example, go out and drunk. They may see going out and getting drunk as unappealing (or even dangerous), and they may try to discourage it in young people for that reason. The combination of someone's obvious leanings toward his own self-control, and toward exercising a lot of control with regard to his own life, can make something like trying to discourage young people from getting drunk for "entertainment" as "controlling". In other words, the general picture of a person who has a lot of control in his own life and cause others to jump to the conclusion that such a person wants a similar degree of control over others. The point is there are people who care only about their own control over their own lives, and who may know that self-control is generally a positive thing in life, who simply have no wish to control anybody else, but many people who aren't as "skilled" with self-control may just grossly misunderstand it in others.

This is also speculation and a matter of personal observation, but it would seem that there's the chance that people who have grown up with parents who were deemed to be "inappropriately controlling" (whether that was truly the case, or whether a particularly "independent minded" child just experienced his parents' rules/expectations as "too controlling') may have more of a tendency to interpret a lot of the behavior/opinions of others as "trying to control", even when that is not the case. Possibly, another group of people who see "controlling" when it is not present are those people who project their own wish to control on everyone else.

When all is said and done (and after removing from the equation appropriate parental control at the different stages of a child's life; and removing, too, those times when what looks like an attempt to control really is not what someone thinks it is), no adult has a right to attempt to control any other adult. It's that simple, and yet that concept seems to be a very difficult one for many people to grasp. There is a reason that we all became so familiar with that line used by kids at a fairly young age, "You aren't the boss of me." As adults, we may smile at the wisdom of that line we may have used on our childhood playmates. As adults, however, none of us should live under someone else's belief that he/she is "the boss of us" - and none of us should have to struggle to assert our own right to control over ourselves and our own life.

First HP PUB Date:  04/27/09

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Having Different Takes On Different Matters

(transfer post, originally published February 13, 2014)

I love a good discussion and appreciate it when others share their own ideas. Because of that, I tend to feel freer about sharing my own ideas, whether they're the same or different from someone else's. In fact, I just kind of assume that offering a different take on things makes for a better rounded discussion. What I've always been self-conscious about, and what, at times, does run the risk of having someone else just think one is "being contrary" for the sake of it, is that many people believe that "different take" equals something very different from (and a lot more objectionable than) enthusiastic appreciation of "a real discussion".

Not everyone particularly appreciates a "take" that's different from his own.

Since I'm really not "socially clueless" at all, that's one thing that makes me refrain from "trying to contribute" to a lot of discussions by adding my own comment (or "two-cents' worth).

When people are on a social site like this one, who remain silent (in the name of not wanting his motives for enthusiast "contributions in the name of 'sharing-a-take-is-genuine-participation") say nothing, it's not really a big deal.

In offline and more personal relationships, however, being someone who always wants/needs others to agree with what one says can set up for, or place a person at higher risk for, some pretty unhealthy situations in personal relationships. It doesn't do much for others who have learned that remaining silent and/or saying only what someone else wants to hear either.

I don't know... It's just unfortunate that the idea of people's having different takes on different matters is so mistaken for being "unfriendly" when - in reality and in one way or another - it's really intended to be just the opposite of "unfriendly".

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

(transfer from "The Premie Experience"  )

Note:  It seems very strange to post this material because a) the personal story, itself, is ancient history, and b) so is the blog, at least as it stands now.  In any case, the following post includes a handful of individual bits/pieces of writing from that blog.)


 Not Getting To Hold The Baby

My baby was born on Tuesday, and I spent Tuesday evening and much of Wednesday, with no idea about when I'd be able to hold him. Finally, my doctor came in and commented on the fact that I hadn't yet been able to hold the baby. He said, 'We'll arrange for you to be able to hold him tomorrow.' And so, it was on Thursday that I was finally able to scrub up and suit up, and hold my tiny son. It occurs to me to mention that it kind of felt like getting a gift in November, marked, 'Don't open until Christmas', but it was far lonelier a feeling than that. As it happens, my son was born in early November but had not been due until around Christmas.

