Tag Archives: learning

Peaks and valleys or Axis II? just kidding, DSM 5 uses no axes.

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Peaks and valleys or Axis II? just kidding, DSM 5 uses no axes.

As always, in this non-stop over-analytical brain of mine, I have been pondering a lot of things as of late; mainly the fact that over and over again I am told that I am a narcissist due to my verbal observations that I am the common denominator in all of my failures, from relationships to interoffice communications. I have been reflecting on this a lot, as I was studying for my clinical board exam. (I do not fit the criteria, in case you were wondering).

However I do find that I tend to be a pessimist, I feel paranoid often, and I make trust issues themselves suspicious. It’s a thing. I know it. I have done lots of therapy over the years.

As a teenager, I used to tell people I was bipolar, as if it were a cool thing…something to be proud of that explained how much of a special, creative, and emotional snowflake I was… Not knowing how fucked up that was. Ignorance is bliss right? But I do know that I have occasionally fit the criteria for a variety of personality disorders, namely dependent and/or borderline personality disorder, but they wax and waned over the years to the point that while I may feel it sometimes it is no longer acutely “diagnosable”(sp). I know that is the least professional way to put it but I am not sure how else to word it. Go with me, please.

Many times, I have found that I am jealous of people that are bubbly, happy, ridiculously positive. I have even caught myself assuming that they are less intelligent than I. I mean come on, how can you know what is happening in the world and still be that FUCKING happy? But the world is always fucked up. I have nothing to show that it will ever be anything else. We just have more knowledge of it these days, right? So what is the secret? Mindfulness? Ignorance? “staying present”? How do you get there? I believe that thoughts are things and that aside from being a commercial success, things like “The Secret” have something to them, albeit financially fleecing as they are. That does not mean they are not correct, real, or accurate. If the people getting rich and being successful from sharing this info are doing it, then huzzah, it works? Who knows. But how do you maintain it? How do you stay positive, happy, etc in the life we are given?

It seems to me that there is a common theme throughout all written history of humans, we suck, we are unhappy, and yet, we persist. We run the spectrum, from being capable of the worst things imaginable, to being capable of the most awe inspiring things. I always think of the movie, The Abyss and the part at the end where the distraught aliens decide NOT to annihilate us because of this observation. There is always the question of why, for what, how come, what is the meaning, what is happy, how do you find it, etc etc etc.. I have no illusions of being a special or creative snowflake for thinking about this. I am no narcissist in this regard. But really, how do people do it?

What is THE SECRET?

How do you feel satisfaction and fulfillment in a sustainable way? How do you maintain relationships? Jobs? Sanity?

How do you become a Katie fucking Couric? So maddeningly fucking positive that you can find a direction and impetus in tragedy?

How do you stay in the moment, when everything is distracting you with shiny lights or terrifying depths?

You know, asking for a friend.

 

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Learning Curves

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Learning Curves

I turn 36 tomorrow. Strangely enough, in this later period of my life, I have been given the recent opportunity to experience many things that oddly enough, in all of my life, I have never experienced.

I have experienced the absolute joy of being heard and seen, validated by an outside source.

I have experienced the closest thing to unconditional love that I have known, outside of my children.

I have finally felt for the first time in 25 years that I was not broken or ruined or soiled or somehow less than.

I have known what it was like to be loved, to feel loved, and to be love. I have learned to trust, to feel safe trusting. The verb and the noun.

I have handled uncomfortable situations with maturity and I was proud of who I am, what I have done, what I have learned.

I have learned I am worthy of being looked at in intimate moments.

I have learned that being vulnerable, open, and honest is not a weakness.

I finally understood that my past was not a flaw, that my choices and my experiences were beautiful, they made me who I am today, a person worthy of love and compassion.

I have learned the simple grace of words, thoughtful and meaningful words.

But I have also been given the reflection of these things. The insight that learned habits are destructive. That even if I am experiencing the above things, I may not be giving the same experience to others.

I have learned that when I think that I am saying one thing, it may not be received in the context or purpose that was intended.

Sometimes, I fail at it.

Sometimes I trigger people and I cannot take back my words.

I hurt people.

I let my insecurities smother things or they cause me to not hear people.

I am capable of implying judgment, even when I think I am doing something else.

Misunderstandings and the resulting conversations of them can indeed be more damaging than the original misunderstanding.

