Festivals & Saturdays in the Park

The end of summer and start of fall last year had Gary and I attending festivals in the surrounding area.

This was back before my body began to experience the pain that started in December.

This was back before my body went through surgery.

This was back when I felt better.

My hope is soon Gary and I will again attend some festivals & Saturdays in the park.

Imagine You

A month ago in my post ‘Travel Vision‘, I wrote the following –

Since my initial posts about our travel adventure and the idea of meeting many of you; my life changed dramatically.  But the plans and the travel, though on hold now, they are still my vision for the future, especially now more so than ever.  Why?  Well, because you have supported me and helped me through a tough time in my life.  I want to thank you both in my writings here on WP and if possible in person when the travel adventure takes place.

In today’s post, I write the following –

I realize I would be unable to thank each one of you in person, but if it is possible to thank a few of you in person; I would be honored.  I remain optimistic this will occur someday, so in the meantime, I imagine you.  There are many of you that I know what you look like and have a clue to your personality.  Part of your personality is portrayed through your writings and posts.  But I feel no matter what we display; we do not know each other 100%, it is difficult for the true 100% of us to be here on our blogs.

Okay, so where am I going with this?

Well, back to my reason for this post – Imagine You

Back in November of last year after Thanksgiving: I was sitting on an airplane ready to fly back to Florida from Texas.  While the plane is parked at the gate, I sit in my chair waiting for others to board and take their seats.  Gary and I are lucky enough to sit on the first row of the plane, not first class mind you, but we are on the first row which means more leg room.  Across the aisle are 3 women, very different women who chat as if they are the best of friends for many years.  One of them has a familiar look because she reminds me of a fellow blogger friend who I will not mention by name here.  This fellow blogger friend does not have a picture of herself on her blog, but she has briefly displayed herself a couple of times: so, I have a glimpse of her in my mind.

As I sit there and listen to these women chat I imagine the one that has the familiar look is my fellow blogger friend.

There are other times I am in a public area imagining people around me are you.   These other people around me, these strangers to me I imagine are really friends, you my friends.

I imagine these strangers are people I know; people who I know a little about and people I know a lot about – I imagine these strangers are not strangers after all – they are friends – they are you.

I would like to meet every one of you in person someday.  Most likely that will not happen, so in the mean time I will continue to – Imagine You

(Here is an upbeat song for a Monday morning.  If I could I would be up dancing, but my recovery is not allowing that for now – soon, very soon, I will be!)

It was a strange goodbye

It was a strange goodbye.

November 4th was the day I said ‘goodbye’.  Maybe I should have said ‘Until we meet again.’

It was a strange goodbye.

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Those I left were helpful, hopeful, caring, compassionate and wishing me well.

Now a week later and I do not know the results of that strange goodbye.  Would it be forever; with those that were there for me?

Will there be others that take their place and be there for me once again?

It was a strange goodbye.

I left, thanking them for their time, their compassion and their service to me and others.  For they are champions in my mind and I am thankful for them.

Will I ever see them again, has my time ran out or is it time to move on to others?

It was a strange goodbye.

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I will miss them, but not necessarily the time spent with them.  How could I feel this way?

How could I know them and visit them for weeks that went into months: then just to leave, never to return?  How could I do this to them?  They are my champions, my heroes and I leave them; forever?

It was a strange goodbye.

November 4th was the last day I received chemotherapy.  It was the last day I would spend time with those dedicated to helping others; helping me.

These women and men who have skills in treating us who have cancer are now out of my life.

It was a strange goodbye.

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I thanked them for helping me, caring for me and for their compassion for me and others.

I told them in an odd way, I would miss them.

It was a strange goodbye.

the un-friending

Last year in my post ‘Masks‘, I wrote the following –

anymask.com –

A form of disguise. It is an object that is frequently worn over or in front of the face to hide the identity of a person and by its own features to establish another being. This essential characteristic of hiding and revealing personalities or moods is common to all masks. As cultural objects they have been used throughout the world in all periods since the Stone Age and have been as varied in appearance as in their use and symbolism.

