Taking a Break

Here’s why my blog posting has been sporadic lately

Thought I’d hop on here after taking yesterday off. If you follow me regularly, you’ve noticed that my #HistoryMonday & #CurrentEventFriday posts are more sporadic lately. I wanted to try and explain that phenomenon and share some reflections I’ve had lately.

No doubt, your social media feeds are filled with new information about Covid-19 and protests about race in addition to the usual distractions. My feed is no different, and as I skim through the feeds my brain is overwhelmed by opinions from all sides and I’m about to have a breakdown. What’s particularly frustrating is that I’m getting upset at posts from friends and other personalities on both sides of the political spectrum. I believe that Black lives have not always mattered and that we have work to do on race relations, but some of the ideas are ridiculous. I also believe that law enforcement is a challenging profession, but reform needs to happen to add accountability for malfeasance and/or bias with certain individuals. As far as the Coronavirus, I’m getting frustrated that the WHO, CDC, and other medical experts are seemingly taking a stab in the dark every other week on how the virus behaves—masks are necessary for healthcare workers, everybody should wear them, only symptomatic folks should wear them. Besides that, lockdowns didn’t happen soon enough, they were necessary, they were harmful, or protests might be safe as the virus is sleeping. Particularly galling is that funerals with hundreds of people for slain black folk are okay but not for your grandmother because…reasons.

While I might normally agree or ‘like’ posts from friends, family, or other posters on posts that may have political undertones, I’m trying to maintain more radio silence and avoid reacting or commenting publicly. I may add a quip on Twitter since it doesn’t affect my vocation as negatively as if I posted on Facebook. This isn’t to say that I don’t have internal comments and reactions, I just don’t share them publicly. Plus, there’s enough arguing and commenting from everybody else that my voice would get lost.

Many times, I’ll fast Facebook during Lent, and that’s healthy for the 40 days I’m off the site. I probably should fast other social media during that time too. With the hatefulness and insanity on social media, I’m about ready for 2nd Lent so I could get off social media for a while. Even public pages for businesses and organizations have quite a few hateful and terrible comments. As I read comments on a post from NASCAR recently, the racist and mean comments about how a young boy sang the National Anthem were shocking and infuriating.  Unfortunately, since I’m not fasting social media and I see all the crap on it, my brain isn’t in the mood to process writing about history, social issues, and current events. Besides, there’s enough history (or is it histrionics?) and current events going on in your feed, that you can get your fix from others besides myself.

Luckily, my creative side is not as affected by the social media outrage and I can still do my Poetry Wednesday posts. I may also try to put together some travel guides for the next few weeks since that’s generally a positive post and if you’re like me, going on vacation sounds great right about now. Hopefully, social media and the outrage culture that’s dominating the news cycle right now will calm down or my brain gets a reset from vacation that my usual posting for Mondays and Fridays will be back soon. Stay tuned!

Is your brain struggling to function lately?

Holy Week Meditation 2-WHO

Who are you?

Read: Luke 20:1-8

Learn: Anybody who’s spent time learning about journalism is taught to ask the 5 W’s: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How? For the religious leaders, they might sound like they are fans of Keith Moon, Pete Townsend, or Roger Daltrey. They are focused on the Who.  They ask only one question of Jesus—Who are you? They want to know who he thinks he is who has given him authority to teach. He hasn’t spent years studying the Scriptures, He hasn’t spent time having conversation with religious teachers and yet He teaches with authority. Eventually, Jesus asks the leaders who is the authority that makes John’s baptism acceptable. They answer with a response too many of us avoid—I don’t know. So, Jesus says then he doesn’t have to tell them who He is or who gives him authority. He will later warn his audience to beware of these religious teachers for being hypocrites and dangerous people at the conclusion of this chapter. As Jesus continues to visit the temple, the tension builds correspondingly between He and the religious leaders.

Reflect:

  • Who are we? We know who we are in our families. We know who we are at our jobs.
  • Who we are in Christ is more important.
  • We are given instruction of Jesus in the Bible and we are given instruction about God from the Holy Spirit in addition to the Scripture. For those of us who paid attention in Methodist Sunday School classes, we can also learn from tradition, experience, and logic. Through all these authorities that instruct us we can hope to help others find knowledge and love from God.