Language is funny. It is so powerful and so important.

Words are important.

Even the most benign seeming words can be the most deadly, malevolent.

I know I am human.

I am fallible.

I am still learning.

I am not even close to perfect and that is acceptable.

I am a queen.

But if I am the queen of anything, it is finding silver linings in the saddest of things.

Growth is painful.

Learning is hard.

Self-reflection and acknowledgement of failure is overwhelmingly agonizing.

The payoff though, is that you have a choice then: you become better from it or you ignore it.

I am not ignoring it.

“The difference is this. Pain is a gift. Without the capacity for pain, we can’t feel the hurt we inflict.” -The Twelfth Doctor

Aesopisms

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Aesopisms

When a beautiful and sweet lion bites you, you shouldn’t be upset with it.

Even though you always treated him with kindness.

Even when you spent so long defending his animal habits.

Especially when you let your own guard down.

No, he hadn’t ever bitten you.

But I mean, he is a lion.

And you always knew that.

He never said he wasn’t.

Tsk, tsk.

You cannot fault a lion for being a lion.

The fault lies with whomever forgot he wasn’t a kitty cat.

Huh, well I’ll be damned.

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Huh, well I’ll be damned.

Most of my life, I have really enjoyed being around people that are very different from me; that being said, I also spent a lot of my life being incredibly irritated with people who disagreed with me and felt particularly defensive. I love being right. Don’t f*ck with me, I will Google that sh*t.

Recently however, I am noticing that I am less inclined to enjoy being around people who agree with me. Like-minded people are not necessarily people who agree with me. It’s been a real epiphany.

They don’t encourage my passionate debate. And that sucks, because it is one of my favorite things. It’s not that I like to argue…Really. I like to learn….Read on…

I’ve spent the last three years in graduate school: the first year was spent in a very small cohort in a very small town. It was nice, I really love some of the people there…others, meh. It wasn’t very diverse, that is for sure.

The second two years were spent in a much larger metropolitan area with people from all over the place. Very diverse. Sounds cool huh?

Not always. Now, mind you, I have met amazing people who I have no doubt that I will be involved with my entire life in that program. But there are others that were in the program that “agreed” with me, but they just made me feel really robotic about my thoughts. I have been trying to critically reflect on this and what I have recently decided is that my learning ends when I am around people who agree with me.

 

And it doesn’t matter what the topic is.

Politics, economics, race, religion, class warfare, the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex, social work, or even something as benign as micro brews or freaking music. I find it much more conducive to the fine tuning of my own opinions, my own truth if you will, to have to understand someone else’s point of view and more thoroughly explain my positions without being defensive. It is a real skill. I like having practice in it and I cannot practice with people who are all “oh, yeah, I totally agree.” 

I’ve always told my kids that if they can’t explain something to me, they don’t understand it well enough…go back and study or try again…

And yet, I haven’t fully held myself to that.

It’s nice to be undefensive and feel validated in your opinions. 

But only for a minute. 

Until you look around and realize that you are either surrounded by “Yes, people” or people who you intimidate that aren’t going to question what you say. Talk about boring. *YAWN*

I am really enjoying learning from people who are different from me. I am really enjoying the fire in my gut that lights up when someone says something that gets my hackles up….but learning to control that fire long enough to come up with an awesome counter to continue the conversation? 

Oh yeah. That’s the good stuff. 

Bring it on.

 

And today I am grateful…

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And today I am grateful…

For learning experiences that challenge me and fulfill me.

For interactions with people different from me.

For opportunities to give and receive feedback.

For healthy and amazing kids.

For unbroken toes that allow me to walk in ridiculously hot, haute, uncomfortable shoes.

For short months.

For health.

For friends.

For the ability to tell friends I love them and am thinking of them while they go through scary things. (AR you have my thoughts and alllllll my hoobie joobie.)

For friends who tell me they love me and are thinking of me while I go through scary things.

For the ability to learn and grow and understand my childhood and persona.

For the privilege of grad school and student loans.

For stargazer lilies.

For tattooed men.

For tattooed women.

For Kisha, sunflowers and the grateful dead.

For human interaction.

For broken hearts and first loves.

For love.

For hate.

For the capacity to feel both.

For unending lists of things I am grateful for.

For life.

xoxo,

Jani