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Today the most common mask is Facebook – yep – I said it – a new symbolism for the mask.

Facebook allows people to sit behind a computer – protected from others – allowing people to be something they are not – allowing people to be their true self.

Recent social changes in the United States – the revealing personalities behind the Facebook mask are now showing their true identity – some of the cultural objects.

Anger, Hatred, Belittling – it is easy to do when using the Facebook mask – easy to do because one is sitting behind a computer.

In today’s post, I write the following –

Over a year ago I wrote that post and over a year ago was the last time I logged into Facebook.  I disliked what I was reading and what was being posted by my ‘friends’.

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I understand Facebook allows people free expression.  I also understand I have the right to not allow myself to be exposed to that free expression if I feel offended.  So I stopped using Facebook.

Several months now, I started thinking about logging back into Facebook and making changes to my account.  My Facebook account is my personal account and I want to be able to post about current activities in my life to my family and ‘true friends’.  I was thinking about un-friending the other ‘friends’, those that I do not want to see in my timeline.  Their anger, hatred and belittling they can have for others to read and see; I have a life to live and have no room for their feelings and thoughts.  But I think to myself, “Is it okay to un-friend people just because I do not agree with them?”  “How would I feel?”  I do not want to upset others, but yet they upset me.

Do I let them know I am un-friending them or do I un-friend them silently with no announcement?

But then again, I think about the original reason I stopped using Facebook last year and with the current events in the United States, I think I should stay away.  I fear and I assume there is a great deal of anger, hatred and belittling taking place these days on Facebook.

I keep putting off logging into Facebook, and I think to myself – there is a reason for that.

So until I am truly ready, if I am ever ready again – I decided I will stay away – I will continue my life without Facebook.

Besides WordPress is much friendlier.

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Walk in other’s shoes

Compassion & Empathy, feeling what others are feeling and putting ourselves in other’s place without judgment.

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Without saying to ourselves, they have it easy and I have it worse.

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Or thinking about me feeling the way I feel about my health, knowing there are people out there that have it much worse; they could be saying you are experiencing nothing compared to me.

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I think no matter what level of hardships we have in our lives, we need compassion and we need empathy, we need to put ourselves in other’s shoes for a moment.

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We need to realize we are different and we deal with things differently and we need to try to understand the other person or at least empathize.

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We can learn, we can grow and help one another without judgement but instead with a feeling and a realization we can help one another.

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Instead of comparing and saying you have it better than me or I have it worse or that is nothing compared to me.

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From my post ‘those around me‘, I conclude with the following –

I sit, I wait, I watch, I ponder, I accept, I acknowledge and then I realize cancer does not discriminate.

There are black, white, young and old; a man wearing a dress shirt and tie, the stately woman and the tougher looking guy. Then there is the woman with the pink hair, the majestic woman needing a little extra help, the chatty lady next to me and the young man across from me.

Today I sit for hours taking in those around me.  Today I sit for hours viewing those near to me.  Today I sit for hours receiving chemotherapy amongst others; those around me.

those around me

I sit, I wait, I watch, I ponder, I accept, I acknowledge and then I realize it does not discriminate.

I sit for hours taking in those around me.  I sit for hours viewing those near to me.

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I have written previous posts about them; here are excerpts from those posts –

What is his story?

The homeless man at the same intersection every day is living with some sort of meaning and reason to carry on. He does not appear to be unhappy and occasionally I see him eating food.

I likely will never know, but whatever his misfortunes, he reminds me that no matter the environment, the struggles and challenges, there is still a reason to live and a reason to carry on.

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Easy to Label, Easy to Judge

I don’t know about you, but it is easy for me to label and judge people.  I see a news story with an interview taking place about some controversy and I label the person and then I judge.  It is easy to do, but much more difficult to not do!

