Monday, July 30, 2012

10 Noises That Drive Me Mad

According to a study published in Noise and Health Journal, "Very long term exposure to noise may adversely affect mental and physical health," (Smith, Baranski, Thompson, Abel, 2003, p 15).

Today's theme for Monday Listicles, Noises that Drive Us Mad, is one we should carefully consider.  Let's be sure to remove these noises from our environments so that we are mentally and physically healthy, happy bloggers.

10 Sounds that Drive Me Mad

1. The television on when no one is watching it. 

2. My three Chihuahuas barking at the mail carrier.  Every day.  Same time.  You would think they would remember.

3. The sound of a can of beer being opened.   A sweet and refreshing sound to some.  But to me, it signifies uncertainty:  Will this be an angry and scary drunk?  A happy won’t stop talking drunk?  A leave the house and don’t tell anyone where you’re going drunk?

4. Cars screeching to a halt at the stop sign at the end of my street.  It’s a 25 mile per hour zone, people!  And my kids use that crosswalk.

5. My alarm in the morning.  I have changed the ring tone several times.  Even the most pleasant sound is annoying upon waking in the morning.

6. That awful sigh one gives when they are being passive aggressive.  Just say what’s on your mind.  Please.

7. My daughter stomping up the stairs when she’s angry.

8. My daughter slamming the door when she’s angry.

9. That mysterious bump in the night that I only hear when I am home alone.

10. The sound that drives me completely mad and sends me into a full-blown panic attack, is the sound of a dentist’s drill.  I can’t even think about it.  I start shaking.

On the other side of the argument is that if a sound can make us grumpy, inevitably a sound can make us happy.  And because I'm right in the middle of a big, stinking, mental health funk, I thought it would be wise to identify those sounds that evoke pleasant thoughts.

Sounds that make me happy

The sound of my daughters’ voices—talking, laughing, squealing, complaining, and especially saying, “I love you, Mommy.”

The birds that sing to me in the morning.  Yes, they are singing to me.  They told me so.

Music.  Any music with the exception of that genre of rock that is played at high speed with little song structure and shouting scary vocals.

The sound of the doorbell when my daughters are coming home from their dads.

Now, tell me, when you are sad or mad, or simply down in the dumps, what sound makes you feel a little lighter?

The best way to spend Monday in the blogosphere!

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Smith, D.G., Baranski J.V., Thompson, M.M., Abel, S.M. (2003). The effects of background noise on      
          cognitive performance during a 70 hour simulation of conditions aboard the International Space 
          Station. Noise and Health, 6(21). Retrieved from

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Yardstick

Sister Miriam Anne stoically stood at the front of the classroom.  As I reached down to scratch my shin beneath my burgundy wool knee sock, I was terrified she would notice, then crack her yardstick on her desk, the sound causing my body to release the contents of my bladder to the floor.  I was never good at using my time wisely during recess.  And now I sat wishing I would have used the restroom.

I noticed Sister scratch at the edge of her habit, just above her silver gray eyebrows.  She was hot and uncomfortable, too.

We were not allowed to move in Sister Miriam Anne’s second grade classroom.  I am not talking about getting up out of your seat without permission.  I am talking about sitting like a statue, legs crossed at the ankles, hands folded on top of the desk, eyes forward.

I never understood why she did not open the windows to let air flow through the ancient classroom.  I never understood why she refused to excuse us to use the restroom, even if we appropriately raised our hand and respectfully asked.  Wouldn't those things make it easier to sit still?

I could feel my nylon slip beginning to soak with sweat.  The exposed parts of my legs began sticking to the seat of the desk.

Two rows over, closer to the windows, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a swoop in burgundy plaid. 

Someone was moving.



But the one wearing the uniform, my classmate Amy, was not deterred by the sound.

Amy was fixed to the window, tugging at the handle with every ounce of muscle she had in her tiny arms, disguised so neatly beneath her white blouse.

Sister Miriam Anne strode from her desk toward the window with the yardstick held high in the air.  I allowed my head to turn at the sight.  My eyes followed until she reached an empty desk, nearest to Amy and the window.


Down went the yardstick on Amy’s bottom.

With a crackle, clunk, and whoosh, the window opened.