Pray: Jesus, we know who you are and where your authority is from. We know who we are in You is the most important part of our identity. We pray for those who are not always seen or recognized and struggle to fit in. We know that they are known and loved by You. Thank you for loving us when we may have been outside the will of the Father and saving us. We pray in your name. Amen.

Time for a Change

If I could make changes in sports I would…

Back in the day, a show titled Queen for a Day that encouraged down on their luck women to explain what they would do if their fortunes changed. The show has since inspired euphemisms based on this concept using the format ‘x’ for a Day. In that spirit, I wanted to pretend what changes I’d make if I were King of Sports for a Day.

The changes I’d like to propose are not confined to one sport alone and are mostly related to geographically aligning teams and competitive divisions to provide more TV ratings and ticket sales. Remember, these are all hypotheticals and I have no influence but thought they would be good for discussion.

First up, is my favorite sport—Baseball. Before anything else, the home plate Umpire is only located there to call safe/out on plays at the plate, while balls & strikes are decided by a virtual strike zone operated at MLB headquarters in New York. Next, there shall be 5 expansion teams located in Nashville, Charlotte, New Orleans, Indianapolis, and Montreal. The four U.S. market teams provide baseball in national markets to compete with NFL & NBA franchises. The AL gains the New Orleans and Indianapolis franchises, while the NL receives Nashville, Charlotte, and Montreal teams.  Also, the Texas Rangers will move to the NL so that there are Texas teams in both leagues. I know originally the Houston Astros were an NL team so moving them back would seemingly make more sense, but I can’t see with their recent success moving them, the Rangers could benefit from a change in League alignment. For those concerned about replay decisions, Crew Chiefs are mic’ed up and must explain the ruling that MLB replay officials decide after review. Finally, the DH is only available for both leagues regardless of the home stadium on regular season Sunday games, while the rest of the time pitchers must hit and the DH is only available during the World Series in Games 3 & 6 regardless of NL or AL team hosting, meaning no DH in the AL or NL playoffs.

Next turning to NCAA sports, conference alignments are first on the block. The Big Ten or B1G is a ridiculous name given there are well over a dozen teams in the conference. I suggest the Heartland Conference as the new name. Also, Penn State, Rutgers & Maryland don’t belong here geographically and will be aligned with the ACC. The new Heartland Conference now has two spots open and are filled by Missouri and Cincinnati. Mizzou already has a rivalry with Illinois, and they’ll get to play each other often enough with Conference implications. There are also geographic rivalries rekindled from the Big 12 with Nebraska, and likely many of the Northwestern and Mizzou fans overlap with the Cubs/Cards rivalry from MLB. Also, Louisville leaves the ACC since it’s neither Atlantic or Coastal and aligns with the SEC, as there are already perfect geographic rivalries for UofL with UK & Vandy. West Virginia also leaves the Big 12 and takes over for Texas A&M who joins the American Athletic Conference. While we’re discussing that conference, Connecticut joins the ACC. Sacramento State and San Diego State University also depart the American Athletic Conference and join the Mountain West Conference.

Now turning to the NFL, pass interference rules follow the NCAA rules which negates the spot foul that gifts the offense 30 yards on passes that were questionable to be caught. Replays are handled by the NFL offices in New York. Next, two new expansion teams and a couple of realignments. An expansion team located in St. Louis and playing in the NFC North, let’s say the Pilots incorporating a Burnt Orange and White color scheme. A second expansion team located in Toronto will play in the AFC North probably the Beavers and incorporate a Purple and Silver color combination. The Arizona Cardinals return to Chicago and keep the same name and borrow the Baby Blue and Cardinal Red colors from the St. Louis Cardinals (MLB) uniforms of the 1980’s. The Jacksonville Jaguars relocate to Arizona and become the Arizona Phoenix replacing the teal with a darker Indian Red and adding White as a secondary color while the black becomes only an accent color.

