Tag Archives: attitude

Perseverance

 

One of the most intriguing attributes of an interesting person, to me anyway, is perseverance. As a species if we had not had this background of grit we would still be in the dark ages. Tenacity, determination, steadfastness. These are all attributes of the people that move this world forward. It’s not about education, it’s not about finances or status, it’s about an unwillingness to make do with mediocrity.

I knew a man with a grade eight education who started his own business and became wildly successful. He had a beautiful family and a beautiful life all because he did not believe it when someone told him ”no”. I have also known people who have been given every opportunity in the world and still never made anything of themselves. When life is too easy there is no incentive to try harder. When life is hard it can be too easy to give in.

When I was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I was feeling rather sorry for myself. At the time I was using two canes to walk and it was extremely difficult. I spent most my day sitting in a chair looking at a black-and-white TV. (It wasn’t that long ago! It was just a cheap TV.) My mother, never one to mince words, came into my room and crossed her arms. She made a point of saying that I had two choices: I could sit back and be a victim of this horrible disease and wallow in my self-pity or I could get off my back side and make a life for myself through the limitations that I may encounter. Then she looked at her watched, tapped the glass and said you’ve got “15 minutes, go!” Well, I started to laugh and then I actually understood what she was saying:  we all have choices to make.

Life is not easy. We all face challenges, some severe and some minor. Sometimes we need to not be brave. Sometimes we need to wallow in self-pity and in misery. We need to cry and rant and get it out of our system. Just don’t stay in that wallow. I get depressed. I get miserable. But I don’t stay there. I put on a movie that I know is going to make me sob uncontrollably and then I clean myself up and move on. I’ve made the choice to have a life. I worked for 30 years at a great police department. I travelled; I took a cruise. I worked my life around my MS and I have no regrets.

 

 

 

It’s a Sexual Thing

Ha ha ha! That got your attention! Don’t you dare deny it!

I recently read an article about an actor that I particularly admire. He had just received glowing reviews on a play he had completed and a Netflix miniseries that was brilliant but on social media there were an unseemly number of people who could only concentrate on his sexuality. Say what?! He’s an actor. He is charismatic and humble and a bit of a Chameleon. Everything that a good actor should be. I like that he acts. Period. Why are so many people hung up on things that are none of their damn business?

Perhaps they don’t understand what the word ‘personal’ means. It means it’s my business and not yours. Now granted, I understand we live in a scandalous and gossip minded society and anything that they could twist into perceived dirt is considered fair game. So, my question is this:  if I delved into your life and did a deep dive through all your secrets and then plastered it all over Twitter for the world to see, would you be upset? I would be livid. My personal life is my private life: not for general consumption. Actors are exactly the same. Yes, they have a public persona but I’m afraid that’s all I believe the public is entitled to. They all put their pants on one leg at a time, they all have to eat and you know, clean their colons.  Just like you and me.

I once read that an American power couple, both actors, had purchased a cottage in northern Ontario and were absolutely thrilled when people left them alone. I was so proud of that and so sad that it was worth mentioning. But they live in a world where they are basically considered fair targets. What a disturbing world.

I have stated in the past that I live my life from the seat of a wheelchair. But that does not define me.  The fact that I like cheese and jam on toast does not define me. My sexuality, the colour of my hair or the cut of my jib does not define me. My character does define me! What I do in public does define me. That is who I am and it is on that I will be judged. It is exactly the same for a public figure, why can’t people see that?

In the Background

When I was a youth my father took me driving. He used to quiz me as I was behind the wheel (terrified that I would do something wrong because of course my father was in the passenger seat)! He would ask me the colour of the car behind me and I had to answer without looking. What were the colours of the cars on either side of me, how many people were in the cars? He taught me that it is in the background, the places we don’t usually look, where there is a true value to be aware of.

I have known many police officers in my life, professionally and personally. No, I am not a criminal! And one thing I learned about them very early on is it is that they are always aware of what’s going on around them. Their eyes are almost on a swivel, constantly moving. I felt safe in their presence, gun notwithstanding. And I learned to do it too.

I may not be able to tell you what people are wearing around me within 10 feet nowadays but there was a time when I could. And I would do it unconsciously. Many, many years ago I was at a mall and was leaving with my purchases. At the time there was a serial molester about and young women were being warned to take care. I carried my keys in my fist and I put my head on a swivel. It was a bright beautiful Saturday afternoon and as I stepped off the curb, I noticed a young man do exactly the same thing at exactly the same time. He glanced at me and then turned away but he continued to move in the same direction I was. My heart was in my throat but I continued on to my car and quickly got inside. No hesitation. I glanced over and yes, he was looking at me and then turned on his heel and went back into the mall. This was in the days before cell phones so when I got home, I called the police and gave them a detailed description of the man. Was he the molester? I have no idea. But the man they arrested a few days later resembled the one I saw.