Mother Of Premies May Feel They've Betrayed Their Baby

When I got to hold my tiny baby briefly, before he would be placed in an incubator, the fierce screaming he had done from the moment he was born suddenly stopped. Part of me assumed that this tiny creature felt that my voice and arms were enough to reassure him. Still, all I could think about was how my very first act as his mother had involved my apparent inability to let him stay where he was until he was more ready to be born. I knew his premature birth was not my fault, and yet I couldn't help but feel I had betrayed him.

The Things Moms May Not Talk About Much

Each year 467,201 babies are born prematurely in the United States, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

The world is full of people who were born prematurely without serious or long-term consequences, but with premature birth comes a higher risk of serious and/or long-term consequences, including infant death. While the world may be full of people who were born premature without serious consequences, it also has more than its share of heartbroken parents for whom the outcome of pre-term labor was not a successful one.

It was 27 years ago that I experienced, first-hand, the scare of premature delivery. Happily, my son was a healthy premie, who suffered no serious consequences of having been born too early. Hindsight has given me that reassurance. As all parents of premies know, however, there is no benefit of hindsight when a tiny premie remains under special care at the hospital. Neither is there the benefit of hindsight during those first two years; when, even while understanding that premies may not develop at the same rate as full-term babies, parents can have that tense awareness that some developmental or medical problem could reveal itself.

Premature delivery with serious, negative, consequences brings a complicated set of issues for parents and their pre-term babies. With 27 years of hindsight, I've discovered that even pre-term deliveries with wonderful outcomes bring their own set of issues. With benefit of that hindsight, I now realize that even in the case of a pre-term delivery without serious problems the "premie experience" can come in two phases - a "primary" phase, which comes immediately after delivery and continues until time has resolved existing issues; and a "secondary" phase, which might best be described as the long-term, emotional, consequences of having give birth prematurely.

When I was mired in the concerns, worries, and fears associated with having a premature baby it felt as I was "wrapped in a bubble of premature-baby issues". When the two years following his delivery revealed that my little son had only health issues associated with early arrival, and when it became clear that his developmental milestones were reached with the "average" range (with some even showing up early); it felt, to me, as if the "bubble" had fallen away. "He and I," I thought, "are past the premature delivery."

Over the years, like most mothers, I've often been quick to tell the story of my son's premature delivery; but every mother has a birth story of one kind or another. Any time I've ever told (or written) the story, I've always noted that it had been a story with a happy ending. While I suppose it's true that "regular" birth stories end with the delivery of the baby, and "premie" birth stories end once the scare and worries of the early delivery have subsided (which can be months or years after delivery); all good birth stories do come to an end.

That's why when, not long ago, ABC's, "Nightline", aired a program on neonatal intensive care units, I was surprised to discover the degree to which I was "transported" back to my own premie delivery experience. Suddenly flooded not just with empathy for the parents in the piece, but with emotions that were once my own and that I thought had long ago disintegrated; I realized that even when that "bubble" falls away, parents of premies can be left with "tucked-away" and "proven-unnecessary", the experience of having had a premature baby remained with me in ways I had not realized.

The world is full of happy birth stories that are also premie birth stories, but there is a kind of isolation in having delivered a premature baby. That isolation can result from the realities of delivery and the time following it. It can come from having worries that most other parents don't have. It can even come from having a healthy premie and not quite fitting into either the "NICU parents" category or the "full-term parents" category.

This site is intended to address the matter of premature delivery in a way that attempts to help reduce the sense of isolation for (particularly) parents of premature babies.

I'd like to end this introduction by offering to the parents of new premies something that I noticed didn't seem to come often enough for me, and that is words of congratulations that are not weighed down by the too-often somber concerns and tones associated with the birth of a premature baby. So, if your baby has recently arrived long ahead of schedule - Congratulations on the birth of your tiny, beautiful, baby.