For what it’s worth, this is not meant to be an exhaustive list. I know there would be more moving parts for much of these changes and not everyone will appreciate them. Obviously, I could suggest changes to other sports and further tinker with even the sports I did mention.

What changes would you make if you were ‘Ruler of Sports’ for a Day?

A Close Shave

Time to hide the razor?

We’re just a month out from the end of the year. December for many means Santa Claus known for his beard, red suit, and rotund figure. This month is also known for its connection to facial hair and that’s the topic on deck today.

For nearly a decade or more, No Shave November or Movember has grown in popularity among men as an opportunity to celebrate facial hair. A handful of women have also opted to participate in No Shave November by avoiding shaving their legs.

No Shave November is not only about shelving razors and keeping facial hair untouched but also to bring awareness to prostate cancer and other men’s health issues. Many of those growing out their facial hair set goals that if they can reach so many inches with their beard, they will donate an amount relative to the length of their facial hair.

I usually take advantage of the month to avoid shaving and growing out my facial hair. Thanks to my attempted Halloween costumes that required a clean-shaven look I’m only sporting a little more than 5 o’clock shadow. Eventually, it should reach a length that I like. Normally, I’d already have some facial hair and have a head start on facial hair for the month.

Of course, as I’m always challenged by my boyish good looks, the facial hair doesn’t help. I’ve tried shaving more often but it still doesn’t grow in thick enough to my satisfaction. Besides that, my beard usually begins to itch as it grows so I have to apply lotions or beard oil to grow out the beard. Many times, my facial hair ends up looking like former Colts’ Quarterback Andrew Luck with full neckbeard.

 

 

Year-round, I have at least a goatee, circle beard or some other facial hairstyle. Male-centered meme accounts usually remind that the difference between a man with facial hair is that a clean-shaven man bears more resemblance to a toddler than an adult man. Of course, exaggeration is a hallmark of memes, but men sans facial hair do often skew a decade younger than their actual age. So that’s the main reason I have some degree of facial hair to age myself up.

I know some women appreciate the smooth skin look and are averse to full facial hair while others appreciate the hirsute look. Obviously, I can’t speak for what is physically attractive about men with or without facial hair, but I obviously aspire to look more rugged than not.

My ideal look would be the well-maintained full beard look but as mentioned it becomes challenging. For clarification, the full beard look I’m referring to is similar to Chris Evans or John Krasinski not exactly the Santa beard. Maybe when I get older, I can grow my beard out and have the distinguished silver facial hair look. At least thanks to smartphone apps and Snapchat filters I can have the facial hair I’d like.

What’s your opinion on beards and facial hair?

Another One Rides the Bus

1, 2, 5, 7. Move it or lose it. Get on the bu-.

I’ve written often about my wanderlust and many of the places I’ve traveled to satisfy that itch but oddly enough I’m not a fan of driving long distances or more than an hour and a half drive. I’m sure my visiting mom and dad most weekends during undergrad might negate that since it was 2 hours one way. So, most of the time when I travel it’s with someone else driving and that suits me just fine. Of course, I am also tasked with playing navigator as well. Thankfully there are other ways of traveling, and that’s today’s topic.

The obvious idea is flying from a nearby airport to an airport near the destination city. This still depends on renting a car and learning the layout of the destination city so that still means at least navigation skills to get around. An alternative to this is coach bus tours. Mom and much of dad’s family took a trip to Mackinac Island in Michigan almost a month ago and seemed to enjoy their trip.

Coach bus tours have the advantage of restaurants, lodging, and activities all being included as part of the package you pay for in addition to the driving and navigating. There are at least some stopovers in travel cities so you can explore little shoppes and choose a restaurant for lunch or dinner in these stopovers.

It’s been at least 15 years since I’ve been on a bus tour, but it was a great tour. The family was able to spend Thanksgiving in Philadelphia and New York City while my little brother was in the high school marching band. As my brother was with the band, they marched in Philadelphia’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and we spent the next few days being tourists in New York City.

Looking through some of the nearby coach bus tour catalogs, there are appealing trips I’d like to take. Guess I’ll have to save up and also be sure to have a substitute while I’m away from the pulpit, because #clergyproblems.

