Fear And Violence ~ Early Morning Thoughts

I am interrupting the usual part 2 of yesterday’s post. There has been a slight change of agenda. Tonight violence came home to someone very close to me. We all know the statistics and TV news keeps us WELL informed as to what awful things are happening around our neighborhoods, cities and nation.

Tonight those abstracts became reality as TOBY was mugged in the parking lot of a discount store on his way home. TOBY is not a small person (6’4″) and was completely surprised by the method and attack. Unfortunately, it’s a parking lot that has had trouble before – and STILL is basically unlit at night. He was on the sidewalk and was pushed through the bushes lining the lot. The three ______ (insert your own inappropriate words here) were on top of him in moments. He had his wallet taken and his backpack as well. The wallet was found at the end of the lot, the backpack almost two blocks away. Fortunately, he was not hurt in any physical way. He was very shaken and, not surprisingly, very frightened. He was trying to catch the last bus and felt he was in a “safe” area of town.

He was able to call a friend that lived close by – and he helped him find his wallet, backpack and call the police. He also helped him through the initial reaction to all that had happened.

To say that he is/was scared is an understatement. And I know that fear only too well. His description to me of what happened brought a not very welcome flood of memories back to me.

As I told TOBY as we were talking, he can be thankful his wasn’t physical. The money and “stuff” could be replaced – the memories and nightmares will eventually fade. When physical violence gets involved, there’s a lot more that has to be dealt with. And continue to be dealt with. I’m not going to go into my stories this evening.

I was sorry I wasn’t there for the police. Their reaction was, frankly and sadly, quite typical – “You can file a report if you want, but the chances of anything happening are very slim.” (translation: we really don’t want to do the paperwork involved.) Had I been there – it would have been filed – if for no other reason to continue to highlight the problems with this particular parking lot. As this had never happened to him (or his friend) before, he agreed with the police.

This being TOBY‘s first day at his new job certainly put a damper on any feelings of joy and excitement he had. Perhaps over coffee tomorrow morning he will gain some of that excitement back.

Until it’s time to catch a bus.

Not The TV Fear Factor ~ Early Morning Thoughts

“Confronting our feelings and giving them appropriate expression always takes strength, not weakness.
It takes strength to acknowledge our anger, and sometimes more strength yet to curb the aggressive urges anger may bring and to channel them into nonviolent outlets. It takes strength to face our sadness and to grieve and to let our grief and our anger flow in tears when they need to. It takes strength to talk about our feelings and to reach out for help and comfort when we need it.”
–Fred Rogers
The World According to Mr. Rogers.

I picked up that quote a couple of days ago.
I realized that I was sailing/floating in some uncharted waters (for me) and in order to reach the shore facing some things that have been eating at me was the only way to deal with them. Otherwise, I would continue to wander like the Israelites in the desert…and frankly, I don’t have a generation or two to wander as I wonder.

One of the most difficult feelings I have to deal with is fear. Not the monster in the closet type fear, but the “what if” kind of fear. This is a really insidious kind of fear as it may or may not have basis in actual fact. It also is the fear that can keep me from dealing with unpleasant situations. I grew up in a “peace at any cost” family and I made choices that transferred that into my own life. If I’m not alert to it, I will make decisions that allow the path of least resistance on anyones part. Of course, that’s occasionally not the best choice to make.

This is a somewhat fun party game (after a couple of drinks, of course!). Lay a plank down on the ground and ask people to walk across it blindfolded. Then – while the blindfolds are still on – raise the plank one or two inches at one end, and again ask them to walk the plank. You’ll find that a lot of them won’t do it – their perspective makes them fearful that they will fall. Even though it isn’t high at all. It’s the perspective that makes the difference.

I’m dealing with D&D (when am I NOT dealing with them!) and their “problems” with Toby and our friendship. I am going to have place myself in a position of creating some boundaries that I didn’t want to have to draw. As I was looking at the situation earlier this evening, I was struck with the realization that I had the wrong perspective.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, reportedly told of a time when he climbed into a taxicab in Paris. Before he could utter a word, the driver turned to him and asked, “Where can I take you, Mr. Doyle?”

Doyle was flabbergasted. He asked the driver if he had ever seen him before.

“No, sir,” the driver responded, “But this morning’s paper had a story about you being on vacation in Marseilles. This is the taxi stand where people who return from Marseilles always come. Your skin color tells me you have been on vacation. The ink-spot on your right index finger suggests to me that you are a writer. Your clothing is very English, not French. Adding up all those pieces of information, I deduced that you are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.”

“This is amazing!” the writer exclaimed. “You are a real-life counter-part to my fictional creation, Sherlock Holmes.”

“There was one other clue,” the driver said.

“What was that?”

“Your name is on the front of your suitcase.”

If only all clues were that obvious! However, many times they ARE that obvious if I will only take the time to look for them. In dealing with D&D and the current situation, I missed that clues that the problem was not TOBY (more on that tomorrow) but rather what THEY were expecting to occur in the situation and what they were expecting MY reaction to be (of course, in line with theirs!). Remember the false luggage tag of other peoples expectations?

