Don’t Be Afraid To Ask

I usually make a point not to talk about personal things in my blog. I want this  to be a place that supports what you all are feeling or struggling to feel. Occasionally I throw in life-event info (like cancer or termination), but I try to keep it fun and magical.

Lately, though, I have been struggling with a family matter that makes me want to scream out to the world, “take CARE of yourself, damnit!” 

It’s a topic that is a sensitive one, for some people will say, “you don’t know what it’s like to be chronically depressed/diabetic/incapacitated”. True enough. But I also know people who are/have been depressed/diabetic/incapacitated and have taken good care of themselves despite  their setback.

I have a family member who stayed in one state while my family (and others)  moved to others throughout the years. He/she insisted on staying alone in the home where they grew up.

I understand that.

But this same family member does not take care of themself, and I am in the process of cleaning out a second hoarder, mouse-infested house. After a stint in the hospital he/she is now in a nursing home, with hopes of getting better and eventually moving up by us.

I understand that, too.

I also understand that I’m 67 years old, too old to be a babysitter for someone who is 58. I am recently retired, working on my own health issues, and living on a reduced budget.

What I don’t understand is  — how does someone get in such a depressing, messy, confused state over and over again? 

Do we fall over the fence and keep tumbling down the hill until we hit rock bottom? Do we even know we are tumbling? Or hitting bottom? 

People who are alone with their miseries tend to not believe half of what is happening to them. It’s peripheral vision, and it happens to all of us. Have a trait that someone complains about? A house condition that is always questioned? Don’t think about it. Tell yourself it’s not as bad as everyone around you says it is. And cut them off if they don’t stop nagging you.

This is why I believe everyone should have a support system. And not be afraid to use that support system. 

God/Zeus/the creator did not create man to be the do-all, be-all being we strive to become. We all need help. I look back in my life and see spots where someone took time to pick me up and help me turn my life around. And it worked. 

Sometimes all we need is a little help. A little support. Sometimes it’s family and friends, other times we rely on the system. Unfortunately, most come up short to the real problem.

Loneliness.

This family member insisted he/she was busy, doing fine, going out with friends, visiting the library.  We are 100 miles north from them, so we  got together on birthdays and holidays and the occasional fishing trip. Others contacted  by phone, kept in touch. This family member showed no interest in living closer to those who kept asking them. 

I can do it myself. I don’t need anyone. Or anyone’s help.

He/she wound up in the hospital with a diabetes level of almost 1,000 (normal is 100). He/she had salmonella and has wounds from passing out and laying on the bathroom floor for two days before anyone found them.

I’m not sharing this story to make you feel sorry for us. I’m sharing this story to ask you to check up on those you know, even if they insist everything is okay. Go have coffee at their house or invite yourself for lunch. You don’t have to hang you with them every week, but get involved in their lives.

It will save both of you a lot of guilt and bad feelings and shoulda/coulda moments for the rest of your lives. I know I wouldn’t be living in a swirl of angst if both sides had worked together more.

And don’t be afraid to accept help. Or ask for help. If the shoe were on the other foot, you know you’d help in a heartbeat and not think twice about it. Those who care about you feel the same way.

No one has to go through this crazy mess called life alone.

 

 

Take A Break From Yourself

I’ve been keeping under the radar lately, nursing sinuses, body aches, and job pressures. I’ve been entertaining starting my own copywriting and editing business, wondering what to get two grandkids for their birthdays who have everything (a donation to a kid’s charity seems likely), and just mentally blowing out.

So yesterday I took the day off from work and did nothing.

Yep — nothing.

Now many of you know the guilt that creeps up whenever we are home for a whole day and night and don’t do something — dishes, vacuum, even writing. I have a few more new artists to research, my first book I HAVE to finish editing, and nothing new on the writing horizon, as I am shopping around for ideas.

Well, yesterday was the first day in a long time where I didn’t feel guilty about sleeping in, napping, watching TV, and sleeping some more. (That messed up my night’s rest, but that’s another story.)

Why do we feel guilty when we do something for ourselves that involves nothing?

It’s like every moment counts and you shouldn’t let your life pass you by without attempting to do something positive every day.

Alas, most of us believe that taking care of ourselves by not thinking or performing is not positive.