Among some of the more interesting trips are to the Southwest, Branson, and even Mackinac. I know that it’s been somewhere around 20 years since I’ve been to Mackinac and I’m sure visiting as an adult would have different interests than when I was in high school. The trips to Branson and the Southwest are particularly appealing because those are destinations I’ve never traveled to and are somewhere on my travel bucket list.

I have also considered the Educational Opportunity (EO) tours available to clergy for overseas trips particularly to the Holy Land and other Mediterranean destinations, or the Methodism tour in England. These are of course pricier, so I would really need to save money for these trips.

Whether traveling by bus, plane, or by car I’m always ready to expand my horizons and visit destinations that I’ve not been to before or it’s been several years since visiting them.

 

Have you ever traveled on a coach bus tour? Where is your favorite destination to travel on a coach bus tour?

A Great Personality

Personally, I don’t know my type.

As an INFJ, blogging comes naturally to me. If you believe that, you’re an INFJ, ESTP, or ESFJ. If you don’t believe that you’re either an ENFP, INTP, or an INTJ. Of course, some of you may wonder what jargon and acronyms I’m talking about. Alternatively, I’m a skeptic and making it up or you’re highly suggestible or as skeptical as I am.

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These 4-Letter acronyms are part of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test. The MBTI was developed by a mother and daughter Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers. Katharine Briggs was an educator and her daughter Isabel was a mystery writer. The pair studied psychologist Carl Jung’s theory of the 4 psychological functions—sensing, intuitions, feeling, and thinking. The women extrapolated this theory into their personality test. They added an emphasis on being extraverted or introverted plus judging or perceiving.

Extraversion/Introversion-Extraverted types learn and function best when interacting with people and the physical world. Introverted types prefer quiet reflection and function best internally.

Sensing/Intuition-Sensing types are good at understanding concrete and tangible concepts. Intuitive types better understand abstract concepts and observe patterns.

Thinking/Feeling-Thinkers observe logical principles and objective truths, this helps them to use deductive reasoning. Feelers try to predict causes and assign motives to others’ actions.

Judging/Perceiving– Judging types prefer a structured manner or approach the world. Perceiving types are more open and do not require as much structure.

There’s much more written about the MBTI, and I’ve included my Cliff’s Notes version of the personality test. You can search for MBTI and take the test on several sites and find out which one of the 16 types you are. I’ve taken the MBTI several times and been identified as a different type almost every time I take it. I am an extroverted introvert, or maybe I’m an introverted extrovert. I like concrete concepts so I can observe patterns. I like objective truth, but I can predict motives. I like structure but I am very laissez faire and function without structure. Supposedly one of each of the quadrants is dominant, but you can have times where you function in the opposite quadrant. It’s also possible that Jung never was able to prove his theory and Mrs. Briggs and Mrs. Briggs-Myers were not much more informed and the test is useless. I’m willing to believe the latter more than the former.

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As the MBTI has faced recent scrutiny, the new personality test is the Enneagram. The most recent test of this personality type I found out I was a 4w6 or maybe a 3w4. The Enneagram is focused on 8 distinct types and tendencies towards a secondary type on the same spectrum. Since it’s relatively new, it’s possible that it is more reliable to the MBTI but I’m a skeptic, nonetheless.

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Before all these personality tests and types, many looked to either the Western or Oriental Zodiac signs. The Western Zodiac predicts people behave and think certain ways because of what time of the month a person is born and the location of constellations during that time of year. The Oriental Zodiac is based on an annual cycle rather than a monthly cycle. Both Zodiac personality indicators are less reliable than the MBTI and Enneagram. The location of stars and planets have little to do with your personality.

We all try to understand why we think and act the way we do, and I think the answer is simple yet complex. We are humans, and like snowflakes we are all unique. Like I mentioned with the MBTI, I vacillate between each type at any given moment.

Even as I can’t seem to make sense of why I change what MBTI type I am, or what Enneagram type I am I attribute it to that I am undefinable and the most unique. I also wonder if maybe I’m on the Autism spectrum or another mental health issue. None of this is ever been proven, and I’m probably grasping at straws like any of the other personality tests or predictors.