My tiny, sweet, little son was born at just past 34 weeks. Fortunately, he was said to be a "healthy premie", so he was able to be kept at the smaller, suburban, hospital in which he was born, rather than be transferred to a NIC unit at a larger Boston hospital.

At the hospital where he was born, there were two nursery sections for newborns - the "main" nursery, and a smaller, off-to-the-side, darker, section; where all babies spent their first 24 hours in an incubator, and where my son would remain until the day before I would eventually bring him home.

Before I was released from the hospital, and before I was allowed to hold my baby, I would, of course, stand at the glass in front of the "special" section of the nursery, looking in at my tiny son. My husband didn't happen to be there one afternoon, as visitors began to crowd the hall by the "regular" nursery glass, in order to see the new babies of friends and relatives. In the crowd there were also parents. Everyone was naturally excited and delighted to be seeing (or showing off) the new babies. There they all were - over at that big, right-hand-side, window - seeming so completely happy and unburdened by worries. There I was - at the smaller, left-hand-side, window - standing alone and trying to see "some sign of something ok" in my tiny baby. A round, yellow-plastic, "face" toy was in my baby's incubator. He wore a pastel green, knit, hat that framed his tiny, red, U-shaped, face as he slept. I was happy for the people at the other glass. I just wished I could be one of them.

Suddenly, a young woman came scooting over to take a look into other smaller nursery. It was as if she had noticed me and thought she may have missed some new babies that were in that part of the nursery. She quickly scooted next to me, took a peek in, and head right back to the bustling group of people. Without any effort to lower her voice, she cavalierly said, "Go look at that little, sick, baby over there." Nobody else came to look at my baby, and I resisted the urge to tell her, "He's not sick. He's healthy. He's just premature." I didn't care what she thought, but neither did I particularly like her cavalier, ignorant, remark and demeanor.

So there I stood, off to the side, longing to see my baby in the "main" nursery, while knowing he was neither sick nor like any of the other babies there. This was the beginning of a long string of such experiences, which showed me how being the mother of a premie can so often meaning feeling just a little "off to the side".

My Premie Story

With the last couple of years the program, Nightline, had a series on babies in the neonatal intensive care unit. At least one was a premie, and as I sat in my living room all by myself, I found myself in tears as I watched the angst of the young mother and father who - although they did get to hold their baby - mostly watched their baby through the walls of the incubator.

My baby, too, was born prematurely, but he was born a healthy premie at 34 weeks. It surprised me that I seemed to be so able to empathize with these parents whose babies were much smaller and sicker than mine had been. What also surprised me, though, was the fact that almost two and half decades after watching my premie boy through the incubator the feelings of the experience still remained close enough to the surface to make me cry just by seeing the way the parents in the Nightline program tentatively reached their hand in to touch their baby and to see the way they had seemed to have become resigned to the idea that they woke up one day and found themselves the worried parents of a tiny creature they couldn't yet quite get to know very well.

I recalled how, as I went into the hospital in premature labor, I had had to develop an almost callous indifference to whether or not I'd leave with a living baby. I actually had a "I'll believe it when I see it" attitude; but, more significantly, I actually had just a hint of an "Its too late at this point" attitude as well. It was preparation. It was what you do when you know you're baby is coming too soon. This was my first delivery, so I already had the difficulty believing I'd actually end up with a baby that comes with a first delivery. It was also, however, my second pregnancy; so I was far more used to a pregnancy that doesn't end in a living baby than I was with bringing home a bundle of joy.

On the cold, crisp, blue-skied, November day I was well aware of feeling that I had failed my baby, and when he was born - alive and kicking and screaming, much to my surprise - my first feeling was sorrow that I had failed to be able to keep him where he was just long enough so he could enter this world as a full-term baby. As I watched the labor room nurses scurry around to do what had to be done for this 4-lb baby that had arrived in only an hour and a half and almost before the doctor had time to show up, it was as if my only awareness was that in this moment of what looked like panic the only thing I could think of was how my first act as his mother was one at which I failed.

