Category Archives: Friendship

A Long Love of Reading

IMG_5037I started reading and speaking at about the same time. Letters and words read to me by adults became a magical fixation. Entranced by their power, at the age of one and a half, I was determined to harness the pictures for the words that adults used.

The books had pictures and were made of cardboard. The best audio books came with cassette tapes and had a voice or beep that told you when to turn the page, allowing me to more easily follow along. Goodnight Moon was one of my favorites. I’d listen to the words, following along in my book.

Listen to a book, follow along, rewind, repeat. Over and over, memorizing the words. Each word a little picture. I was reading but not phonetically. Deciphering the code, little by little. I started with easy words like dog, cat, and god (sometimes mixing up dog & god).

To entertain myself in the car I would read and call out the letters and words on street signs. On one road trip just before my second birthday, as my mother reviewed directions on a large paper map, I suddenly became VERY excited and thrust my tiny finger enthusiastically onto the map. “Ping-Pong! Ping Pong!” I exclaimed, pointing to the small town of Ding-Dong, Texas.

Earlier in the day, I’d been watching Beanie & Cecil. In the episode, they had sailed to the island of “Ping-Pong” and shown the location on a map. I was very excited when I thought I’d found it.

Reading came easy for me and had a head start on the other kids when I started Pre-K. Unfortunately, by the time I got to first grade, I hit my first roadblock. Reading aloud, something I still avoid as much as possible.

We sat in a circle, textbooks open. “As we go around the room, everyone will read a IMG_1704paragraph. We will go around the circle until we finish the story.” My memory of that day is still remarkably clear. I will always be able to replay those events in my head.

I remember the teacher’s anger when I didn’t read my paragraph. I remember reading the words in my mind, screaming the words in my head, then begging the words to come out of my mouth. Nothing. I knew the words but couldn’t say them. I remember being sent out of class for refusing to participate in the activity and I remember being ashamed.

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In middle school reading was a solitary activity, allowing me to dig myself deep into the elaborate universes of Anne Rice, Bram Stoker, & Stephen King. In the eighth grade I devoured Interview With a Vampire, Dracula, and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.

Throughout high school, I worked on writing. Listening to my favorite authors, making note of the writing styles and story patterns. Creating edgy teen vampire fiction, printed from an old Windows 95 computer. I placed the stories into brad folders before passing them along to my classmates.

 

As I’ve grown and changed, my love of reading has evolved. As a girl, I’d escape into fiction. In my late twenties, I started to find more value and joy in the accumulation of facts. There are still vivid pictures in my mind when I read, but now I’m visualizing real concepts, like human digestion and brain function.

 

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It’s fun to reflect back on my history of reading. To think that it all started on the laps of adults who cared enough to read to me, even before I could speak. How could my life have been different had I not received this type of encouragement? What would have happened if the people around me had cared less?

 

Many of my earliest memories involve books. I will always be grateful for those who nurtured my love of reading.

Requested Content – Relationship Advice

I will admit that I’d been putting off making this video when it was requested almost a month ago. I had a lot to think about. It’s taken me several weeks to gather my thoughts but here they are. Neurodivergent Rebel’s relationship advice.

 

Zero to My Own Hero – The Evolution of Me

Over time I’ve changed, grown taller and wiser. My physical appearance, ways of thinking, and self-wort have all teetered back and forth, from one extreme to the other. Every experience is an opportunity for growth, if we are open, even the most difficult situations have the power to teach us something

A friend once said to me that she remembered that I “wasn’t good at anything” when we were kids. This week I talk about what’s changed over the years. Life hasn’t always been easy but I make the most of things.

Most importantly, I’ve gained more self-confidence through growing a better understanding of myself.

Cleaning Up Your Own Messes – Are You a Thief?

When you don’t clean up your own messes you are stealing.

This can be messes at work, messes in your relationships, literal messes in your house. If you make a mess and leave it for someone else to fix you are stealing time from them.

When material goods lose value, time becomes all we have

It is easy to get stuck in one-directional thinking. When I love something, I try to look at it from many angles. Through examinations allow for more accurate observations than casual glances do.

In Buddhism, there are five precepts, or rules, governing behavior helping to point you in the correct direction as you first getting started down the path. At first, the rules seem simple but as you undertake them you realize some of their implications (and your own) are less obvious.