Of course, I probably pay attention to personality thanks to external factors. Like the cliche that a homely girl has a great personality, I’m sure based on my not-so-Adonis good looks, hopefully it could be said of me that I have a great personality. 😉

Which personality test do you prefer? What’s your Enneagram or MBTI identification?

I Love Your Accent

How’s your mom ‘n’ em?

We hear all the time, “I love your accent.” Maybe we’ve even said the same to someone else. Everyone has a trace of some accent with whatever language they’re speaking. American English has its own accents that are as separate from each other as British, Australian, or Canadian English.

While it’s true that BBC anchors employ Received Pronunciation (RP) English in the United Kingdom, it takes work to set aside their native accents. Most newscasters stateside employ a similar speech pattern to round off their native accents.

Being from Middle America, I don’t have that pronounced of an accent. Although, I do dip into a slight Southern accent since my location borders the state of Kentucky. So, the typical Midwestern accent is nuanced with a Southern accent as well.

Admittedly, I also slip into the Southern accent because I like the sound of the Southern accent. If I’m watching an Instagram story or other social media post and a cute girl has a Southern accent, I’m even more attracted to her beyond the looks for the accent alone. I also like the Southern accent when employed by anyone telling a story or giving a speech.

I know that there’s variations in the Southern accent, and comedian Tim Wilson observes how they are differentiated according to what he’s experienced.

I saw last month that a travel blog polled their followers about the sexiest accents and the results were surprising if not a little controversial when they were released. Topping the list was Texan, which again as a fan of the Southern accent I can understand, but the runner up was Bostonian. Two totally different accents with particular qualities that seems surprising that both would be at the top. If I had to guess, several women liked the Boston accent for Mark Wahlberg’s Boston accent, but I can’t imagine too many men finding the same accent attractive coming from a woman. The Texan accent at the top would appeal to both sexes. Women would like the Matthew McConaughey Texan accent or Kelly Clarkson for the guys.

For reference, here’s the full list of the top 50 U.S. accents as compiled by www.bigseventravel.com:

Top 50 Sexiest US Accents

Honestly, some of these accents I didn’t realize were so specific. I would usually clump many of those same accents together. But like I mentioned earlier, even my favorite accent, Southern has more variations than you’d typically think. Sometimes depending on the particular pitch or the attitude of the speaker, that same Southern accent could be one that is scary or at least unappealing. Looking in the direction of the whole cast of Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo.

Of course, regional accents overshadow the ESL speaker accents that we run into as well. Whether it’s an Asian, French, Latino, or otherwise those are sometimes appealing to native English ears. It also causes me to wonder if those same ESL speakers have favorite English accents or does it bother them when they are trying to learn the language.

This post is probably not surprising for many to read, given that my Bachelor’s degree is in Languages & Linguistics. Given that, I had to learn not only the Spanish for my concentration, but also the pattern of language formation, including International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) pronunciation to understand other foreign languages. I also had to learn sentence diagramming and other linguistic exercises. So, language is always something that has fascinated me, and mimicking various accents of everyday persons as well as celebrities is a personal hobby of mine.

What accent do you find appealing?

Scar Tissue

I’m going under the knife again and so I decided to write some thoughts about it.

♫Scar tissue that I wish you saw
Sarcastic mister know-it-all♪
Yes, these lyrics describe me very well. Scars cover most of my upper torso and below the skin there is much more scar tissue. As you are reading this, I am in the operating room at the local children’s hospital undergoing even more surgery. So, that means even more scar tissue. I have calculated that this will be my 12th surgery and the 6th of this kind since age 3. Most every friend who seeks to get to know me will inevitably ask how many surgeries I’ve had and this leads to me doing the calculation.
 
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One more and I’ll be like Chris Farley’s Superfan character. “That’s a baker’s dozen, Bob.” Thankfully, mine are preventative surgeries and not heart episodes like the Superfan character.
 
