Who’s He!?

My husband and I often laugh about a clip from The Wolf Of Wall Street where one of the characters is trying to get a synopsis of a television show from his wife – much to his displeasure, she begins (rather poorly) explaining, leaving out some pertinent details and classifiers. Check out the video – at 0:50, you’ll see what I mean.)=

I do this all the time! It isn’t at all that I’m not focused, or that I haven’t any clue what’s going on…or that I have the desire to befuddle your mind. My brain simply goes into “understood-you” mode where it omits what IT thinks are obvious details.

*Whispering with a cupped hand to my mouth* To anyone but my Geminian brain, most of those “obvious details” aren’t obvious at all! My thoughts race with such rapidity sometimes that I feel like my cerebrum is an F1 track. Exhausting! 

Interestingly, though, there are occasions when I TRY to slow down and wind up frustrated – at times I am so excited or eager to communicate that I feel like the extra (as in: important / key) points slow me down like drag in a wind tunnel.

I also love communication so much that when I go down one path my brain (chances are) has already made about 50 other (what it thinks are relevant and exciting!) connections… Being the center-o-my-being, it has this funny way of hijacking my vocal chords whereby I being verbalizing a multitude of threads simultaneously. If you’re a Gemini, you’ll follow along nicely. If not, you’ll need to have luck in your corner, or answer to the name Sherlock.

So I came across these posts and started to laugh… 

Also par for the course, I suppose…

Rather a funny image I thought. My poor husband and family! But then, what’s life if you can’t poke fun at yourself?! 😉

 

Learning About Life Through Another Lens, And How Blessed We All Really Are…

Some weeks ago I started an ASL (American Sign Language) course online – I regularly volunteer with children with disabilities and had asked a mom (whose four year-old boy both has autism and is deaf) for some ASL resources. Her son additionally suffers from a little bit of separation anxiety, which isn’t horribly uncommon with autism – when he comes to our volunteer play sessions, there are times that he begins to cry and it’s terribly tricky to discern what will make him feel more comfortable. While I was already interested in learning ASL (up to 50% of autistic individuals are non-verbal), this little guy was enough to get me on the road to finding a class…as soon as possible.

The awesome news is that I also volunteer with Special Olympics-driven skating sessions once a week that includes a number of children who are either hard of hearing or completely deaf. There’s nothing quite like being able to communicate with them – being able to sign even a single word is exciting! (I definitely have a way to go!)

A couple of days ago, though, I came down with a cold of some kind – as a result of contagiously coughing, I lost my voice – and I mean completely. Talk about being in someone else’s shoes…

Horribly uncomfortable a “bug” is for any of us, it’s nothing compared to what some children and adults have to deal with on a regular, and life-long basis. In a strange way, I feel thankful that I can’t speak because it’s an exercise in understanding what it *might* be like – while I consider myself to be one of the most empathetic people I know, it is impossible to fully understand anyone’s experience without being in their skin.

I have lost my voice on one other occasion – remarkably, I was 16 spending a month in France, with very little French under my belt. I guess life likes to test my ability to communicate (which – as is clear – is NOT always done with speech.)

In any case, it’s as the saying goes – you don’t always realize what you have until you lose it. I’d never anticipate not having the ability to speak was an easy road…but it is a welcome experience. (Now I’m not exactly encouraging anyone to go out to a concert and scream at the top of his or her lungs to deliberately subdue the vocal chords…I’m just saying, there is good to everything. Yes, including getting sick and losing a primary means of communication.)

Now my husband has a little bit of a challenge playing the guessing game as far as “what is my wife trying to say now?” He’s doing a remarkable job of deciphering, decoding, and understanding what I am trying to say, and that’s not easy to do! So I’m very fortunate to have the support and patience.

Going to the store is also an enlightening experience – I can’t say “thank you,” or “excuse me” as I normally would, nor can I respond vocally to others. That leaves me feeling a little bit awkward as reciprocal speech is one of the key forms of communication many of us learned from infancy. When I indicate with gesture and my lips that I have lost my voice, people either immediately begin to whisper or act altogether more gently – it’s incredibly interesting! (I actually can’t even whisper, as that puts more stress on the vocal chords than speaking does!)

The other side of it is that I’m derailed from my activities – in part I simply don’t feel up to them physically. The pain and discomfort though. . .I think about all the children with autism suffering from sensory sensitivities without the ability to say “those lights are hurting my eyes,” “this fabric makes my skin burn,” “my chest hurts….” What is life like for them? Many “behavioral issues” are a result of such a scenario – they don’t have a means to say what they are feeling.

For the children who are deaf or hard of hearing, thankfully they do have words at their disposal (albeit non-speech, hand / facial /body gestures.) I learned “sick,” “feel,” “bathroom,” and “okay?” as quickly as I could. Fortunately I’m learning many other words too…but knowing that it will take time, it’s important I know some basics.

