Thursday, October 30, 2014

50 shades of blue

I have many days when I want to stop studying and I have days when I wonder if I will even use this degree I am working so hard for.  If somehow I don't finish it or I never actually practice I will probably regret the amount of time it has stolen from my life but never the knowledge it has given me.  I am a thinker by nature.  I love to ponder about stuff and although I am not great with current affairs locally and around the world, I am great at knowing what makes people tick.

My fascination with the human psyche and why we do what we do and think what we think makes my degree perfect for me.  Always one for the underdog and very justice motivated studying social work with psychology as my 2nd major seems like the ultimate fit.  On November 14th I have been a Christian for 15 years.  It has been amazing journey of self-discovery and God discovery.  Knowing so much less than I did 10 years ago re God means He gets to surprise me every day.  I no longer force Him to fit the picture painted by others or know Him through others.  I know Him spirit to spirit, raw and real and gentle and kind and fierce and loving.  Many times I just don't get it and that's OK.  As I have mentioned before I can no longer really call myself a Christian according to the world's definition and based on the gross misrepresentation of who God is, I am quite happy to be known as a seeker of Christ.  Someone who doesn't have all the answers and whose truth a decade ago has changed and will change again in another decade.

Can you imagine painting the ocean and the sky in 1 single shade of blue?  It would be flat and unreal and one dimensional.  Painting my daughter's room lately inspired this post as we went through many, many shades of blue till we found the right one.  What if your truth was your perception clouded by the opinion and lessons of others and left unexamined and unchanged?  What if your truth was simply one version, one of the shades of blue?   Imagine borrowing the colour of another to add to your picture, mixing the paints and shades and textures.  I am not an artist by any means but the visuals of all these blues really represent different interpretations and truths and when we open ourselves up to a wider view we get to experience some incredible things.  We see and know sides of ourselves and others and God we didn't even know existed.  The proverbial cast in stone becomes fluid and alive as we grow and learn and morph and change and toss things out and add others in.

I know for many Christians they think opening yourself up to other ideas and beliefs is considered dangerous.  They feel safe and comfortable and 100% sure that their blue is the only real blue.  They consider people with other shades to be blind or deceived or confused.  I am not judging them and in some ways it must feel very secure to be so sure of something but I was never that person.  Because I say so never quite cut it with me.  Why?  Why do I have to be this, say this, act like this, dress like this, watch this and not that, read this and not that?   Jesus obeyed God, not the rules of the day or his Jewish rulers.  I am lucky to have so many like minded friends who are also open minded to all that life has to offer.   We obey the basic rules or try to anyway.  Be kind, treat all people with respect and ensure we all have the same rights, love others, love yourself, love God.   

My old lady hands and less firm skin is the not so much fun part of getting older but the contrasting increased elasticity of my mind and thoughts and ideas more than makes up for it.  But enough random waffling on, time to get back to my books and learn new things.  Exams next week! 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Introducing Pricilla-Mavis-Serelda

Firstly let me apologize for my somewhat inappropriate FB status update today.  For those who read my blog and are not FB friends I wrote about this fantasy I had while on my long training cycle.  Let me give you some background info pre FB post: The cycle was far and hot and full of rolling hills.  My legs were aching and my butt and girl bits squashed and bruised.  Basically I was having a lot of non-fun and passing an injured cyclist being worked on by paramedics on the side of the road with ambulance waiting did not add much positivity to the experience.  I also knew come the end of my 80km cycle I had to run 8km in the blistering noon day sun.  Why on earth would I subject my 43 year old body to this mare you may ponder?

Well its because in a moment of foolish bravado, I entered Ironman70.3.  I did my 1st open water swim last Feb, taught myself to run in March and got my bike in June.  In October last year I did my 1st sprint Triathlon and I loved it.  I have done a few since and somehow had convinced myself I was now a triathlete and wanted to really challenge myself.  Take yourself out your comfort zone something exciting that scares you.  How about a 1.9KM swim followed by a 90KM bike on rolling hills and a fabulous half marathon 21KM in the hottest part of the day mid summer.  Well arsehole, are you happy now?  Scrawny, exhausted, overwhelmed and poor.  And too far gone to turn back considering the money spent on entry and accommodation and training.   This is VERY, VERY tough.  I have to swim 3 times a week, run 3 times a week and bike 3 times a week.  The cycling makes my shoulders knot and spasm so the pain has also sent me to strengthening classes once a week and Pilates once a week.  I also have Mondays as a rest day so do the math in terms of 6 days and 11 exercise sessions to get in.  Add 3 kids to the mix and my Social Work Honours degree and I am feeling pretty wasted.  I write my 1st exam on the 5th of November and I have not been very diligent lately so its time for some serious graft. 