I make jokes and some might think that is odd, but it’s a coping mechanism. I admit that I always have a moment of trepidation immediately before I’m wheeled into the OR. To be sure, my parents and family have been more fearful and concerned than I have as they have all the time during surgery to worry and overthink. During the surgeries, I get more sleep than I do most nights and of course my overthinking is silenced for once during the day.
This surgery is at least the more minor surgery that I have undergone. One surgery replaces the pacemaker itself and is classified as an outpatient procedure. The operating time is roughly the same as a tonsillectomy. Recovery time is a little longer than a tonsillectomy but it doesn’t strain the chest structure. I always hope if surgery is necessary it’s the pacemaker replacement and not the wiring that runs between the heart and the pacemaker. If it’s the wires being replaced, that usually means open heart surgery and requires longer hospitalization. So, you can see why I choose the pacemaker replacement alone.
 
As always, I am always grateful for the surgical team that carry out the operation. I have been lucky that the same surgeon has done all but two of the surgeries. That helps put me at ease since he knows what to expect when he takes scalpel in hand and I’m on the operating table. It also helps me in establishing trust with the surgical team because I have built a rapport with the lead of the surgical team. I am well aware that eventually the surgeon will be retiring and I’ll have to establish a relationship with a new surgeon. I have confidence in who that may be, and I’ll cross that bridge when it comes time.
 
I’ll close with asking that if you’re the praying type, say a prayer that pain is minimal and the recovery is expedient.

If You’re Not into Yoga..

Should I stretch outside my comfort zone? Yoga not believe my answer

For your consideration:
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I saw this photo the other day on Instagram from El Arroyo in Austin, Texas. El Arroyo is a popular restaurant and has a daily pithy saying on their sign that many online can repost. This post was timely since this topic was already in my planning calendar and the sign was posted on Tuesday from Texas.
 
My first reactions to the word ‘yoga’ are thoughts of soccer moms and yuppies celebrating a new Eastern exercise regimen.
A second reaction is singing the lyric from “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” by Rupert Holmes. This reaction would bother the singer of this hit and CNN’s Jake Tapper for what it’s worth.
 
I first learned about yoga more in depth during my time at Indiana State University. During warmups for drama class we practiced the easier poses and breathing techniques—not exactly my favorite thing.
I learned more about the roots of yoga during World Religions class taught by Prof. [SHE WHO MUST NOT BE NAMED] who wanted the class to know the wonders of yoga. You might be tempted to ask why yoga was included in a world religions class and that’s a valid point. Our professor explained that Yoga began as a practice of Hindus who would sought to find a way of communing with the world of the divine.
 
By breathing, stretching, and chanting the syllable of the highest deity—Brahma what we know as ‘Om’, Hindus reach enlightenment. Hinduism believes that all are divine and connected together, a belief known as pantheism. So, I’ve always been more skeptical of mixing yoga with my faith as an act of syncretism. I’ve also seen many well-meaning Christians who are as equally or more informed as I am about Christianity that practice yoga.
 
All this to say, I would avoid the chanting and mantras that do have connections to another faith that is contradictory to Christianity. This has been done with Christmas Trees and Easter Bunnies Christians were originally pagan objects of worship that the Church “sanctified” shortly the advent of Christendom. I am sure that replacing the mantras with Christian words, yoga could redeem it somehow.
I write this not to excuse Christians who want to practice yoga, on a more personal level I write it to help myself set aside the issues I may hold towards it. I know that for many yoga has helped their heart rates, joint pain, and stress levels. For myself, I need to find ways to help with joint pain and stress levels and a stable heart rate is worth considering.
 
During this season of Lent, it is encouraged to sacrifice or fast something while also adding something in place of the sacrificial object. Adding in 20 minutes of Christian yoga while shutting out negative distractions could prove beneficial to me. It’s at least worthy of consideration in my mind and per the song mentioned earlier, that’s at least half a brain.
 
What are your thoughts on yoga, can Christians practice it with some minor adjustments?

Current Event Friday #44

A #CurrentEventFriday that makes me look back on what I’ve learned from blogging.

Happy Friday everyone, I am back with another #CurrentEventFriday. This one is more localized and personal, but hey I’m the one who decides what I’m writing—it’s for sure an event and it’s relatively current. I think it qualifies.