Amy, without a flinch, and seeming unaffected by the whack to her behind, went back to her desk.

Sister Miriam Ann returned to the front of the room.

As I listened to her explain the reason Christ died for my sins, I silently prayed to Mary:

Please, dearest holy Mother, make my tears invisible.  Make my tears invisible.  Make my tears invisible.

When I got home from school that day, I did not fight my mother on changing out of my uniform.  I hurried up to my room, buried my urine-soaked slip and jumper at the bottom of the hamper and prayed.  Prayed my mom would do the laundry that night.  Prayed no one noticed.  Prayed that the window Amy miraculously lifted would still be open when I got to school in the morning—another hot, late-August morning, at the beginning of my second grade year.

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Wednesday's Woman: The Real Superwoman

Today’s guest blogger for Wednesday’s Woman is a freelance writer, wife, and mother.  But as we all know, the aforementioned job titles include so much more.  Stacey Gill, who is telling it like it is at One Funny Motha, fittingly describes herself as the following:
Freelance writer/mother/household manager/laundress/short-order cook/cleaning lady/personal shopper/chauffeur/nutritionist/social coordinator/tutor/event planner.
Stacey’s honoree for Wednesday’s Woman is someone she met through a writing class.  It always amazes me when we engage in an activity thinking we are simply going to improve our skills but finish with something more, like a friend, or something we least expected.  This is what happened to Stacey.

Wednesday Woman: The Real Superwoman
by Stacey Gill, One Funny Motha

So often we hear stories in the media of celebrities working to end poverty or rescuing children from desperate conditions in orphanages. Admirable endeavors certainly, but we don’t often hear about those among us carrying out similar heroics without the spotlight or help of countless staff members. On a daily basis. This is that story.

I met Joanne in a writing class, and she seemed ordinary enough with straight brown hair falling in a natural part, dressed simply in jeans and a fleece. But over the course of our memoir class I got a peek into her extraordinary circumstances, and I’ve learned a fair amount. But even now with all that I know I still find her story hard to believe.  

Joanne is a wife, mother, teacher and writer, but her job as mother far outweighs all her other roles. We all know of course motherhood is a tough enough gig on a good day. Just getting the kids out the door to school on time or convincing them repeatedly, constantly, daily that homework is a worthwhile endeavor or interesting them in at least frequent if not entirely good dental hygiene are all challenge enough. At least for me. But these typical parental struggles, the ones with which I seem barely able to cope, I’m certain Joanne would welcome. Joanne’s children – both of them – have severe disabilities, neither disability related, neither detectable prior to birth. And Joanne’s journey of discovery with each son is nearly as unbelievable as the life she lives raising two boys with disabilities.

Benjamin was only a few months old when Joanne knew something was wrong. At Ben’s first doctor’s visit the pediatrician had noticed his small head size and suggested taking him to a neurologist. At four months old Ben underwent testing. When the results came back the Friday following the tests, neither Joanne nor her husband, John, was home to get the call. The neurologist left her findings in a message on the couple’s answering machine. Their newborn son’s brain had several abnormalities. She would speak to them on Monday.

In a panic Joanne call the neurologist. She couldn't wait out the weekend without knowing her son’s diagnosis. Over the course of two weeks Joanne and John repeatedly called the neurologist to get more information, but the doctor was vague and evasive on the phone. Knowing they needed a more skilled neurologist, Joanne requested her son’s records and sought a new doctor. Meanwhile she tried to do research on her own. Upon receiving her son’s records, Joanne had discovered the term “lissencephaly” written across the top of his CAT scan. It was the first she’d heard of the term. She asked a friend adept with computers to find out what she could about the diagnosis. Back in 1999 Joanne couldn’t simply Google medical terms. Google didn’t exist.   

At the time Joanne said, “There wasn’t a lot of information out there.

The term only turned up in the name of an online support group. The friend referred Joanne to it, and logging onto the site Joanne learned the harsh reality of the condition. The life expectancy for her son was two years.  

“Every month there was a kid who died,” she said of her time in the group.

