See if I Care

I lost something recently that I cherished. No, there’s been no death in my family. I like to use big words and have a tendency to exaggerate. I lost pictures I’d taken on my holidays, pictures I’d admired and played with and hoped to share on Instagram, probably 500 of them. I went on a hike to a lake this summer and impulsively took my phone, the keeper of my precious pictures, on a swim and, nope, I didn’t have them backed up. My phone is dead, blank, unyielding, even though I smothered it in quinoa, rice, and silica crystals, took it in to have it checked out by people who know more about phones than I, stroked it and prayed over it. I’m still praying, but to date, sadly, there’s been no resurrection.

carewoman-3275328_1280

I should have taken better care. When we care about something, we value it. We commit ourselves, our time and our resources, to its preservation. We’re careful with it. When we don’t care about something, we ignore it and, often, disdain it. “I couldn’t care less” is a contemptuous phrase we fling out to show our utter disregard for something. “Who cares about that!” we say, as if everyone in the world is firmly on our side concerning the matter. When we use the words, “I don’t care”, in a situation of loss, we usually do care and are trying to talk ourselves out of the discomfort we feel.

We all have moments in life when we’re careless. A chore, defined as an unpleasant, but necessary task, may receive a hasty, half-hearted response from us, because we want to cut the unpleasantness short. We may not have time to be as careful as we should be. A deadline is looming and we’ve procrastinated or there were unforeseen difficulties and we’re forced to cobble something together. Or, our carelessness may be a matter of flagging resources. My little girl wasn’t a year old and needed to be supervised and, yet, I recall snoozing on the couch while she played quietly nearby. Had something happened, I never would have forgiven myself, but I was used up and couldn’t keep my eyes open. This is an instance where I or others may have suffered for my carelessness, not unlike those who don’t heed danger signs or follow traffic laws.  Or, we’re simply not thinking when we should be caring, which was the case with my phone debacle. When I entered the water, my mind was in the moment on the immense beauty surrounding me and the fact that my friend had already taken the plunge, not on the phone I just stuck in my pocket.

We can’t blame our minds for being elsewhere. In a society as complex as ours, we have to be discerning about when and where we decide to care. We can’t care about everything. We’d go mad. I read a book about the brain and habits once. Our brains are careeye-766166__480set up to enable us to do the things we do frequently without thinking. Supposedly, we have to save our limited brain power for important moments and crisis situations. Breathing, walking, eating, brushing our teeth, even driving, anything habitual, is accomplished with very little care on our part. Certain things, like surgery, require the utmost care and we expect those who practice such specialized manoeuvres to be prepared, alert, and attentive, to care greatly, and to perform accordingly. We want our healthcare professionals, dentists, lawyers, accountants, nannies, etc. the people we rely on for assistance in matters we care about to care about what they’re doing.

We don’t all care about the same things and we don’t want anyone judging us for what we care about. Generally, here in this culture, we care about our health, well-being, and comfort, friends, family, and pets, education, meaningful work, financial success, the acquisition of things we desire, and our leisure activities; sports, literature, music, and the arts. Some go so far as to care about those most don’t care about like stray animals, homeless folks, the elderly, and the sick. They go door to door urging others to care about them, too, by asking for donations or volunteer hours.

I can’t tell you what to care about, but I’ll tell you what I’d like to stop caring about. I’d like to stop caring about what other people say about me. Allowing ourselves to be shaped by the opinions of others can leave us confused, downhearted, and insecure. It’s my desire as a Christian to be rooted in the love of God, the one who made me and knows me more intimately than any other. His love is limitless, unchanging, and eternal, a solid rock on which to build my life. People are fickle and even family and true friends

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

will let us down. I also believe that caring about what others around us achieve or have in an envious way is a recipe for discontent. Of course, we always need to care enough to celebrate others, but why waste time wishing we could do what others do and have what others have. Why not rather go out and get what we want!

In truth, I struggle to care. I don’t share this often with people, but I have Attention Deficit Disorder. Caring, for me, takes focus and I have to work to maintain focus, which is why I’ve quit so many things and that’s a whole other post! I run out of focus and I stop caring. I look back on my childhood, on how carefree it was (there’s that care word again) and I wish I’d known how good I had it. As children in this society, we eat, sleep, and play and responsibility is added in measured doses, more and more as we age. ADDers are known to run from responsibility. We’re always looking for fun, on the hunt for the next high. We want to do things that excite us only. The boring and mundane, we tend to shirk, because focus is required. I wish I cared more, but I have to push myself constantly, assure myself that this task will only take a few minutes and it’s not going to hurt me to do it, convince myself of the value of things that other people say I should value, like housecleaning, when I’d rather be editing pictures for Instagram or walking in the coulees or watching an exciting movie. I even struggle with self-care and you can read about that here. Anything that falls into the chore category is a challenge for me.