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So last Friday while I was up at O’ Dark-Thirty preparing to return to Winter I saw this badge in my WordPress notifications center. A year ago, I signed up for a WordPress domain and registered my blog and decided to share my thoughts with whoever might listen. I expected much of my family and several close friends to follow but have been happy to encounter other WP bloggers who follow my posts and I’ve returned the favor. I mentioned in my first blog post ever that I started this as a way of catharsis and to help my writing by getting my thoughts written down. Since taking this journey just over a year ago I have observed the following about myself and my writing.

1) I still struggle with self-image, self-doubt, and resentment.

2) Blogging challenges me to be a better writer.

3) I have new interests, and old ones are able to find an outlet.

With these three observations in mind, I want to explain them more in order to get my thoughts done and open myself up for feedback and critique.

1) Struggling with self-image, self-doubt, and resentment. My first blog post detailed why I decided to name the blog On the Radar and its particular backstory. In that post I mentioned that over the course of my adolescence and adulthood, I have been particularly targeted for my small stature and the consequences thereby of that stature. If you notice much of my Poetry Wednesday selections, that theme still runs deep. Much of other early blog posts lamented my singleness, my seemingly adrift notions of the future, and being caught between mid-life and early adulthood. I know that many times I’ve been accused of having a negative or pessimistic outlook. I receive that warning and work to balance my perceptions and my written or oral communications should reflect that balance.

2) Challenged to be a better writer. One of my continuing education professors encouraged me several times in class that I should write more than just for academics. Honestly, I’m used to getting decent grades and my writing usually isn’t dinged too hard by graders. My dad has often praised my writing ability but I to some degree brush it off because of who he is—our parents always gush about our abilities, it’s their job. I have never struggled to write my papers for class. I have however struggled to want to write them. But with blogging, I actually want to write, but many times I find myself challenged that I have come face to face with the dreaded phenomenon known as writer’s block. Written assignments for class have specific instructions and deadlines and I can type just about anything close to what others in class have typed and we all receive passing grades or higher. Yet there are times when I’m determined that I should write something worthwhile on the blog and hardly anything comes. I’ve learned that’s okay though. Forcing it likely leads to a sloppy product and not necessarily anything that I’ll be proud of. I want to take pride in what I choose to write about. I want to get passing grades and move on in the things that are chosen for me to write about and therein lies the biggest difference.

3) Discovering new interests, rediscovering old interests, and directing the old interests.  Partly connected to the second observation is how I meet those challenges of writing. My workspaces have never been accused of being orderly and clean. Sure, they might be for a day or two, but it’s short-lived. The hemispheres of my mind are in nearly constant turmoil—the hemisphere that desires order and control is usually overcome by the creative and imaginative hemisphere. I have my topics listed and scheduled for the blog and that helps. It’s that organized calendar that has helped though to tap into my creativity. By dedicating 3 out of the 5 days to a particular theme, I can focus the creative efforts. Ny focusing those efforts, I have learned something about myself I never thought I could say, “I like poetry.” As a kid, I liked Dr. Seuss & Shel Silverstein because they had funny nonsensical stories and poems that rhymed. As you get older, more of the poems you read are in antiquated English and worse they don’t even rhyme. But as I started writing one poem and then another and another still, I discovered I liked poetry—well at least the poetry I wrote. I’m still not exactly sold on the free verse and modern poetry that has a stilted kind of rhythm and obscure viewpoints, but that’s true of a lot of modern art. I have also enjoyed that both the beginning and the end of each week are dedicated to my interest from school when I was younger—social studies. I have always been a student of history and been keenly connected to current events. I find immense joy in using Mondays as a means of being what I would want to be If I were teaching history. Fridays allow me the opportunity to engage everyone about a particular current event going on locally, nationally, or globally. Again, this is my attempt at being that social studies teacher that encourages and facilitates discussion with their students about the sundry events that happen to be unfolding that particular season. All of this to say, most of this third observations shows that teaching in some form or other is still part of the driving force in me.

 

What have you learned about me from my blogging?