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#MicroblogMondays 143: Boots

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

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One of my biggest problems with air travel is my inability to wear my boots.  Maybe I could wear my boots, but I never risk them when I have to go through security because they have steel toes.  I will not pack my boots with my baggage, which means I never fly with my boots.

My boots make me feel like myself, and because I can’t wear them when I need to go somewhere on a plane, I never feel like myself when I’m on a trip.

I wear my boots all year round.  Pretty much every day.  Sometimes they’re tied.  Sometimes they’re not.  They make me feel powerful even though I know in my heart that I’m not powerful.  My big, black, clunky boots are the most Melissa thing I own.

Do you have something you wear that makes you feel like you?

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Are you also doing #MicroblogMondays? Add your link below. The list will be open until Tuesday morning. Link to the post itself, not your blog URL. (Don’t know what that means? Please read the three rules on this post to understand the difference between a permalink to a post and a blog’s main URL.) Only personal blogs can be added to the list. I will remove any posts that are connected to businesses or are sponsored post.


May 22, 2017   19 Comments

Melissa and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Flight

Last weekend, I went to Mom 2.0 in Orlando.  It was great, thank you for asking.  I met interesting people and ate a lot of cupcakes and got to hang out with friends I rarely get to see.

And then it was time to go home.

When I got to the airport, there was a long line at check-in, and I couldn’t figure out how to get into the line itself.  I finally asked an airport employee who informed me that the end of the line was back by the Sea World store.  I dragged my suitcase to the end of the line, my heart pounding, where another employee informed me that there was absolutely no chance that I would make my flight.

The woman in front of me snarled that we would make our flights.  We had almost two hours until our respective flights.  This was not going to be a problem.

This was going to be a problem.  You know that, right?

I learned a lot about this woman’s life because we were together in line for an hour.  Her elderly mother informed me that she just loved the enormous grey streak in the front of my hair and that it was very “brave.”  (Yeah, it is brave, you know why?  Because I’m doing a freakin’ Rogue cosplay every single day of my life.)

I finally made it to the front and checked my bag, asking what would happen if I couldn’t make it through security in the next half hour when my flight boarded.  The employee shrugged.  I moved into the security line where I inched forward for about 45 minutes until I got through and could take an Ativan as I ran for the gate.  I jumped onto the plane.  Five more minutes and I would have missed it.

The Ativan (remember, I’m a bad flyer) started kicking in as we were taxiing away from the gate.  And that’s when the pilot’s voice came over the loudspeaker.  “Everyone, I want to apologize, but we’re going to hit turbulence this whole trip.  Start to finish.  It’s going to be bumpy on the way up.  We’ll hit pockets of turbulence while we’re in cruising altitude.  And it is going to be bumpy coming down.  All of it.  All of it filled with turbulence.  Melissa in row 9, you are now stuck on this flight for the next two hours.  Try not to pee yourself.”

I looked around and everyone had a look of disappointment on their face because they may not be able to get their precious Schweppes if the flight crew couldn’t get up from their seats.  But I was screaming on the inside (and possibly the outside — I don’t know) over this news.

The plane took off and, as promised, it was bumpy.  The flight crew remained seated.  I knew that they would get very cranky with me if I seeped onto the floor in a weepy mess so I panted in my seat like a dying animal.  The boy by the window gallantly asked the girl between us if she was okay.  I leaned forward and heard myself tell him, “I am not okay.”  The college boy stared at my grey hair and sweaty face and choose to ignore me.  I spent two hours in this state.

Finally the plane wobbled down to the ground and I exhaled and unfroze.  (You know how animals go through fight, flight, or freeze when dealing with stress?  I freeze in order to trick my stress into not seeing me.)

Please don’t ask me to go anywhere.  I don’t think I am ever flying again.

May 21, 2017   14 Comments

647th Friday Blog Roundup

So the coda to the concert post is that it was my first show standing on the floor and not having a mosh pit.  I’ve been to concerts where I’ve had a seat in the arena.  And I’ve been to concerts where there have been no seats but everyone has crammed either into a mosh pit in front of the stage or stood on the sidelines outside the mosh pit.  But I have never been to a show that had no seats AND no mosh pit.

Everyone just stood.

And by “stood,” I mean that they blocked my view by holding up their phone.  They didn’t dance because that would have resulted in a blurry picture.  The rest of us couldn’t dance because we might bump into the people broadcasting on their Facebook feed.  I don’t think I’ll ever go back to that concert hall because it made me really sad to watch the guy next to me carry on a three-hour-long text message conversation, only breaking to take pictures of Peter Garrett and post them on Twitter.

The music was great.  Peter Garrett’s dancing was great.  The few people we spoke to before the show began were great.  But the crowds who pushed their way to the front to block everyone who was there to listen to the music and dance?  That part made me really really cranky.

I’m getting old.

I whined on Twitter this week, #GetOffYourPhone is the new “get off my lawn.”  This is what happens when I can’t work out my feelings in the mosh pit.

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Stop procrastinating.  Go make your backups.  Don’t have regrets.

Seriously.  Stop what you’re doing for a moment.  It will take you fifteen minutes, tops.  But you will have peace of mind for days and days.  It’s the gift to yourself that keeps on giving.

As always, add any new thoughts to the Friday Backup post and peruse new comments in order to find out about methods, plug-ins, and devices that help you quickly back up your data and accounts.

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And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

  • None… sniff.

Okay, now my choices this week.