Joanne then consulted a respected neurologist at Columbia Presbyterian who officially diagnosed Ben with Cerebral Palsy. Further testing confirmed the lissencephaly diagnosis and concluded Ben had polymircogyria (PMG) as well, which meant Ben’s brain was primarily smooth where the typical brain has many pronounced folds and ridges. Leaving the doctor’s office, Joanne headed straight across the street to the University bookstore. There she searched the racks of medical books for information on her son’s condition. She found only one small paragraph.  

With the help of the support group, Joanne learned of a doctor in Chicago who specialized in PMG research. A short time later the family was on a flight to meet with the doctor under whose care Ben could participate in genetic studies. When they arrived Joanne and John met with another devastating blow. In Chicago they witnessed “little babies” who couldn’t eat on their own or even swallow. They saw a one-year-old with a tracheotomy “who was practically lifeless.” Even with Ben’s grim diagnosis, he’d always been a happy baby according to Joanne, but on the trip the couple caught a glimpse of what their future might hold.

While kids with Cerebral Palsy can make strides in development, Joanne explained, the condition impairs mobility and their small brains can’t continue to control larger body parts. “They tend to lose oral motor skills. It affects basic automatic functioning.”  

That is the true danger of the disability. Joanne pointed out, “It’s not really the Cerebral Palsy that kills the kids but the host of other issues surrounding the condition.” She added, “Some kids would aspirate food and saliva and get multiple pneumonia. That’s what would kill them.”  

Ben, though, didn’t seem to struggle with eating. “We were grateful because Ben had good oral motor control and was happy and healthy,” Joanne said.  

Then at seven months he started having seizures. Joanne worried about the brain damage the seizures were inflicting. She saw Ben’s happy personality change.  

“The kid we knew was slipping away. We thought he’s not going to make it. He’s not going to make it to his 1st birthday just like all these other kids.”  

But Ben did make it. He has beaten the odds by a decade no doubt a reflection of a mother’s unwavering love. Joanne devoted herself to Ben as her husband returned to work sometimes gone for regular 18-hour stretches. She conditioned herself to be vigilant. “I learned how to be the nursemaid at home. I took his blood pressure, checked his ears for ear infection because he couldn’t communicate. I became my own little doctor’s office.”  

By eliminating some of the guesswork Joanne hoped to avoid constant doctor visits. But with a child who can’t communicate it’s all guesswork. For Joanne that is the toughest part.  

“I always worry he might die from something little that we don’t know about.” She continues to be vigilant in the shadow of her child’s death sentence.  

But Ben is a fighter and under Joanne’s persistent care, he has arrived at adolescence. Although Ben continues to have daily seizures despite taking three different seizure medications along with a daily regimen of 23 other pills and at 13 “is still very much like an infant,” his joyful soul shines through just the same.  

“He loves being around people,” Joanne said. “He’s the one who wants to be up all night when a party is going on. He wants to be a part of everything.”  

“With everything that he lacks,” Joanne emphasized, when you connect with him you see his light is always on.  

That’s the first half of Joanne’s story.

Be sure to come back next week for the second half of Joanne's story.  Also, don't miss a post by today's guest blogger, Stacey Gill at One Funny Motha and follow on her Twitter.  

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Monday, July 23, 2012

10 Things Birthday

My birthday has always been my favorite day of the year.  Even if the day did not turn out as planned or expected, I would still walk around with this strange sort of “awe” floating around my brain.  I was in awe that I was born.

Becoming a mother made birthdays even better.  I loved celebrating the birth of my girls with themed parties, coordinating every detail, even the colors of the M & M’s.  I spent hours finding the perfect activities, biggest balloons, and most unique party favors.  It was exhausting.  However, I wanted my daughters to understand just how incredible it was that they were born.  I wanted them to know they should be celebrated.  And all the commotion kept me from focusing on the fact that each time they had a birthday, they were a year closer to leaving home.

Getting older comes with some fears, but on my birthday, I still am in awe of being born.  And every year I am a little more astonished by how deeply precious life is. I am more respectful of how swiftly time seems to pass. 

My youngest daughter soon turns 12.  I wanted to coordinate party favors, balloons, and decorations to the eVite she enthusiastically created on her own.  Together, I wanted for us to create lovely handmade gift bags and search for the perfect items to go in them.  But she wasn’t interested.  

“Mom, we can just get some candy and put it in bags.” 

