Archive | March 2021

Facing the Inevitable

The recent theme of my life seems to be “dealing with the totally predictable” and figuring out how to respond. (Should I pretend to be as shocked as others seem to genuinely be?) Is this the definition of maturity? I don’t know.

First, work. I have been wanting cashiering experience. The textile manager has consistently told me that the only way I can cashier is for them to find someone that is willing to do my current job (working the floor and taking care of textiles) in the middle of the week. That was frustrating, but reasonable sounding. Then we got a new store manager. When I told him that I wanted to cashier, he was enthusiastic. When I told him that I might be tough to replace on the floor, he said that “anyone can do your job.” Alrighty then. I have cashiered a few times. Meanwhile…back in January, I asked the obviously pregnant cashier how far along she was. She said seven months. March is now coming to an end. The store manager asked me last week to be the morning cashier, starting when the current one gives birth, until they replace her. No problem. In my mind, I am screaming, “You haven’t come up with a replacement? You didn’t see this coming?! Seriously?” Wow. This is such a lack of planning that my head is spinning. But I am determined to use this opportunity to my advantage, expanding my skills and making myself useful. And I think the store manager is going to find out the hard way just how much I do and how difficult to replace I am when I am tethered to the cash register. This will be a little bit fun to watch.

Then there are my relatives. I have two living brothers. One has multiple terminal illnesses, but has changed his lifestyle radically. The other doesn’t share his medical conditions but still drinks and smokes. Imagine the terminal one looking at the other one and saying, “That gut you have is not fat. Your liver has stopped working. You’re in bad shape.” When Ma told me about that, I understood that the terminal brother might outlive the other brother because he has made the lifestyle changes. That’s what living with Barry taught me: if you make the changes, you can outlive everyone’s expectations. When a terminally ill person tells you that you are in bad shape, you might want to listen. What hurts is knowing how shocked Ma will be when the smoking/drinking brother dies. The protections of denial come at the price of looking not very bright in the meantime. Denial only protects the individual. Everyone else still sees everything perfectly and can make appropriate plans. Shock at the inevitable gains only so much sympathy. To some degree, death is always a shock, but dealing with it is the earlier, the better.

Personally. I have paid off the cemetery. When I die, I am all set, with regards to them. I have even paid for the end date on my grave marker. In a couple weeks, I am meeting with someone to pre-arrange my cremation and have my cremains interred at the cemetery. I want to make it so that I can be anywhere, fall asleep, not wake up, and have everything taken care of. I still need to pay for that. I just don’t feel like I can start the next phase of my life without finishing everything regarding Barry’s and my final arrangements. Good luck to me.

Cancel Culture and Personal Responsibility

I have heard that conservatives are upset about “cancel culture.” It took me a while to figure out why. I scratched my head about it for a long time.

In the 90s, I belonged to some seriously conservative Protestant churches. And they boycotted pretty much everything. One holiday season, I was sitting in my car. It was flurrying. And it occurred to me that there was nowhere left for me to shop. This was before Amazon and the internet were huge. People in my church didn’t approve of K-Mart because, I guess, they sold pornography. They didn’t like Target because Target was pro-choice. I think Mervyn’s might have been owned by Target. Home Depot was owned by K-Mart. And my dad didn’t approve of Meijer’s because he saw them as union-busting. I had nowhere left to go. That was when I decided that I would never again allow anyone else to tell me where not to shop. I was done.

And then there was the whole Disney fiasco. I had some friends that picketed the local ABC station because ABC is owned by Disney, whom, I guess, is too gay-friendly. Also, NYPD Blue showed Dennis Franz’s ass. One person in particular was telling me about picketing. As she was speaking, she was wearing an Eeyore sweatshirt. Eeyore is a Disney character. She may as well have been picketing McDonald’s while eating a Big Mac. Did she even understand the concept of a boycott? Someone should inform her as to what boycotts are and how they work. The Southern Baptist Convention boycotted Disney. If you do not remember any of this, you are not alone. Disney did not blink. They emerged victorious over the largest Protestant denomination in the United States. The boycott’s effect was negligible.

You see, I believe in personal responsibility. Where you spend your money says something about you. Even the brand of toothpaste you buy puts some people to work and some people out of work. All actions have consequences. Both of my grandfathers retired from Motor Wheel. My husband retired from General Motors. I have healthcare through the GM/UAW Retirees Benefit Trust. My father would probably have a heart attack if I drove a “rice burner” (Japanese auto). I will only ever buy American, probably, at least while my parents are alive, and probably until I die.

What am I saying? Conservatives invented cancel culture. They’re just not real good at it. When conservatives boycott businesses, the results are nil. When liberals boycott businesses, everything changes instantly, right here, right now. Liberals are a slight majority in this country (with their percentage growing through the younger generations). Liberal boycotts of conservative businesses are an existential threat to those businesses. If conservatives do not approve of “cancel culture,” then they should not have invented it.

We Have Solutions Now

I am so excited and frustrated all at once.

I have been doing a lot of work on myself. My shrink recommended the “Crappy Childhood Fairy.” I am taking a class from her. The Fairy recommended Pete Walker’s “Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving.” OMG. The book addresses so many issues I have had in my life. This book did not exist when I was a young adult. And I desperately needed it. I now understand my shame attacks as flashbacks from a pre-verbal time in my life. This book led to his other book “The Tao of Fully Feeling.” Learning about CPTSD led to Gabor Mate’s “When the Body Says No.” It’s not about blame; it’s about responsibility–the ability to respond. Mate even has a book about addiction: “In The Land of Hungry Ghosts.”

I am now absolutely convinced that there are solutions for whatever problems anyone has anymore. Suffering indefinitely is unnecessary. There were no solutions when I was growing up in a small town for my family’s dysfunction. We didn’t know why some people got this thing or that or have any answers. If you were miserable, too damn bad. Who could blame some people for alcoholism or addiction, when misery was the only seeming alternative?

What I love about the Fairy is that she treats CPTSD, not as a psychological issue, but as a neurological one. “Brain dysregulation” is what she seeks to resolve, not some weird subconscious issue you have no power over today. It’s not that there are no psychological issues to be resolved, only that it is a million times easier to deal with them once you start to heal your nervous system. We know this now. We knew none of this when I was a kid.

It’s just such a different world today. On the one hand, everything seems to be unraveling. On the other hand, we know how to knit things back together in such a way that the most people possible can benefit.