When the world was silent around me, and I hung up my guilt in the closet, my mind became silent as well. I didn’t angst over news stories or bombings or nut cases or deadlines. I didn’t feel overwhelmed about anything.

It shouldn’t take a sinus headache from hell to make me take a day off and just take care of ME. I really liked doing nothing. Feeling nothing. Thinking about nothing. If only for the day.

Do you find yourself pushing yourself to the limit all the time? Or do you take a day now and then to just do nothing?

You owe it to yourself to take a break from yourself.

 

What Is True Success?

So many things make us happy; so many things make us sad. So many times we wished we  had turned left instead of right; so many times we are soooo glad we did turn right instead of left. Sometimes I get really sad that I’m soon going to turn 60 — where has my life gone? Other times I look back and am sorry my mother never made 54. I’m sad that I had breast cancer; other times I’m so glad they found it when they did.

Life is packed with highs and lows, yellow and blacks, snow and scorching heat. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what it’s always been about. For us, for our grandparents, for George Washington and Kublai Khan and St. Joseph. I’m sure they all had a hundred things they wanted to do at one time, too.  Just like us. We all want to be appreciated for what we’ve done. What we’ve become. We all would like to think that our time here on Earth has been for the Greater Good.

This is not a confessional blog; this isn’t a tell-all or a bad news bomb.  I’m sitting on my sofa this cold Sunday afternoon, looking at the bare treetops in my front yard. Of course, you know me — I’m also watching football, eating lunch, doing laundry, getting ready to write some in  my latest novel, wondering what I’m gonna wear to work tomorrow. I’m also thinking about the fun I had with my grandbaby this weekend, thinking of taking some drugs for my achy legs, and feeling guilty I haven’t played fetchie with my dog today.

That’s really what this blog is about. Sometimes I feel I should be pushing this blog harder, trying to share the Word with more readers. Other times I think I’ve run this horse to the finish line, and should start a new creative venture.  Yet more often I think  I’ve let my writing simmer on the back burner for so long it’s started to dry up and stick to the pan.

How do you know if you’ve succeeded at what you tried to do? What is the measure of success? Big paychecks often are an indicator;  good health, always. Waking up every morning is a success all on its own. Family? Kids? Making the perfect apple pie? All of the above are successes if never done it before. Success has always been measured from the heart first, from the masses second. And often it takes on a meaning more cosmic than one thinks. I think I make the best spaghetti sauce this side of the Mississippi. If you don’t agree, does that mean it’s not good? Of course not. All it means is that I can eat it all myself.

Writing is the same thing for me. What is being a successful writer? Have I ever been published? A short  story here or there in the past 10 years. Have I won awards for my creativity? No. Have I ever I gotten a call or email from a publisher? No. Do I think I’m a successful writer? Yes. Definitely.  I’ve had people say positive things about my stories; I’ve brought smiles and tears to readers.  I’ve written 4 novels, 1 novella, 32 short stories, 42 poems, 84 blogs, and 3 novels in-progress. I think that’s being successful. Why? Because Ive continued to do what I love, no matter what the  result. I’ve had fun making friends, creating worlds, and trying things that make me uncomfortable. I encouraged people to believe in themselves, given life to middle-age heroines, and never killed off  the main character.

There are still so many paths to follow, worlds to explore. And that’s only after I play with my grandbaby, fetch my dogs, pet my cats, cuddle my husband, go to work 40 hours a week, clean my house, grocery shop, get together with family and/or friends, and dozens of other responsibilities. Life has only so many hours, and I’m still struggling on squeezing a few more out of every week.

So what this all boils down to is that I’ve driven the Humoring the Goddess train long enough. Hopefully I’ve encouraged you to believe in yourself, have fun with your life, and laugh as much as you can. There are so many things you can’t change, so why not toss your hands up and laugh and move on? You’ll know the things you CAN change..that little voice in your heart/head/soul is always there to remind you. Your job is to listen.

I have enjoyed entertaining you all these years more than you know. I have learned so much from you. I might try another blog, or finish one of my novels, or sit and spew poetry until I feel nauseated. I’m sure I’ll be back and visit sometime. If I start something new I’ll post it. I will look foward to hearing from you and YOUR projects. You will always find me at my email world…  humoring_the_goddess@yahoo.com.