Even if I was feeling better, my usual day-to-day would still be a substantial challenge – I can’t make a singe phone call, for one. I can’t ask for help locating a medicine at the store. If I were in an office, I’d have to type everything out (doable, but less efficient.) I certainly can’t breakdown a Ninjutsu technique the way I could by asking questions in class, and I definitely can’t teach or volunteer. I have to rely on gestures to talk to others I might run into in my own apartment building because I am utterly devoid of my usual method of communication…

So it’s been a remarkable few days…

While I’m sure it’s not fun to be around me while I’m loudly coughing, slower-moving, and unable to answer even the easiest question, I feel truly thankful for the experience. In fact, I’m taking the opportunity to review videos from the ASL course modules that I’ve already completed – I will hopefully be seeing the Special Olympics kids on Wednesday to skate and I know a few happy ones who use ASL exclusively. 🙂 

Humor – Casper The Ghost On Mean Pills (Or Me Up To No Good!)

This cartoon is positively precious, especially the famously gentle Ghost’s facial expression at the end. . .

Cartoon it may be (I used to play Casper, Disney Halloween, and other slides in my View Master as a kid), I related completely. . .

Much like the sweet white sprite, I hate – yes, I dare even say vehemently hate – “mean.” “MEAN” for me is an ultimate last resort. (I’m betting Casper is on board with “mean what you say, say what you mean, don’t say it mean” wagon too.)

Of course he’s as adorable as can be, bowled over by the initial effect just as much as when he surprisedly sprouts an impossibly cute tail. But…the face at the end was a relatable laugh-out-loud.  It’s more of a sneaky look than anything else, and I feel like I unconsciously get that look from time to time…

Maybe it’s that I absconded with some vegetables and got away with it. Maybe I thought of something silly and fun to make a loved one laugh… Whatever the case may be, it’s a deliciously diabolical smirk he’s got going on, and I’m pretty sure I do that at times myself (save to say, I’m not remotely as adorable as this lil’ devil!)

Emphasis On Can

I love this quote from Autism Speaks – there’s nothing more important that encouraging children (your own, or otherwise!) by focusing on their strengths and positives.  

Autism Speaks, Dr. Temple Grandin

The world critiques enough, wearing down the strongest and most brave. . . Therefore at least give children (if not also yourself and your loved ones!), unhindered by the “should,”s “can’t”s, and “bad”s of adult conditioning, the opportunity to meet life with confidence and a smile. 

 

Illamasqua – SOPHIE Anti-Bullying Campaign

If there is one thing I don’t like to do, it’s engage in political diatribe, or proselytize my own views.  While I’m not opposed to important discussions, I have found that one or the other can often turn out heatedly, but generally not with good resolve. I try to keep my opinions about such things to myself, and simply listen when others care to share (or ignore the vehement postings if I must.)

That said, I am really big on anti-bullying, and because I work with children in Marital Arts, I like to encourage education about what seems to be more and more prevalent these days. Having been the subject of several forms of abuse from partners in my past, I can safely say it is a topic that some have a hard time speaking up about, particularly as the victim.  Bullying in and of itself is a very primal act…and one you might expect humans would have the wherewithal to override.  While dominance is oft exerted in the animal kingdom, I feel that the deliberate taunting is something human beings have added to the mix. 

I like that Illamasqua – a brand that stands apart in a multitude of ways – is so outwardly supporting this cause.  I can’t say that I was outrageously divergent aesthetically, but I got to a point where I was enough so, that I got teased, talked about, harassed too… That wasn’t the “abuse” in my own life so much, but it was pretty terrible.  While I managed to sidestep most of it (mainly I was distracted by worse!) I understand what it’s like.

Illamasqua has been honoring the memory of Sophie, a young lady who was the horrifying subject of bullying gone to the extreme, since her passing in 2007.  Each November they run a campaign to spread the word, and to take proceeds and donate them to a worthy cause. 

I have no affiliation with this company in any way, and in fact learned about Sophie some years ago through them.  But again, I respectfully share because it’s important that no one is alone in their suffering.  

Martial Arts – The Love Of Losing

At Ninjutsu, my Sensei teaches the children to embrace failure.  We ask them – often“who loves to lose?!”

Joyfully, the children yell out “MEEEE!”

We then ask, WHY do you love to lose?”

“Because it helps us to leaaarrrrnnn!!!” they emphatically reply.

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 11.13.08 AM

Life is riddled with challenges – there are often far more “failures,” lost games, missed deadlines, rejections (etc!) than there are successes.  But as a result, we learn SO much more – We grow and develop to have an astoundingly richer, more valuable experience in Life, and we learn that NOT winning is not only OKAY…but it is a POSITIVE.

In my mind (and heart) teaching this to children cannot be started early enough.  Let them know that failures are going to happen – no one likes surprises! 😉

But ALSO let them know that it is okay, that their own value has not diminished in any way, and that because of that “loss” many good things will bloom in its place.

More of my Martial Arts… ❤