Health, Personal Success, relationships

5 Magic Words

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It Is What It Is

I used to hate this saying. I often heard it after I complained about something. What kind of retort is that? It just made me angry. “It is what it is.

When I was a kid, my home was toilet papered and egged. They wrote  “chink” on the driveway. “This happens,” my father said as our family cleaned the mess up. The words stung, like alcohol on an open wound. How could he react in such a weak manner?

And yesterday, my daughter cried. A boy she considers to be a good friend made a racist joke about Asian eyes and dental floss. I was inflamed! But she sat – quiet and still and oh-so-wise, in the puddle of ignorance, stupidity and pain this boy caused. She said, “I want to talk to him and explain why it was hateful and hurtful. He will understand and never do it again. I know he’s a good kid.” As her mother, I could only see red. Someone broke my daughter’s heart and made her question this world (once more), just so he could get laughs. 

And I knew. I knew the anger I felt was a false sense of power.Being angry makes you feel energized and ready to mobilize. But anger is fear on steroids.

“It is what it is” is not a rallying cry to be passive. It means,”what you see before you, IS.” 

When I was undergoing surgery for breast cancer, these five words were embodied in the doctor’s confident hands, the nurses’ night time vigil and my family and friends’ constant support. This IS the situation and we’re taking care of it right now.

It’s about accepting that which you cannot change. If you can’t change it, your anger and defiance – your energy – are wasted. You continually generate negativity.

In fact, acceptance is the first step to proactivity. Once you accept reality (that which IS, that which you cannot change), you can use your energy and creativity to begin to make steps to exact change. A couple of wise friends of mine often say, “This, too, shall pass.” Everything is impermanent. Accept each season.

 

Personal Success

Mogee*

 

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The Mosquito buzzes loudly

and gives you time to escape

the angry welts of last nights’ feast

evidenced upon your nape

 

negligent neighbors leave pools green

the larvae turn to pupa

The process is quite enthralling

tho it might cause The Zika

 

A solution is in order

but the slayer you so dread

is the Desert Bat Sonor’

whose winged path you dare not tread

 

 

*Mogee is Korean for mosquito

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Bonus picture of my dog.

Health

Meet Fear with Courage, Love and Art

Josie with her air violin
Josie with Her Air Violin

 

A few years ago, Josie and Ava were watching a Disney program. At 8 and 9, they were excited about a young, rising star named Christina Grimmie. Her love and talent of music fueled their desire to be musicians.

When Ms. Grimmie was shot to death, my daughters were devastated and in shock. Why? Why her? She was such a good person. 

There is no answer to this question. We keep asking this question and there is no satisfactory answer.

On the heels of this tragedy, another one occurred: 50 people killed in Orlando. Innocent young lives were taken by an armed and mentally deranged person.My girls were very quiet. “I’m so….sad,” Ava said before she fell asleep.

Two weeks ago, our neighbor across the street murdered his wife with a gun. To my children, it seems like guns are everywhere. We live in Arizona…America…so they are. Guns are everywhere.

I don’t want my children to grow up fearful and angry.

I don’t want my children to be victims of terror or violence.

I don’t want my children to be disgusted with their world.

Ava had decided months ago that every Monday during summer vacation, she would play her violin for the Alzheimer residents at a nearby facility. As I drove her and Josie to the center today, I told them that every person can only control how they act in this world. “You two are influencing your world for the better. You are spreading love and music to lonely people and you help them be happy. I’m very proud of you.”

They nodded silently.

Sometimes, the only answer to senseless violence is the persevering action of kindness. Love will always prevail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personal Success

Security

Tonight, I tucked Ava into bed and whispered, “How about tonight you don’t suck your thumb?” She replied in her snotty pre-pre-teen way, “Yeah, that’s gonna happen.”

She reemerged from her room to whine and half-cry that she has a canker sore. Willey jumped from his chair to give her a swig of Listerine, coaching her to swish for as long as possible. She whimpered in pain. Then he swept her up in his arms and flipped the light switch off with her fanny. “You can turn the light off with your butt.” She giggled as he carried her to her bed.

I’m sitting in bed, typing, with an ice pack on my chest. I had my fifth (and final, I swear!) surgery Monday. It’s been almost one week. I felt a swelling and bruising start today and basically freaked out because the last thing I need right now is an infection and to go back to Dr. Parson’s office for drains. That would be a major bummer. This surgery was to correct some positioning and to give me “nipples.” It went well as far as I can tell. It will be a resounding success if I keep infection at bay!

During this summer break, we took a vacation to Legoland. It was just what we needed: mindless fun. Ava had her first roller coaster ride and Josie rode mini-cars with her sister, both earning “drivers’ licenses.”

In addition to this fun, I worked all of June, teaching remedial English to incoming 7th graders and training for my new Ed Tech job. The teaching was challenging. How do you work with 12 year old students who can’t spell “dirt?” How do you impress upon these kids that they need to do their best ALL of the 15 days of summer school, not just two or three? How do you retain your cool factor while admonishing them for eating Doritos and candy for breakfast?

I’ve also taken this time to address dental and medical appointments for the girls. Ava is starting to show an overbite as well as what orthodontists call “overjet,” which is caused by her night time thumb-sucking. I want to do the right thing. I want to purchase an appliance if that is what is necessary. I know she will stop sucking her thumb if her thumb is met by a row of metal on the roof of her mouth. But I am mourning for her at the same time. She has always sucked her thumb and it brings great comfort to her. Her thumb is her best friend. It’s time for her to find security in something else, but what? Peaceful thoughts? I wish I had her equivalent of the thumb…something that brings me instant calm and repose.

Security is a state of mind. Sometimes, in the deepest, darkest corners of my mind, I wonder if I still have some residual cancer. Did they get it all? How will I know whether it’s back? I want a 100% guarantee that I will remain cancer free forever. I want to know that Josie and Ava will always be safe and happy and employed. I want to know that Willey will always be healthy, too. There are no guarantees. There is only the opportunity to shed light on the dark corners of my mind with the joy of the present moment. When we are fully present in the moment, there is no room for fear or worry.