As I said, he was a healthy premie. Still, he was kept in the hospital because he couldn't drink very well. He was also losing weight because he was so small he would use up calories he needed just trying to drink. The nurses would gavage feed him and then try bottle-feeding again. He was losing weight consistently, and I was starting to be so afraid that he would just lose weight and lose weight and "vanish" (in my emotional thinking ). My husband and I would go feed a couple of times a day. Scrubbing up before putting on the pale yellow gowns and hats was something which which we became quite familiar. A couple of times a day when I was not there I'd call and ask for the latest weight the nurses got. Just as he was about to dip to his lowest weight he gained just the tiniest amount, but that was the beginning of his consistent weight gaining.

He was 4 lbs 8 oz when I got to bring him home one day after he was removed from the incubator. I filled out a few forms that the hospital would give the state because the state was following up on how many premies develop deafness or other problems, and I dressed my tiny boy in clothes that were way too big for him, packed up the special premie diapers and premie mini-bottles the hospital gave me and brought him home. The neighbors weren't peaking out the curtains that day. They did that the day I had come home from the hospital after having him, carrying only flowers.

I stuffed the fear that had become so much a part of me in the back of my mind and went on to enjoy life with my beautiful, baby, boy almost as every other mother does. Still, though, I watched for his reaching of milestones with a little more awareness than mothers with full-term babies tend to. There were a few more infection crises in the Winter, and there was the fact that he remained too small for the baby equipment for which his age had made him developmentally ready. My little boy reached most of his milestones early, and he was good and ready to begin kindergarten at four years old - and do really well there.

Nonetheless, all these years later there are still times when the fear and loneliness of having a premie sometimes leaks back into my mind - the loneliness of not holding my baby for more than a day or so after he was born, the loneliness of shopping for baby equipment while he was still in the hospital and while I still had the hospital bracelet on my wrist, the loneliness of returning home from the hospital without the baby, and the fear and longing that the parents of premie's constantly experience as they watch from much-to-great a distance through the incubator walls. Because worrying about whether he'd grow normally was something so frightening I didn't even talk about it, there was also the loneliness of waiting for each milestone and not putting into words the thing that made me hope he'd reach each milestone on time.

Three years later I gave birth to my beautiful little 5 lbs 13 oz girl at 37 weeks after she threatened to be born even earlier than he had been. The doctor celebrated the 37-week delivery as if it were a victory, and I got to hold my baby and change her and bring her home with me when I went. My neighbor sat in her window as we drove up, and I got out with my arms full of baby and pink blankets and pink balloons and flowers; and I finally knew what it felt like to do having-a-baby the way everybody else does it (or the way it feels everybody else does it when you've had a premie).

When I brought her home I finally knew what it was like to not have the fear and the isolation that can come with delivering a premie. but I think once I had experienced what I had missed the first time I almost grieved a little all over again because I realized what I did not and would never have when it came to delivery of my earlier baby. What makes me think of all the circumstances surrounding my daughter's birth is seeing young women expecting their babies or bringing them home or buying things for them. Whenever I see a bunch of pink balloons I think of when she was born. What transports me back to the time surrounding my son's birth is seeing news programs covering worried parents who wait in waiting rooms and reach their fingers in to touch a hand so tiny you can't believe its human.

My son has always been a tremendous, tremendous, joy to his father and me. He's grown to be such a fine and handsome young man; and I don't mean to imply that he's ever brought anything but joy. Still, when times happen like the night I was watching Nightline and the tears began to flow in a way I never would have imagined it makes me realize that delivering a premature baby has a legacy that lasts long after the child has graduated college. I think maybe that when it was all happening to me I didn't allow myself to cry for myself because I was only thinking of my baby. Maybe it took me that two decades to finally let myself cry for me.

A Note About Some Posts/Other Content That I'm Transferring Into This Blog

With a "zillion" different sites/blogs from which I'm moving material (of one kind of another), I don't want yet another post about yet more reorganizing of things.  Still, I want to describe what I'm doing and what's here (on this blog) and why; because I don't it will all look just too peculiar.