There is also another tag people will try and put on your luggage. Those who are familiar with PAC will recognize “get back where you belong.” This tag doesn’t allow for changes on anyones part – and makes an attempt to place someone back into whatever category someone else has placed them.

This can be difficult. However, along with the help someone else is able to give, or what we can find within ourselves – help may come from unexpected sources. The quote from Mr. Rogers is an example of that.

This is a temptation I can fall into very easily. It is almost second nature for me to worry about “what if” until it becomes “that’s what’s going to happen.” Sometimes what I have worried about will happen (after all, the hypochondriac’s tombstone DID read: “I told you I was sick.”). But more often than not, it doesn’t happen that way – unless I create a situation where that’s the only outcome possible.

–What does all this have to do with D&D, Toby and other events in my life? To misquote Paul Harvey – “Tomorrow, the rest of the story.”

–fear painting

The Storms Have Eyes ~ Early Morning Thoughts

As I mentioned last night, it seems not to just rain, but it pours. I told a friend today that it reminded me of that moment when the grocery bag has a small hole and then suddenly “rendeth” open and dumps everything out. I was just glad that I had a couple of other “bags” to put everything back.

“While grave-digging, after rainy weather
Always keep a long hollow pipe next to you.
Another poet told me never to forget this.
It will help you to breathe until you’re dug out.”

I had mentioned that yesterday was to be a day of rest and relaxation. Toby and I spent much of the day just chatting and even some – dare I say it – dozing off (and you thought we were doing what?). There were two lengthy conversations later in the day, that I’ll post on later. But, that seemed to set the tone for the evening. There was a great deal of honest talk – some of which fell into the “I’m not sure I want to know that…but I’m glad I do” category.

Of course, no “interesting” day would be complete without some interaction with D&D having some kind of interaction either with themselves, or the world around them. The evening’s middle trauma was a phone call from one of the D’s announcing that they were through with each other and that I could expect a phone call from the other shortly. Having been around them as for this long, I cudda/shudda moved that announcement from the “I need to worry about this right now” to the “I’ll worry about that when I get around to it” category.

But the most troublesome part of the evening involved my Mother. She is a feisty 93 year young lady, who still lives alone – does quite a bit for someone of her age, and refuses to have an answering machine. Last night when I called, something didn’t sound quite right – but I let it pass at the time. Nothing I could put my finger on, but just slightly off none-the-less.

This morning the reason I was uneasy became even more clear. She was lounging in bed when I called and was thinking about simply staying in bed all day. This is not like her. Now, she (as I do) loves to sleep in and enjoy easing into the morning. This was unusual.

Tonight was the cap of the two days. When I called her – all she could get out was that she was having trouble with her words. The next sentences were completely unintelligible. Now, this was a call to action. There are two people who live very nearby and with one phone call one was on the way to see what was up – or down.

My Mother suffers from TIA … without going into great detail (which you can get —>here<—), she was suffering from a mini-stroke. This has happened before, and will definitely happen again. And yes – according to the Doctor, it's not a question of IF she has a stroke but WHEN. (Just to let you know – yes, plans and provisions are in place.) Alright, now the choices come into play. The inner choices. The kind of choices we make all day long on minor things, but sometimes I drop the ball on the major choices about my reactions to what’s going on.

I’ll go back to my Mother – when asked tonight if she realized she was having trouble talking, her only comment was: “The only one I was talking to was the dog, and he wasn’t listening!”

I could easily have become a “spinner” over all the events. Let me explain. When I worked for a certain major airline – the flight attendants had a expression for those people who discover that someone is supposedly sitting in their seat. (next time you’re flying – watch for this) They usually stand in the center of the aisle and turn around and around. Hence, the name spinner. Of course, with all that’s gone on the last couple of days – I could emotionally become a spinner as well.

“And the music goes ’round and ’round
and it comes out ….here.”

And in my case, it wouldn’t have been music, and it certainly would have come out NOT where I wanted. But then again – maybe there IS music in all this. I posted the following on another blog (Sorry Laurie, but I’m using it here as well!!!). It kept coming back to me all day – So, here’s a wonderful poem about music and life!!

Tuning up for the concert of my life
Taking note of classic techniques
Finding the keys to composing myself
I entered into the first movement …
ready …
To B Sharp.

Being A Natural … at this stage
fright did not come into play
Being confident of each measure
I scored victory
Refusing to sing the blues
over A Minor setback
(stumbling upon a broken / bridge
over troubled waters) …
Crossing over anyway to
C Major possibilities
not to B Flat or one-dimensional …
but to embrace all that jazz this
life’s made of …
I entered into the second
movement … set …
to B Sharp.

Directing a chorus
voicing four-part disharmony
Orchestrating rare repeat performances
in unison
I turned a deaf ear to discordant tones
striking a chord of discontent.
Having no time for Modern / pop / bluegrass
/ country / swing / hip-hop
Soul / rap / rhythm and blues / heavy
metal to weigh me down …
I entered into the third movement to a
higher octave oblivious to
all that jazz …
and decided to B Sharp–
to be … MYSELF.
–Iris Formey Dawson
Essence,May, 2001