For example, the 2nd precept is to abstain from stealing. Most people know you should not steal and will breeze right over this rule without giving it additional thought. Further study leads to alternate translations “I will not take what has not been freely given”.

Modern people obsess over things and objects, but in the Buddha’s time, most people would not have had the means to be as materialistic as we are today. Yes, this precept is saying that you should not steal things from other people, but the phrase “what has not been freely given” can easily include so much more.

First I would like to point out that this includes time. When you have to do everything the old fashioned way, from getting water to making food from scratch, (and now that many people work 45-60 hours a week) time is everything.

Taking someone’s time is stealing and it is disrespectful. Please think about this, as I feel the offense is no different from taking the money from someone’s checking account.

Think about the consequences of your actions, contemplating the reach of your karma. Are you indirectly stealing from the people around you? Are you stealing their valuable time and energy?

That project at work when you pretended you didn’t notice your own mistake (so you could get off work on time) – what about the person who has to go behind you and fix it? After you made your sandwich did you leave mayo and breadcrumbs all over the counter for your mother to clean your mess? Did you leave your dishes in the sink hoping your roommate won’t mind?

Little transgressions, lazy things we do that drive the people around us crazy. Stealing time. On the surface, it may just seem like bread crumbs and dishes, but below a much more sinister plot is brewing. Maybe you don’t realize the full weight of your actions – you are unaware of your thefts.

Stealing is stealing.

When you steal from someone you place yourself above them, saying “my needs are more important than yours”. When you steal time from someone you say, “my time on earth is more valuable than yours”. Stealing someone’s things is also stealing someone’s time because they most likely had to work and put in the time to earn whatever you’ve stolen.

Stealing someone’s things is also stealing someone’s time because they most likely had to work and put in the time to earn whatever you’ve stolen. When you steal from someone you are disrespecting them. Don’t disrespect the people in your life. People will remember your actions more than what you say.

Think about the ways you may be stealing from the people around you – taking more than is offered, being late for work, leaving a mess behind you (literally or figuratively). Be mindful of your actions and their effects, be mindful of your karma.

Are you a thief?

 

Friendships & Loneliness

When I was very young I was alone – an only child until the age of eight when my sister was born. I was happy with my art projects and books. Creative activities entertained me. My hobbies were my friends and I never felt lonely.

In elementary school, I began to notice the other children forming groups and cliques. Somehow I stayed on the outside and was not taken in by my peers. I disliked school but still, despite the isolation, did not feel alone.

As I grew older I remember becoming aware of society’s ill feelings towards loners and loneliness. People who didn’t socialize much were always portrayed as outcasts in movies and pop culture.

Always picked last for any group or team, I was a typical bad nerd stereotype -poor hand eye coordination, good at computers, with a love of reading. Teachers made negative comments when I failed to immerse myself into groups but I’ve always been happiest on my own or in more intimate settings.

In high school blending in got easier and I began to have more friends. By senior year I was more popular than I had ever been before. Despite my newfound acceptance, I recall feeling true loneliness for the first time around this age.

The thing I remember most about this feeling is the way it lingered even when I was around large groups of people. My whole life people had made it seem as if the key to happiness was collecting people but being with people was never anything magical for me.

Where was the spark?

Growing older I’ve realized that quality is more important than quantity when building a friends list. I keep my social circles very small but the friends I do make are often long term.

It is important to be cautious with who you let into your life because the people you spend time with tend to rub off on you. Negative people will suck the life out of you and positive people will help you succeed.

These days I am content with evenings at home, working on creative projects, and hanging out with David and our four dogs.

I can count the remainder of my truest friends on one hand, the majority of them live far away. My chosen family, my tribe, people I truly trust. Honest people who avoid drama. I have the deepest gratitude for my friends. They are the right people.

Don’t waste your time with the wrong people. Take a friend inventory and carefully examine the relationships in you life. Are they positive? Do you feel like a better (or worse) person around this friend? Does being around your friend help you to grow as an individual?

There is a quote about loneliness by Kim Culbertson that I really love. It sums up the feeling so perfectly.

“People think being alone makes you lonely, but I don’t think that’s true. Being surrounded by the wrong people is the loneliest thing in the world.” – Kim Culbertson

Ditch the people who drag you down. Don’t let trashy people dump psychological garbage into your intellectual space. Guard the gates to your mind carefully because toxic people are the worst pollutants.