While I haven't decided what to do, if anything, with some blogs, I have some that are too much a mix of "part-personal/part-resource-focused".  They either need more attention and/or redesign, or else they just need to be closed down.  With some that have enough stuff on them there's always the import/export thing.  That's not worth doing with some of the blogs.  With others, I intentionally (at the time) posted some writing as text boxes, rather than as posts.

In any case, I'm going to hand select and "manually import" some material from some of those blogs.  I may or may not change settings on those blogs (or on this one) at some point.  For now I want material that I've written online on this particular blog (regardless of settings).  (There's always removing or hiding material later...).

I'll note transfers that I make from these "single-theme" blogs.  In instances where there is little enough material (or when it's really old material) I'll post it all as one post here (and either do something more with it later, or not).

A Note By This Blog Author

As I continue to overhaul much (most, actually) of the online-writing (blogs/accounts) that I've done on a casual/free-time basis, I'm finding that the last pages that seem to be getting my attention are blogs that I set up with a focus on a single subject/theme.  This is one of those blogs.

The Quickest Way To Get Me To Hang Up On You Immediately If You're A Sales Person

Not long ago I got a call from some far-away area code, and the person didn't ask to speak with me by name.  Instead, she gave a name (but no company or organization) and immediately after said, "How are you today?"

So, first I didn't know who it was that was calling.  (A name doesn't cut it in my book.).  Second, I was immediately angered that my time in suspense was yet extended more by being asked a meaningless, baloney, question.  If I weren't having a good day or weren't well I wasn't about to tell that to a stranger.  Whoever or whatever rule-book it is that instructs people like cold callers to try to add a folsky touch to things really need to figure some things out about the people they call.

Asking, "How are you today?" is for friends, and for when you actually care how the person is.  I have a friend who has had some medical problems, and so has one of her family members (someone that I also know).  Just within the last week I called my friend to ask a favor, and when I did I used "the dreaded" words, "How are you today?"  I meant it.  I didn't want to go ahead and either start chatting-in-general or else ask the favor and then have this person tell me someone was in the hospital, or that someone was otherwise dealing with being sick.

On the one hand, I know that people have medical issues and non-medical-issue-related bad days and still live their lives as  usual.    On the other hand, I didn't want to start in with a chit-chatty little conversation if my call had already interrupted less "frivolous" matters.

In fairness to the stranger from far-away who called, didn't say who she was representing, and then asked how I was doing, maybe that question is designed/calculated as a way of kind of doing the same job I'd hoped it would do when I asked it of a friend.  The difference is a) that I know my friend has other things to worry about than chit-chatting or doing some favor on some days.  And, I know that because I'm not a stranger.  More importantly, when I've asked that question of one person or another in my person life it's not just to get an unspoken "all-clear" to go on with the call.  It's because I really do want to know that things are well (or well enough) for the person (and any family members about whom she may be worried).  There have been times different people I know have been sick or hospitalized, and I haven't known about it until weeks or even months later.  It's not that everyone owes everyone else every last bit of health issues s/he runs into, but I don't think I'm the only one who doesn't want to start chit-chatting or talking about some minor thing if someone else is, say, worried about some crisis that's "in the air" for that person.

I'm sorry...    As far as I'm concerned, this question is reserved for people who know the person they're calling and actually do really care (and beyond just whether or not there's that unspoken "all-clear" to go on with the chit-chatty stuff or minor issues).

To me, sales people or anyone else who calls me should first tell me who they're representing, then add a name if they must, and get to the point of the call.  If the thing is that they don't see who they represent because they fear being hung up on; well, get another job.  You're going to be hung up on.

I don't want my time wasted with meaningless chit-chat from strangers (and that goes as well for strangers like phone-company customer service people).

If you want me not to rule out your company/organization and/or want me to like your company (to some extent) don't waste my time with meaningless foolishness.  End of story.