Those of you who receive my posts via email have been experiencing my carelessness first hand, as I haven’t put out a post in the last few weeks. I haven’t been true to the schedule I set up for myself. I’ve never been one for schedules, preferring spontaneity to structure, another ADD trait. The fact that I put out a post almost weekly for the past year is commendable, as I live very haphazardly otherwise. It’s not that I don’t have anything to post. I still have plenty of material, I just have no desire to write or share. Sometimes carebrain-951845__4802there’s nothing of merit up there, no deep thoughts exploding, no quips rippling, no prose begging to be born. I think it’s because I haven’t done enough to feed and grow my soul. I used to read voraciously and as a writer, I think it’s an important discipline to follow, but somewhere along the line, I allowed Instagram to take over my life and too much Instagram makes Polly a dull girl. I tried to limit my Instagram use by deleting my first account which had grown to 3000+ followers, but I failed to even contain my second account and I’ve had to downsize again. (If you were following me on Instagram and would like to continue, request a follow @penelopepantaloons. Please message me indicating that you’re a reader. Thanks.)

When I first set up this blog, I took the advice of a successful blogger as to when and how much to post. I’m ready to decide for myself what’s needed and, right now, I need some space. I want to thank all of you who regularly read my posts. I’m humbled that you would give me your time and attention. I don’t know when I’ll post again, because I’m granting myself the freedom to post when I’m inspired to do so. But, at the core of my being, I’m a writer. Writing is something I’ve chosen to care about and I dedicate myself to it anew. I don’t intend to quit, so I’ll be around. You can count on it. In the mean time, take care of yourselves. 🙂

Photo of the Canadian Rockies graciously provided by Keith Traber, Instagram, @trabs_thesecretlifeof.

Posts come out when I feel like it. 😀 Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: @penelopepantaloons. Thanks for reading. 🙂

Advertisements

A Poem For Starters

It’s never too late to start over

No matter the day or the hour

To change one’s mind is not a crime

If something isn’t working

Then

It begs that one begin again

Barreling head long toward some lofty plan

Can mean the end of one’s self

rather than the end one intended to pursue

Start anew

Pause and ponder

Gain some fresh perspective at an intermediate juncture

Recognize and titter at your blunders

Take a new tact or commit to stay the course

For more effective progress can be realized in repose

And a thoughtful journey does a better outcome make

So

Stop

Take your time

Take a breath

Take a good, hard look

Take a break

It’s never too late to start over

 

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

Sleep Becomes Her

We play a game in our house called “What’s Your Favourite”? We ask each other, “What’s your favourite color or animal or whatever?” Once my son asked me, “Mommy, what’s your favourite thing to do?” “Sleep”, I said.

I enjoy it immensely. It’s a treat to crawl under the covers, delicious! I recall being told to take a nap as a kid and then wandering around my room for an hour. I look back on that sleepphoto-1471336199076-1bea7bdb30ba2and it confounds me. If someone told me to take a nap now, I’d say, “Why, Yes, thank you. I’d love to. What a splendid idea!” I’m particularly good at it. Sort of a hobby, you might say. I can lie down and be otherworldly in a breath.

For example, I visited Cameroon, Africa, as a college student. We, the missionary and my singing team, were travelling in dense fog at night on a notorious stretch of road called Rum Hill. The road clung to cliffs, was carpeted with boulders, and was more the width of a lane and a half than two. It had taken the lives of many Cameroonians. One of our guys had to hang out of the vehicle using his flashlight to follow the edge of the cliff so our driver didn’t make a wrong turn and kill us all. I was sitting in the back of the land rover, where there were some benches. I decided, if I was going to die, I’d rather do it in my sleepphoto-1495234347927-15da3bd48ee62sleep. I arrived back at the guesthouse surprisingly refreshed.

Another time, my husband was startled awake, when he smacked his head on what felt like a brick wall. It turns out, he had smacked his head on mine and I didn’t wake up, probably because I was unconscious.

Like everyone, I sleep in a specific way and require a few things to accumulate maximum Z’s, though I can sleep under almost any conditions:

  • I sleep on my back, like a corpse, with my hands folded across my chest (just practicing, I guess).
  • My mouth hangs open. I don’t know how to stop this, short of tying a scarf underneath my chin and I’m not the Jackie O type. I drool, too. I wake up drowning, do a flip turn that would make an Olympic swimmer jealous, and get right back at ‘er.
  • I have to have at least one foot out. When I was a child, I kept a foot out that I might sleepphoto-1527602481536-72cd1fda3e5e2arrive at the TV at exactly 6 am for Saturday morning cartoons. As an adult, I keep a foot out, because I’d like to be free to thrash if the urge presents itself. As I stated earlier in a post about my, ahem, love of spiders, the whole cocoon thing creeps me out.
  • I need a skinny pillow. I’m perplexed by pillow manufacturers. A queen-sized pillow looks like a hay bale to me. Even my huge, muppet head won’t put a dent in one of those stale marshmallows. Who in this world likes to sleep for 8 hours with her head at a 90-degree angle to her spine? Do queen-sized pillows have a purpose? Hmm. They are more absorbent than standard pillows (see bullet point 2). They might be good for people with hemorrhoids.