Being aware is not just a safety thing. When I watch TV, I always take the time to see what’s going on in the background and sometimes it explains the foreground. It’s almost as if we are programmed to see only what is in front of us. We have peripheral vision and it is quite acute if we would just pay attention.  Perhaps that is the key: we need to pay attention…

The Art of the Lie

I don’t lie. That is not an arrogant statement of superiority. I’m simply not very good at it. My coworkers used to laugh when I told a lie. Everybody knew I was lying. So why bother trying? What I was good at, was obfuscation and misdirection. Damn, I’m good at that! And that is not an arrogant statement of superiority. It is simply my means of getting around things I am uncomfortable with.

A friend had just come back from spending an obscene amount of money at a salon for a new haircut. She was obviously very pleased with it and asked me what I thought. Now I care very deeply for this friend and I would never do anything that would cause her any kind of pain.  Unfortunately, I was not in a position to keep my mouth shut because I had been asked a direct question. So, I answered in the most indirect manner I could. I simply told her that it was an incredible look. I didn’t say it was an incredibly good look.  She looked like her hair had been cut by an eight-year-old with dull scissors high on crack cocaine. I’m not kidding. And I wasn’t lying. It happened many years ago and we laugh about it now. She did eventually see the humour.

Politicians are known for their lies and it is expected by everyone. I find that difficult to understand. I don’t like being lied to. Especially when it’s done openly and everybody knows it’s a lie! And yet it seems to be the way we live our lives. We expect those around us to lie to us. I’m one of those naïve people that expects others to tell me the truth. I don’t know why am surprised when I find out they haven’t. But I am. Look at advertising. Now these people are good. They lie so well you don’t know it’s happening. Case in point…

A very large chain that sells hamburgers recently laid the claim that their beef is grass fed. I won’t use their name because that would be unkind. But here’s my question: what were they fed before? They haven’t told a lie. But they’ve taken a statement of truth and elevated it to gospel. I see cows in the fields all the time and their faces are in the, oh I don’t know, grass! Cows have been eating grass since they crawled out of the primordial slime several million years ago. And the methane which is produced from that grass is one of the contributors to global warming. I’m just saying.

Words are wonderful to wander through, to play with, to communicate. But they can also be used to confuse, to manipulate and to harm. We all need to watch what we say but sometimes the mistakes that we inadvertently speak are the basis of some of our best humour. And we all need a good laugh. Especially these days.  So please, accept my words in the spirit in which they are given and enjoy.

I Met a Word

I met a word the other day,

It popped up with no notice.

It seemed it had a beef with me,

Something about a lotus?

 

There was a symbol I had missed,

It had to do with flowers.

I promise truly I have no thoughts,

Perhaps those are my powers.

 

It is a symbol in many cultures,

Of enlightenment and rebirth.

I will not lay a claim to either,

Unless you mean my girth!

 

That silly word is having fun,

I think at my expense.

Perhaps it’s time for moving on,

At least that is my sense.

 

So many words do float about,

They are looking for a place.

Somewhere safe to stay a while,

I think that is the case.

 

So for now I’ll let it go,

But keep it close in mind.

I never know when I might need,

A word so well defined.

The Mirror

 

When you look in the mirror,

What do you see,

Do you see who you are?

Or perhaps who you could be.

 

The reflection looking back,

Is not all that you are.

There’s so much beneath,

So much there by far!

 

Your soul can’t be seen.

Your courage is concealed.

Kindness and love,

Are not yet revealed.

 

The image reflected,

Is merely a start.

The who that’s inside,

Is the really good part.

 

So, remember these words,

And take them to heart.

You are who you are,

And that’s pretty damn smart!

 

 

A Perfect Moment

The frantic pace that life inflicts,

Surrounds us every day.

Sights and sounds bombarding,

That fills one with dismay.

 

Take a moment, maybe two,

And calm your weary brow.

Close your eyes and take a breath,

And I will show you how.

 

Steam wafts gently upwards,

Escaping  from the hollows,

Of a  perfectly made cup of tea.

A scent of spice soon follows.

 

Ripples brush the surface,

Your breath a tender breeze.

Hands clasp around the warmth,

And soon you feel at ease.

 

Let this moment heal you,

Feel peace in its embrace.

Knowing you can always find,

This perfect state of grace.

 

 

Odd

What a silly little word. It almost catches in the back of your throat. Odd. One vowel, two consonants. And yet it is a word that has so many uses, some good, some bad. It is one’s perception that dictates how this word is understood.  Odd, strange, abnormal, unusual, peculiar, funny, idiosyncratic, individual… It is a very long list.

