It’s 5:34 a.m. and I’ve been thinking about school for hours. I have one remaining assignment, which is a book report/critical analysis/personal reflection paper (3-5 pages, Times New Roman, naturally- MLA, my favourite) in Social Psychology. It’s supposed to be 3 to 5 pages and while part of me wants to chince out and celebrate (which means a 3 page paper), the academic in me tells me to throw every ounce I have into it (5 pages) to show my professor that I care. So, 5 pages it is! My final grades are:
Intro to Criminology- A
Spanish II- A
Therapeutic Intervention with Substance Abusers II- A
Lifetime Fitness and Wellness- A
Social Psychology- B
There’s no way I’m going be able to get the A in Social Psychology, but I still want to show my professor that I care enough to do my best. I have a great relationship with 99% of all of the professors that I’ve ever had and we usually email back and forth and get to know each other. I think personalizing the relationship makes students want to try harder and that’s proven true in my case again and again.
School has helped me so (so ho ho) much. When I first started, 4 years ago, I was a bit hyper-spiritual. Thought everybody needed saving (yada yada) and I pretty much lived on that plane. [insert groan here] Studying psychology and sociology over the years has been the best form of therapy for me, personally, and a very necessary anchor. I think like an analyst or statistician now. I’ve learned through my studies to problem solve using the scientific method, which means, taking your emotions out of the situation and gather hard facts. It’s still hypothetical at that stage, so it needs to be confirmed by others in your area of study or field. Once confirmed, the hypothesis becomes a theory. I’ve learned to take this approach when dealing with others who are judgmental and/or spiritually hyper-manic (such as several of my siblings) so that their hatred won’t rub off on me.
Take for example, the email I received from my oldest sibling (name withheld) only yesterday who offered to exorcise me. Uhuh…you read that correctly. Said he was getting into exorcising people these days and if I ever wanted prayer…da da da. (He was doing this to “help me” because he knows my past is “riddled with demonic forces”. Right. And, for this reason, he took his daughter away from her favourite Aunt, because Aunt Birgy isn’t in Church on Sunday morning, so Aunt Birgy must be “bad”. It’s just enough to make your mouth drop and it’s been a perpetual witchhunt.) I’ll tell you, that tested my boundaries on a whole new level. That’s a bit out of touch with reality- it’s pretty freaking scary. I had sent an invitation to my graduation and er, that was the reply.
In the past, I would have been have been utterly wounded. I would have internalized, thinking of lots to say in return. I’m not like that any more. I realize that we cannot change others, not when it gets right down to it. We can only try to improve ourselves for ourselves and ultimately, the benefits of others. The classes in Behavioral Sciences, however, have helped me to understand that I had been seeking my older siblings approval my entire life. (Love me! Love me! Please accept me!) As human beings, we all do it, but this has almost destroyed me in the past. It’s liberating to be able to assess the situation (again, like a social scientist) and comprehend that my two oldest siblings are exhibiting signs of paranoia, conspiracy theories, fear, terror, mania, and in a nutshell, the just-world phenomena, which is something I learned in Social Psychology, which is, believing that if something “bad” happens to a person, they brought in on him or herself. That is so dangerous to think along those lines. It means that you’re always justified in your own eyes while others “get what they deserve”. Social Psychology is fascinating and it’s helped me quite a bit. I used the word bad in quotation marks because I believe “bad things” is just a matter of perception. What is bad to one person is a blessing to another. I apply this in my life, everywhere, and know that there is good to be had in every situation. We don’t always see it, but it’s always there.
I’ve had to clinically remove some of the people from my life who expected me to be their tragedy. As long as they tell themselves I’m “sick”, or pitiful in some way- they can love or “accept” me. They cannot accept me as a peer, though, or an “equal”. My siblings and I were raised to believe that college isn’t really a good thing. (Yes, shocking, I know.) There’s a lot of sickness in this family. We were raised with a good bit of patriarchy and misogyny going on, even still. That really didn’t fly with me- at all. I’ve chosen to stop these generational perpetuating cycles of diseased thinking. I decided years ago that thinking along those lines (college not being a “good thing”) is just a little bit wacky. Needless to say, of my 4 siblings, I’m the only one who chose to go to college and say, “What the hell is wrong with everybody?” So yes, thank God for college.
I’ve had to cut 1/3 of my family clean out of my life! But it was only after doing so, that I actually got “well”: emotionally, psychologically, spiritually. So many of my friends are what others think of as “mentally ill”. It breaks my heart to see the chains that swallow them up because somebody thinks he or she is “sick”. I’ve had my battles in life, sure. But when you think I need an exorcism, and you’re going to perform it? I’m probably going to block your email (in record speed) because you need your head examined. That’s just waaaay too crazy for me even, and that’s saying something. Ha. Let’s recap: Your sister invites you to her graduation and you offer to exorcise her. You’re out of touch with reality, dude!
If it wasn’t so sad it would actually be funny. Like, ha ha funny! I can’t wrap my head around it. I just have no room in my life for people who cannot love. And that’s all this is:
“I cannot love you, sister; I’m not capable of it, so I’m going to judge you so that I can validate my hatred. You are a bad person because you do not fit my mold of who I want you to be. You are not in church like me so you must be evil. I will tell my child that you are evil and have “bad spirits that need exorcising” so she will not love you either.”
This is sooooo wrong on every level, and to teach your child that? Just unspeakably wrong.
I have a lot of friends in the art world (a lot) – hundreds, and I’ve never met anybody who is actually “cruel”. Only good people! My friends are the sweetest, kindest, and most considerate people I know, truly. (BB, Y, Wendy S., Marion, etc. the very long list goes on.)
