Rx for Joy

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31 Day Painting Challenge: Day 21 Colorful Geometric Shapes

Current symptoms: listlessness, insomnia, constant hood of worry, anxiety, pessimism, road rage

Prescription: (To do at least once a day until symptoms disappear)

Go to a mall or your sister’s house or other place where toddlers are eating or playing (a children’s playground at the park or school is not advised for you might be reported for peculiar behavior – not your fault)

Observe toddler’s feet dangling from the chair; his cherubic cheeks and glistening eyes focused on what’s in front of him;

Note the fat hands hungrily – joyfully – grabbing the sandwich/spoon/bowl;

Listen, really listen, to his easy laughter and his babble.

If you could ask him, he’d tell you:

He’s not worried about tomorrow or fretting about the past;

He’s here, with you, and nothing else matters.

 

When toddler begins to cry or have a temper tantrum, cease the observation and seek a quiet place immediately.

 

 

 

 

Whose Business is it?

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Doodle of grains

“Mind your own business.”  This phrase could be perceived as rude (context and tone would give a clue), but not necessarily. It comes down to facts. I have my business, you have yours. Conflicts can arise when we cross boundaries.

Sometimes, people make other people’s business their own. Why? Because they are judgmental, unhappy, uninformed, or just fearful of change.

Case(s) in point:

This year, I have decided to pursue learning how to draw and paint. I was not expecting comments like, “Why are you taking a class? Just draw! You don’t need a class, that’s silly.”

I also decided to stop doing a lot of extra volunteer duties at work. Response: “But you’ve always done (fill-in-the-blank).” 

These responses are generally directed toward women, by the way. I rarely never see men at the receiving end of such remarks. 

How to react? Just smile and ignore it. Listen to your gut and do what works best for you. As Eric Barker says, the first step to pursuing what makes you happy is to define it for yourself!

 

Speaking of grains (sort of)….

Did you know Doritos is making “lady friendly chips“? (Washington Post)  Read the article, Maura Judkis is hilarious.

An excerpt: 

What do I like about chips? Hmm, I guess I like how they are small and petite, like me! I like how the bags are shiny and have bright colors. Though I know that chips are not technically meant for Ladies like me because their bags are never pink. If only there were chips that came in a pink bag, so I would know that gentle Ladies like myself could consume them with dignity!

Maura Judkis

Bandit

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Drawing practice #51

She stole my most precious entity

through thoughts of pointless excess

midnight worries, daytime anxiety

the cost was heavy and sobering: my success

 

My prescription to the current blooming?

Don’t stare at screens and mirrors

Narcissus was constantly grooming

and, your destiny looms ever nearer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey, Jealousy!

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by Ivan Cabanas

Ahhhh! Love!

Love can be destroyed by jealousy.

 

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This is a mugshot of a man who was convicted for domestic abuse. You might say the signs were obvious from the beginning. But aren’t they always there in the beginning…  the temper, the irrational questioning, the possessive demeanor?

In the past week, several women in my life have told me their stories. It seemed like a sign to share it on my blog.

It starts with a whirlwind affair: the romance and attention. His questions and constant hovering are flattering. He really loves me!

I know far too many women who have dated and/or married such men. These women are smart, loving, and highly educated. It goes both ways, women do this to men, too.

Why do the perpetrators do this? Because (in most cases), they lack self-esteem. No one can give them self-esteem, which means that it’s not going to get better until they work on their self-confidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But the suspicious questions and constant angry surveillance take a toll:  paranoia, insecurity, resentment and finally, anger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listen

 

One of the most valuable pieces of advice I have ever received was from my editor at a San Francisco paper.

I was freelancing as a writer and I was about to interview the oldest living person  in the United States at the time, a 107 year old woman in a nursing home. Bruce, the owner of the paper, said, “When you sit down for an interview, ask the question and wait. Wait longer than you want to because she might tell you something in that space you’d ask the next question.” And he was right.

Time and time again, this advice has been rewarding – in personal and professional – relationships.

Observe successful journalists, mentors and other “wise” people in your life. They listen.

Get comfortable with silence.  It could be full of meaning.

 

 

Letter to the Doctor

Dear Friends and Family,

I just wanted to share a letter I sent to my first oncology surgeon with you. The most empowering, important lesson I have learned on this journey thus far is to take control of your medical records and your health! As most of you know, I was given my diagnosis in a very cold manner: “You have Stage I breast cancer.” That was it. He immediately recommended a mastectomy with reconstruction. I wrote him a letter weeks later, because that day will forever haunt me. Not simply because of the content of the news, but especially due to the delivery. Here is my letter:

Dear Dr. ________:

Although I am sure you have to impart bad news of cancer to many people in your week, each person you inform is hearing it for the first time (unless it’s a recurrence, which I’m sure does not make it easier). You are telling people (as a medical professional) their chances of survival. I want to help you be better at this. When you deliver the news, it is good to be factual, which you were. However, it would not hurt to be sensitive: offer tissues immediately as tears are sprung and look the patient in the eye during the conversation, not her partner.  I left your office feeling as if I was handed a death sentence.

I received a second opinion from another surgeon this week. His approach was different, although the end data was the same. He went over my pathology report line by line (it’s six pages)! He made sure I knew what “in situ” and “invasive” meant. He stressed the very good fortune that I discovered this as early as I did and told me I have time to make an informed decision. He did not press the surgery option at all. He gave me several choices: chemo, radiation, and surgery. He did tell me I need to do something: I cannot and should not let it be.  I felt empowered and hopeful when I left his office. Do not get me wrong, I know I face some serious hurdles in my future.

You strike me as a competent surgeon. However, I do not feel comfortable with you. There is absolutely no lightheartedness, no warmth or levity in our dialogue. I am blessed with an incredibly strong network of support and love within my family and friends. I am seeking the same in my medical team.

My best to you,

Caroline Chung-Wipff