There were an odd number of pieces. The weather is odd these days. That person speaks with an odd accent.  I have been feeling odd lately. I had an odd dream last night. The word has so many meanings and each of those meanings can have different connotations. I’m feeling odd. That could be a bad thing as: I don’t feel well at all or it could be a great thing as: I’m feeling on top of the world and that’s so unusual!

I like things that are a little off the norm.  A little unusual. When I was a child, I used to look up into the sky at night and paint a picture of what my mind saw.  Years later I learned about astronomy and the collection of stars that formed an image. I learned about the stories behind the stars and I was fascinated. So many people look up at the stars and see just stars. Those who study astronomy see something different.

I think those with open minds see so much more. They don’t see odd; they see unusual and fascinating. They see possibilities and opportunities. Labels are restrictive and limiting.  If we judge based on labels, we may miss the underlying truth of the individual.  Labels have a place in identifying but they are only a tool. Used properly ‘odd’ can be fascinating and incredible.

The world is full of creatures and plants that are considered oddities. They don’t fit the norm. Take a look at the platypus. I think it’s quite an adorable looking creature but it is odd.  It is a mammal that has a beak like a duck, a body like an otter, webbed feet, lays eggs and the males have ankle spurs that are venomous. Then there are plants that eat meat. It only seems fair since plants have been eaten by animals from the beginning.  Pitcher plants regularly eat insects but they have been known to digest the occasional rat or shew.  Does anybody remember Day of the Triffids!? Human eating plants take over the world. Yum. Now that was odd and not in a good way.

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. One person’s odd is another person’s inspiration. Being odd it’s simply being yourself, an individual. I have been called odd and I liked it. It means I’m not like everybody else and that makes me special. Just like you.

 

 

 

I Love Reality TV 

A Blast From My Past                  Originally posted in April 2017.

Now don’t judge, let me explain. I love Reality TV; you know, what is ‘Real’ not some half-baked version of reality. Seriously some of this “Reality” TV is not my reality!

Now don’t get me wrong. I know how wildly popular these shows are. I personally do not enjoy watching people backstab, scream at each other and generally act like jerks for entertainment. It’s just not my thing. The ‘reality’ programs I do enjoy are the cooking shows. I have never cooked at that level but I’m fascinated by the people that do. Some of them are average people off the street. I find them interesting and supportive of each other. Yes, there are the occasional jerks, but I do try to ignore them and usually they’re booted off the show relatively early.

I even started watching a program, well a game show actually, where they are forging weapons. Seriously! But the passion they show for creating something beautiful and deadly it’s fascinating to me. The other kind of reality I enjoy watching are actually called documentaries. Now that is as real as it gets. I watched a program on the letters Queen Victoria wrote during her more than six decades of reign in England. It was a little bit history, a little romance and a lot of a strong woman. That’s a reality I can get behind.

I’m not sure I understand why some of these “programs” are designated as reality when they’re really just live-action game shows. A group of people are put in a box and live together. I have never watched the program so I’m probably not qualified to judge but to be honest I could never get past the ads for them. It simply looks like a group of people who want to see who can be the meanest or the most obnoxious to gain a questionable prize. I probably don’t understand the concept.

I did watch for a while the game show where people are deserted on an island but when it deteriorated into ‘how badly people can treat each other’, I lost interest. It was fascinating to watch the culture of the island as it was often interwoven into the contest. But that too became unwatchable.

When was the last time you saw something absolutely new on TV?  Everything seems to be a remake of a program from decades ago, even the movies. And then when something interesting does pop up it shows up on other channels with different actors but a similar premise. Have we grown so stale, so jaded that we can’t handle innovation? I find it amusing when I’m watching a show and enjoying it only to recognize something I saw in my childhood in the new program. I guess each new generation has to experience what we did decades ago in the entertainment field. Perhaps if we didn’t continue to live so long, we wouldn’t be noticing all the rehashes.

Still, I watch what’s on TV, some I enjoy some I don’t. And I think I’ll keep watching the reality TV that I enjoy. Parfait anyone?

 

A Broken Pencil

I broke a pencil the other day,

It hit the paper hard.

It seems I had a thought to mind,

That we must be on guard.

 

I guess it started as a rant,

And seemed to grow from there.

Never one to hold my thoughts,

I also need to share.

 

Fear and hatred all about,

A culture of despair.

Is this the way we want to live?

Or must we now beware?

 

The pencil hit the point with rage,

My fury was too strong.

And the moment I had done it,

I knew that I was wrong.

 

Shame was all I really felt

There was another way.

Hate cannot be met with hate,

It’s love we must convey.

 

This is the time to heal our wounds.

A time when we should bond.

All it takes is willingness,

And we could move beyond.

 

I know that we can make amends,

And all can live as one.

Beam a smile at a stranger,

And lo, you have begun.