For those of you who I’ve gotten to know through this blog also (Amy, Jen, Sean, Jenn, Al- and many others) you have no idea what your love and support has meant (and does mean) to me. I’m inspired by all of you and am encouraged in my life. I can’t thank you enough for that. :0) Thanks most of all, to my children, for being strong, independent, free-thinking beautiful people. I’m most inspired by you guys.
I found out today that I only need 18 credit hours to obtain a second degree- an A.S. in Social Work. Ohhh that’s so tempting…classes start in January. 18 credit hours! I’ve racked up almost 100 college credit hours, so a lot of my required classes have been knocked out already. I’ve actually knocked back 21 credit hours (7 classes) in one semester before and did exceptionally well: I’ve pretty much tapped out the Social Sciences department at my school.
Josh and I are sicker than dogs. We were both hit (hard) only yesterday. I think we got it from “hacking woman” at the homeless shelter. She was coughing and hacking all over the food, right next to us, and now we’re quarantined to the bedroom. My graduation is in 6 days! Ugh. Not sure what’s going to happen there; it’s almost 200 miles away. I need to kick this bronchial infection out fast.
My son, “Bob”, natural shadows/natural window lighting. Shot in monochrome- intentional high ISO for added grain.
December 1, 2013 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: behavioral sciences, college graduation, hateful siblings, hyper vigilance, inspiration, mental illness, siblings, social work, spiritual mania | 16 Comments
“Well where is your pain?”
“In the back of my head, this time. At the top of my neck and the base of my head,” said I.
I suppose I could have just as easily said where my cerebellum and brain stem are.
“Well, that’s exactly where your cyst is,” said he.
“Cyst. Hmm. So…right. You know, I’m not a lightweight. Do I need surgery? Just…tell me what’s up with it.”
And so on and stuff.
So I’ve discovered the culprit of my raging three day migraines. And sometimes four. This arachnoid cyst. Hmm. Not a pretty sounding fella. Arachnoid means spider-like. Who knows what the heck I’m toting around up there. I do know one thing for certain: I refuse to go down without a fight.
Also, I’m not prepared to put my life in the hands of a man I don’t know. Degree notwithstanding. I’ve decided that I’ll take matters into my own hands and request an MRI every six months, measure it myself, and take the direction I think best. I’m going to call the shots.
I’ll continue my homeopathic regimen- ground cayenne and ginger, lots of water, tea, and exercise. Now I know this might seem strange because I’ve researched arachnoid cysts and many others who have them are quite inactive. If you’ve had monster migraines, you learn to not disturb the beast. But I want to unlearn this behavior. It can be a real challenge to simply “live” sometimes, without triggering a migraine. When it hits, it feels like my whole head is exploding, and somebody is stabbing me through my right eye socket with an ice pick.
I’ve had worse pain.
Ok, that’s a complete lie. I haven’t.
It makes childbirth seem like a walk in the park.
And let it be known that I have an insanely high tolerance for pain.
I have a brand on my right arm from a coat hanger- fresh off the fire.
Gangrene set in and I had to cut it out with a knife.
Yup. Ohhhhh it’s a really good thing that I quit drinking whiskey five years ago.
Anyway, back to my tragedy.
In spite of all of this cyst stuff, I’ve decided to work on some of my music over the summer. Along with compiling a few photoshop tutorials for friends, and working on a song for a young girl named Kira. She’s the daughter of a friend (photographer, naturally), and she’s in her third week of radiation treatment. That little girl is one tough cookie. I found out her favourite colour, her favourite food, and have decided that I’ll write, record and produce a track for her as a token of friendship, and as an inspiration for her to keep on fighting.
I realize that God has given me a lot of talents. A lot of them.
photography and various mediums of art in general
Psychotherapy- yes. Psychotherapy. And I don’t even charge people.
Let’s see…there’s cooking and wait- I’ve published a children’s book too, called: “Peanut Butter Soup”.
It’s a collection of witty, thought-provoking, inspirational, and motivating poems for children. I included some of my chicken-scratch drawings with them- nothing so complicated that a child can’t mimic them. But they’re loaded with messages that raise awareness for the obese, the aging, metally challenged (hey- and mentally too!), and so on, so that kids will learn how to not bully others. Yes. I was a bedwetter until I was fourteen. (Sigh.) I’m afraid this batch of blog-tags are going to be the freakiest collection of words that might ever be listed together yet.
Perhaps I’ll actually get around to promoting that book one day, but for now, I’ll sign personal copies and ship them to friends. Like Kira. 🙂
In time, I’ll post videos. And actually sing. And play. (And stuff.)
For now, I’m soooooooo enjoying my summer break- good grief I thought this past semester was going to kill me. Seventeen credit hours (5 classes) and twenty one credit hours last semester. Not an easy thing to accomplish with blistering migraines, I will tell you. It was nothing short of miraculous that I came through so strongly, and, made mostly A’s and B’s.
Six classes to go and I’ll have my degree in Behavioral Sciences and certification in Substance Abuse.
p.s. Mr. Chris Alia, I’ve added you to my tags, so if you ever go ego-surfing, you can find me.
May 24, 2012 | Categories: Diagnosed: Cyst on Brain Stem | Tags: 50 MM 1.8, arachnoid cyst, art, bedwetter, birgitta, bullies, bullying, Canon xti, children's book, Chris Alia, compassion, Double Glass optics, faith, fine art, God, guitar, hope, inspiration, inspirational, Kira, Lensbaby Composer pro, love, migraine headaches, migraines, neurologist, neurology, nusic, Peanut butter Soup, photography, piano, singer, songwriter, truth, wetting the bed | Leave a comment