OK so back to the fantasy.  Because I am a nervous cyclist and my shoulders are basically jammed tight I cannot turn around to check for cars.  I rely on my trainer to tell me when to cross and hope like hell he isn't having a suicidal day.  At the end of my cycle I get to a huge busy intersection and crossing it makes me poop myself.  Agatha (my other friend you know aka my anxiety) goes wild!  I imagined just going for it and crossing and sadly...I got hit by a car.  Clearly I can no longer train and do this mammoth race because I am now in heaven in my hammock on the beach drinking my frozen margarita while reading a really engrossing book.  I never quit you see, I just died.  People sadly remark how well I would have done and race in my honour.  So that was the fantasy, me pegging and no longer training.  I really don't want to die so no worries re sending my psyche around but today I did want to STOP.

But I am babbling on again which is frightfully rude considering I promised to introduce you to my friend Priscilla-Mavis-Serelda.  I know its a mouthful so I just call her PMS for short.  She comes to visit me for a week each month.  Sometimes she is chilled and other times she is very demanding.  I have tried to tell her not to come and used various tactics but she always finds me.  Despite Gary having the snip I am on the pill just to try and tame her.  It used to work well and she was less invasive and only came for 3 days.  Somehow she is back with a vengeance and prefers to stay the week.  She demands biscuits and chocolates and she doesn't like guys.  Poor Gary and Daniel become more annoying, even my swim coach Ryan gets yelled at across the pool.  She makes me want to cry, she makes me negative and she totally demotivates me.  My drive and ambition and positivity gets sucked right out of me and I am filled with doubt and just want to quit.  When I ran the charity I would want to quit.  My studies, my training, everything.  Just DON'T wanna play.  I am glib about my friend PMS but for the small percentage of the female population that have their own PMS friend, it can be debilitating.  It feels similar to depression and even though you logically tell yourself its just hormones, it doesn't help.  Obviously if anyone else tells you this you will react violently so its best not to ask if one is PMS when they seem somewhat temporarily bitter and twisted.

So I am sorry, I am tired, I am over emotional, I am negative, I am filled with doubt re my ability to finish this race and I am horribly PMS.  I will be amazing next weekend, I have a fairly long triathlon race on Sunday and I will be all amped and excited.  Right now though I am off to eat some more chocolate for Priscilla-Mavis-Serelda and find some family member who is willing to rub my shoulders. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Dilbert and my study path

You may have noticed I have not mentioned my studies much on FB lately.  I was on such a roll and then after the botox I got totally demotivated and haven't quite found my way back.  Speech and swallowing was just awful.  This is somewhat problematic as I write exams soon.

Having that annoying and exhausting competitive streak means I cannot simply allow myself to pass the subject.  I go for distinctions which means I have to work pretty hard for them.  19 subjects done, 17 distinctions earned.  Each semester I try and make myself chill and ease the pressure by allowing myself a comfortable pass.  Then as I get closer to exams I think race pace...lets ramp this up a little and see if I can do really well.  Its bloody exhausting and I wish I wasn't such a pain in the arse.  I can't even blame my folks as they never pushed us or forced or pressured us to do well.  I study on-line so its just me to compete against.  So now I have 3 papers to write and I really need to get stuck in.

I have been thinking about what I am actually going to do with my Social Work Degree once I eventually graduate.  Adoptions and fostering is one area that has a special place in my heart.  Then possibly working for Nurture again as I loved working with Mel & my sis and all the other super cool Nurture chicks.  And then a braver project which would probably require a few courses:  I become a counselor that focuses specifically on bullying and the effects thereof.  I teach parents and teachers and kids.  I visit schools and do talks.  I educate myself on the effect of social media bullying and I have a private practice as well to teach kids social and coping skills. little problem.  Yes, its Dilbert the do*s.  My US readers I can't actually write the word do*s because its really rude.  Its pronounced dowus but 1 syllable.  As you know Dilbert is the name I have given to my Dystonia.  One of the biggest problems is talking.  Its painful and tiring.  If you want to get an idea move your tongue around constantly and read something out loud at the same time while staying coherent.  I speak against my tongue and I concentrate very hard so that I don't sound unclear.   It is not a normal flow for me though and I can hear it sounds different although I probably sound normal to the listener.  Unless the person is just being kind?  I like kind, I will take it.     

Anyway, having a job where the main focus is talking is clearly not that fab when talking is the one thing my Dystonia affects most.  So what the hell to do?  Just give up my studies?  I am almost half way there.  Plus my hope junkie self still thinks God might just heal me overnight.  Or send a doc who can or some drugs or anything (God you just do your thing...ready and waiting!)  Studying can get boring and tough so to think I might do this for these 5 intense years and then not even be able to practice is just crap.  I can't give up though.  Can I?  Shit I don't know, it is pretty tempting as I get ready to hunker down and study my butt off for the next 4 weeks.    

Going to bed now.  Been up since 4.30am as we had to leave at 5.00am for the race today.  Think of all the time I could use to train if I stopped studying!  But we all know I won't stop, I have to remind myself even if I never practice the growth that I have experienced and things I have learned in the past 3 years has been literately invigorating.  As a seeker and thinker having my mindset challenged and learning new things and gaining different perspectives has been priceless and regardless of what happens, I will never regret the 3 years I have done so far.  Going to hobble off to my bed now because I wouldn't allow my poor body to take it easy on the race today.  Mind over matter...