I think I label and judge because of my opinions, beliefs and views on different aspects of life.  I do not like to be labeled and I certainly do not like to be judged by others – so, I should not label and judge others, but it is so easy to do.

Other people’s stories

We all have a story; successes, misfortunes, missed opportunities, lack of love, love from the right person, a broken relationship, a job loss, a family/friend loss, a birth, an illness, the list goes on.  The stories of our lives make us who we are and what we are.  Whether a brief encounter or just people watching, I wonder what people’s stories are.

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Today their stories are important to them, but it still does not discriminate.

Today my story is important to me, but it still does not discriminate.

Among those aspects of our own stories that make us different are similarities that make us the same.

The body, no matter the color of the skin, the size or shape, or the smooth skin, lines, wrinkles, color of eyes, no matter our appearance – there are similarities that make us the same.

Down inside are the organs, the sustaining parts of us, that bring breath, and life.  The body that which is us and sustains us will someday be the death of us.  Cancer knows this and it will not discriminate against anyone.  Young, old; physically fit, feeble, it does not matter.

I sit, I wait, I watch, I ponder, I accept, I acknowledge and then I realize cancer does not discriminate.

There are black, white, young and old; a man wearing a dress shirt and tie, the stately woman and the tougher looking guy. Then there is the woman with the pink hair, the majestic woman needing a little extra help, the chatty lady next to me and the young man across from me.

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Today I sit for hours taking in those around me.  Today I sit for hours viewing those near to me.  Today I sit for hours receiving chemotherapy amongst others; those around me.

stereotyping

In my post ‘Pretending?‘, it started with the following –

That man wearing the expensive suit and driving that expensive car and with that expensive haircut – there is a man who is fake, a man who feels sadness, a man who needs fulfillment in his life.

The woman behind the shabby apron and torn outfit, with the hair falling in her face to hide the bruise, who is frustrated and tired – there is a woman who is scared and fragile, who wants more, who is searching for something else.

A boy who is taking his frustrations on someone else; making someone else feel less than him, making someone else feel bad with pain – there is a boy who is looking for something more in his life, something better, because he is empty and needs to be complete.

That girl who is consuming to exist, struggling, using her body, making someone else feel good – there is a girl who is weak in search for more, in search for herself, a chance, a better person, a better path and a better journey.

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In today’s post, I write the following –

When I started writing that post, the words started flowing and I put my thoughts on paper – the post is created – not much forethought except just the idea for the post.

When I completed the beginning of that post – I read what I wrote and I realized I was stereotyping.  Or maybe it came across to you as stereotyping.  At times I will write a post and then reword it to not come across as abusive, harmful or offensive.  After I read those first sentences, I felt they may come across to you the reader differently then what I meant them to be.  It was not my intent to say all men are fakes, for woman can also be fake.  It was not my intent to claim all women are abused; for men are abused also.  It was not my intent to indicate all boys are bullies; for girls are bullies also.  And it was not my intent to portray only girls are prostitutes; because boys use their bodies as well for pleasure to someone else.

SimplyPsychology.org article ‘Stereotypes’ starts with the following –

Definition: A stereotype is “…a fixed, over generalized belief about a particular group or class of people.” (Cardwell, 1996). 

For example, a “hells angel” biker dresses in leather.

One advantage of a stereotype is that it enables us to respond rapidly to situations because we may have had a similar experience before.

One disadvantage is that it makes us ignore differences between individuals; therefore we think things about people that might not be true (i.e. make generalizations).

The use of stereotypes is a major way in which we simplify our social world; since they reduce the amount of processing (i.e. thinking) we have to do when we meet a new person.

By stereotyping we infer that a person has a whole range of characteristics and abilities that we assume all members of that group have. Stereotypes lead to social categorization, which is one of the reasons for prejudice attitudes (i.e. “them” and “us” mentality) which leads to in-groups and out-groups.

When my words were written, I had no intention to stereotype – but I did.

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