It seems I never get enough sleep and, if I had the freedom, I’d like to figure out what “enough sleep” means for me. Like too much of anything, I may eventually tire of sleep, but at 7 am, I think I could stay in bed forever. Sleep is magical! It can take away a headache and quash a bad mood. It can give you a new perspective and energy to face the day. It’s a warm, gentle hug and we all need more of those. Sleep grows us, heals us, and revives us. I’m smitten with it. I recommend it to everyone. What was that? What if you have trouble sleeping? Oh. Try smacking your head against a brick wall. 😀

 

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

The Aging Game

Wrinkles are life’s measurable outcome.

I would say my face started visibly aging when I turned 40. (My soul’s age is skipping in a groove somewhere in adolescence.) People were always telling me how young I looked. I’ll throw out a few examples:
Continue reading “The Aging Game”

With Rest Like This

I recently had a visit from the relatives. I don’t know how it’s for you, but I find it exhausting. It was fun, but it’s like eating too much–after awhile you start to feel sick. They left on Monday. It’s Thursday and I’m still recovering. There’s something wrong when a person has to recover from a holiday. We took our kids to Disneyland, Universal Studios, Sea World, and the San Diego Zoo this year. We did it in seven days. It was busy. All along the way, we were dazzled by creativity and enchanted by the magic of rest2make believe. We made some happy memories and I’m glad we took the trip, but I noticed the attractions begin to repel quickly. The noise-level, flashing lights, bright colors, and crowds of sweaty tourists are over-stimulating and that’s an understatement. There’s a lot of standing in line, straining to see, listening to whining and crying (I couldn’t help myself), interspersed with snippets of glee, spontaneous “oohs” and “ahhs”, and a year’s supply of french fries. We waited two hours to find Nemo and my daughter said when she found him, she would slap him. The cheery attendant standing nearby was horrified. Three days at the Magic Kingdom and we were sprinting for the drawbridge. We started using it as a disciplinary tool.

“I told you to stop it. Don’t make me take you back there.”
Continue reading “With Rest Like This”

Got Junk?

Does freaking out all the time make one a freak?

Self-awareness can be a scary venture. We all try to bury or look away from those things we don’t like about ourselves. Yet, if we want to grow in goodness and grace, we must take the time to examine who we have become. If it’s something we put off, because wagon-524514_19202we’re busy and reflection takes time and stillness, or because we’re afraid of what we might find, we will pay for it in our relationships. Too often, I’ve taken the train to destination unknown, all the while failing to note the scenery and I’ve ended up in Sorryville. It’s about being in the moment and it’s a matter of self-care. It’s something I struggle with on a daily basis.
Continue reading “Got Junk?”

The Scarf that Keeps on Giving

I have a scarf. It was purchased for me by a dear friend on one of her holidays. It’s a rainbow of fuchsia, coral, tangerine, and canary yellow. She said she saw it and it reminded her of my vibrant personality. I don’t wear scarves, because I have boobs and don’t wish to look like an 87-year-old Grandma with waist deep, wrung out, brightly-colored mammary glands. For a while, I wondered what to do with this scarf. It’s too beautiful to languish in a drawer and I would never re-gift it because I love my friend and appreciate her thoughtfulness. One day, I tied it in a bow and hung it on the bedpost next to my head. Every time I look at it, I’m reminded that I’m a beautiful, multi-faceted human being and that I have a friend who loves me. Do you own such a treasure? Is it out where you can see it?

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

It’s a New Day

We’re always trying to mark the passage of time. We’ve defined a second, a minute, an hour, a day, a month, and a year to keep track of the rising and setting of the sun, to quantify our inhale and exhale, the beating of our hearts. We celebrate when a fresh human being clocks in and when an old-timer moves on from the here and now. Ourclock-1274699_1280 birthday parties are records of our continuing existence and our age, among other things, defines us. In a culture which prizes the beauty and strength of youth, many of us try to keep the number of our days a secret through hair dye, wrinkle creams, trendy clothing, fitness, plastic surgery, and furious denial. If you don’t want others to know your age, I suggest you hide your photo albums when your friends come over or you’ll be providing them with before and after photos. From time cards at work to the renewal of our driver’s licenses, we’re reminded that time is passing.
Continue reading “It’s a New Day”

Ban the Bully

I was living in Bismarck, North Dakota. I’d just moved from Sterling Heights, Michigan midway through the 5th grade. Over that summer, my parents bought a house in another community and any headway I’d made in the friend department was lost as I changed schools again. I was to attend Grimsrud Elementary School just around the corner and down a long hill from our new home.
Continue reading “Ban the Bully”

Mirror, Mirror

I’m so tired of worrying about what I look like. I’ve developed a new strategy and so far, it’s working well. I’ve stopped looking.

I’m not very good at hygiene or any kind of self-care, for that matter. When bedtime toothbrush2shows up, I have the dexterity of a drunk ready to pass out and lose the ability to use my arms. The urge to go to sleep comes on me so suddenly, so swiftly, I can barely drop my clothes to the floor, much less operate a tooth brush. In the morning, my breath smells like a fart on amphetamines and the stink wafts out of my mouth as I do the clean up. Mint toothpaste is my friend.
Continue reading “Mirror, Mirror”