There is always a path ahead of you. Always. It’s up to you which one you take, or how often you turn left or right. In the end, none of that matters — the only thing that matters is that you keep walking.

Keep Humoring the Goddess…and Loving your Life…

Claudia Anderson

Inspirational Mumbo Jumbo

            My muse was at it again.  I was standing in the shower, trying to remember what was still clean that I could wear to work, mentally making a grocery list, and trying to figure out where all the extra guests were going to sleep that weekend, when my spicy Irish muse jumped into my head with a great idea for an essay.  With barely enough time to brush my teeth and curl my hair, I asked her to come back later when I had enough time to devote to listening. Later that same evening she returned, and when I tried to translate her thick Irish brogue, I couldn’t even hear her, as I was thrown off by the barrage of super-loud commercials in the background. Once again I was interrupted by Inspirational Mumbo Jumbo.

            Every day we are bombarded with advertising, advice, inspiration, and warnings.  I myself already have a bit of attention deficit; it’s hard for me to sit still for any length of time and concentrate on more than one thing at a time.  Not to worry, though, for there are plenty of opportunities to be reminded of how bad off we really are. We are overweight, wrinkled, and dull.  Our bodies are toxic and our cholesterol is too high. We don’t have time to cook, exercise, chop vegetables or play with our kids.  But there is a cure for that ― just ask advertisers.

            The other day on the radio I heard that the infomercial business is a 30 billion dollar a year enterprise.  Just think — 30 billion dollars spent a year on ways to clean-up, tighten-up, and detox-up our bodies and our minds.  Not only can we firm our thighs and flabby under arms, but we can look like a movie star when we buy their jewelry or stay at their villas. We can organize our closet, scrub up doggie accidents from the carpet, and slice up vegetables in one swoop.  Men can take pills for non-functioning parts and women for over-functioning ones.

            How did we ever survive this long on our own?  How did our mothers and grandmothers and great grandmothers live with wrinkles and dry skin and messy closets?

             Most of us would like to be a little thinner or have beautiful hair or be able to drain spaghetti in the same pot as the drainer. Left to digest this information in solitude, the messages from all these Infomercials play to our insecurities and dissatisfactions. Advertisers zero in on our weaknesses, and do such a good job of pointing out our inadequacies that we buy improvement on the spot without having to think about it or leave the comfort of our sofa. After all, doesn’t everyone wants to taste just a bit of the “happily ever after” cake? After all, for just a few dollars, you can have not only a taste of the cake, but a whole piece.

            I’m not against advertising.  I learn about a lot of new products and ideas and new versions of old versions every time I watch TV or read a magazine or walk through the grocery store. I enjoy shopping, redecorating and cooking.  I get tired of digging through the laundry basket to find underwear, and I keep thinking I’m too old for pimples. But finding a solution to my mini dilemmas should be fueled by my judgment, not advertisers.

             It’s time to realize that we have always had the whole cake.  We just haven’t realized it.  Appreciated it. Tasted it.  We have the capacity for unbounded love, compassion, and understanding.  We have the ability to create our own environments, our own spiritual havens.  From astronomy to astrology, we have the power to discover magic both inside and outside of ourselves. And discovery doesn’t cost a thing.    

           But there is something wrong when people run after quick fixes to fix the holes in their heart. There is something wrong when we are told how messed up we really are and how that can be changed with a quick purchase off the Internet. To believe that the answer for happiness and peace of mind is outside of us is playing into the hands of marketers and profiteers who take our money and our trust and leave no instructions behind ― people who have never met us, never sat at our dinner table, never took the time to find out why our closets are so disorganized in the first place.

            So go out and buy that great pair of jeans or that shampoo for bright, shiny hair or those celebrity-endorsed pots and pans.  But realize that you are just as fantastic in those beat up jeans with the elastic waist, and that your homemade lasagna will taste just as good in your worn out baking pan as it will in the latest non-stick wonder.

            Sparkle is free. The fire inside of you is free. Everything else is just hype. Mumbo Jumbo. The only infomercial that matters is the one that broadcasts in your heart.

            Even if that message has an Irish brogue.