Slaying, Blogging, Whatever is once again the voice of reason in regards to parents being up in arms about their child not doing a Mother’s Day/Father’s Day project at school.  She writes, “The schools are not there to make the kids do crafts for your gifts.  They are there to learn … The school is trying to teach a more important lesson about people in general and about having empathy and understanding about various cultures and families, etc.”  It’s a moving post about kids aging, written by someone who has a very different take on the concept of a Mother’s Day gift.

Anabegins has a post that resonated with me because I also don’t want to go anywhere.  I really love the idea of staying home, and we are also only going to nearby beaches and visiting family.  I don’t feel any impulse to explore at the moment, and the idea of really traveling makes me feel so tired and overwhelmed.  I mostly just want space to read.  Joining her in wanting simple right now.

Countingpinklines has a graphic breaking down her ectopic pregnancy.  Despite using pastel colours, it is still a sobering picture of loss.  Though, as she writes, “It made a ridiculously shitty experience into, not a positive experience, but at least an interesting one.”

Lastly, the OCD Infertile has a beautiful Mother’s Day post juxtaposing two balloon releases.  Years earlier, her niece was with her when she released balloons after a miscarriage.  This year, she helped her niece release balloons in memory of her mother.  This made me cry: “Who would have known all these years later we would stand there together, a child without a mother, a mother without a child, somehow both now having both sending their love to angels in Heaven that made us who we are.”

The roundup to the Roundup: Phones and concerts don’t mix.  Your weekly backup nudge.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between May 12th and 19th) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.

May 19, 2017   3 Comments

Third Person

Pace yourself.  I still have a few more thoughts from Matthew Quick’s book, Every Exquisite Thing.  You don’t have to read the book to follow these posts and have an opinion because I’m using the book as a springboard to other mental spaces.  If you want to read the other posts I’ve written about this book, you can find them here, here, and here.

I learned that I really don’t like it when people speak about themselves in third person.

This was not a shocking revelation — I’m always annoyed when I see people writing about themselves in third person.  Nor is it a shocking revelation for anyone else in the book.  When the main character, Nanette, begins to speak in third-person, she is greeted with this bon mot:

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but your talking in third person is positively unnerving. It’s like a punishment for the rest of the world (p. 168).”

Yeah, that’s how I feel, too.

But backing up for a moment, it was enlightening to first read why she is speaking about herself in third person and then realize that I was still annoyed with her usage of third person.

The idea comes from her therapist, June, who asks her to stop using the word “I.”

“We live in our heads, Nanette, which can be very scary places. We forget that we are not just an I, but a she and a you, too. We forget to see ourselves as others see us. For some people, the problem is narcissism—meaning they are selfish, too self-absorbed. But I think that your problem is that you are too selfless. You care about the needs of others more than you care about your own needs. You are strong for them even when it’s a detriment to your own well-being” (p. 146).

The solution is to move into a third person mindset. The therapist leads her to this experiment:

“I want you to do an experiment,” June says, and then suggests that I should begin to think of myself in the third person—not as an I but as a she. “Nanette is very good at making decisions for other people. She clearly sees that Alex shouldn’t have done what he did. But when she is deciding for the first-person I, Nanette, she is much less sure. So why not live in the third person for a bit and see how that goes? See yourself as someone else. Refer to yourself as Nanette in your inner monologue—the words that run through your brain all day. Kill the I. Maybe begin to keep a diary in the third person, too (p. 147 – 148).

But here’s the interesting thing: even knowing that this is sound advice — that we are better at thinking through solutions for other people and terrible at giving advice to ourselves and that we all could benefit from getting outside of our heads and considering ourselves from a different angle — still… I WAS COMPLETELY ANNOYED BY HER SPEAKING IN THIRD PERSON.

Like the whole book moves from first person to third person.  And it annoyed me.  Completely.

And, at the same time, intrigued me.  What would I learn about myself by speaking in third person day in and day out?

What do you think of this idea?  Are you also annoyed when people speak about themselves in third person?

May 17, 2017   6 Comments

Holding My Interest

My mind was blown last week with a Modern Mrs. Darcy post about interest span.

So you know your attention span — the length of time we pay attention to something before becoming distracted (about 8 seconds) — and how segments of the self-help movement are focused on helping you lengthen your attention span?

But what about your interest span?  When you’re interested in something, you stick with it for a long time.  You watch the whole episode.  You read the whole book.  She writes,

It’s not our attention span that causes us to zone out when we’re bored; it’s our interest span. We don’t lose focus when we care about what we’re watching, or reading, or listening to. And, interestingly, the thing that’s most likely to hook us, to get us to care, is empathy.

So she points out that certain things make us zone out and check our phones or fidget or daydream, and other things keep our focus.  She has started asking herself important questions: “when am I tempted to zone out? When do I get distracted, and what do I do when I am? Do I truly not struggle (much) to pay attention to the things I care deeply about?”

That’s what I mean — mind blown.

Because… there are plenty of times I don’t zone out.  Sometimes it’s because the stakes are high (driving).  Other times it’s because I am so into what I’m reading or watching or whom I’m talking to.  But… yeah… there are other times when I grab the phone while I’m watching a television show and check email.

My actions are stating that the email is more important than the episode on the screen.  While the episode’s feelings are never going to be hurt from that, showing another human being in front of me that they’re not holding my interest will lead to hurt feelings.  So… knowing that I’m showing that waning interest through my actions, I am paying close attention to the signals I’m sending out to the people around me.

What do you think about that distinction between interest span and attention span?  Does your mind always wander or are there times when you are absorbed in the moment?

May 16, 2017   7 Comments

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