The things I used to count on providing me with an opportunity to spend quality fun-time with the girls are changing.  They are growing into young women.  They are uncovering their own understanding of what it means to grow up.  They are making their own decisions on how to celebrate.

Even so, there are things that when I see them, I think birthday.  I think life.  I think celebration.  These will never change.

Today for Monday Listicles, I honor those things that, for me, have come to mean Birthday.

1. Balloons


2. Party Dress


3. Friends


4. Cake


5. Presents

6. Punch


7. Musical Chairs


8. Hats


9. Pigs in a Blanket


10. Party Favors


The best way to spend Monday in the blogosphere!

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Friday, July 20, 2012

If I Could Turn Back Time

My 25th high school reunion is next weekend.  I'm not going, but I am celebrating the occasion by guest blogging at Chosen Chaos for this week's If I could turn back time.

Writing in response to the question ". . .if you had the oppor­tu­nity to sit down with your 18-​​year-​​old self what would you say to her?" helped me to realize that I was still holding onto so much.  By the time I arrived at my final draft, I had been on a grand reunion of thoughts, memories, pains, and triumphs.  It was a fitting and timely experience. Click below to read it!

I'm so incredibly grateful to Jamie, Chosen Chaos,
 for giving me this opportunity.  

Thank you, Jamie!

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It's Just a Phone

After spending the afternoon hanging out with friends, Sophia, my 13 year old, walked through the front door, held up her smartphone and said, “Look!”

The screen was completely shattered.  The tiny monitor was an opaque, intricate spider web.

Even though it was her second HTC EVO Shift in less than one year, I wasn’t mad. 

My lack of anger puzzled me and from the look on Sophia’s face, it puzzled her as well.

So why, when she showed me the latest phone ailment, the completely shattered screen, was I not mad?

Let’s examine.

Point #1

A few months ago, Sophia's best friend dropped her iPhone and shattered its screen.  Her mom refused to replace it and it was torturous . . . for me.  Around the same time, this friend's mother banned her from Facebook as a result of an incident that was not completely explained to me.  I did understand that it required stern consequences.
Sophia and phone number two.

Apparently, emailing each other was a stupid idea.

“No one checks email.”

Apparently, calling her on her home phone was a stupid idea.

“Mom, that is just weird.  No one talks on the phone.  We text.”

Maybe I wasn’t upset because I have a better understanding of how important smartphones are to teens.  They aren’t a frivolous luxury.  They are the main tool for communication.

Point #2

I can’t afford to replace her phone. 

It’s been very hot and I can’t afford central air. 

I’m having tooth problems.  Needless to say, I can’t afford the dentist.  My car needs fixed.  I need something to wear to BlogHer12 (I really have nothing. Don’t start telling me I can wear sweats.  You haven’t seen my sweats).

Maybe I wasn’t upset because adding items to the list of 'things I can’t afford to take care of at the moment' has become routine.

Point #3

Right now, Antonia, my 11 year old, is sitting happily next to me on the couch.  We are wrapping up our movie day, which turned into a “My Fair Wedding” marathon after our dinner break.

Sophia is milling about in her room.  I like the sound of her being here, being home.  Every once in a while, she passes through on her way to the kitchen and says, “I love you, mommy.”  

Maybe I wasn't upset because I know that amenities do not make a childhood better.  Parents aren't better parents because they can provide all of the first world comforts for their children. 

Maybe I am just happy and OK?  

Yes, I like that.

I am happy and OK.  

Break as many smartphones as you like.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wednesday's Woman: Jamie Grace

Jamie Grace

Today’s guest blogger knows a little about helping youth.  Thirteen years ago, Miranda began working with children at summer camp.  During her time as a college student, she split her time and worked part of the summer overseas in the Ukraine with children and teens in orphanages, providing a camp-like program for them. 

Today Miranda does most of her work with youth through her local church.  She states, 

“Since having to join the "real world" and work at a job where I don’t get the summers off to do things like that, my work with children and youth is primarily done so in my local church. I help teach, I help plan events, and I help chaperone almost every trip. In fact, last week I accompanied our youth on a mission trip out of state where teens and adults come together to be broken into work groups that go into a community to paint, put on new roofs, or build handicap ramps. The organization that coordinates this works in conjunction with the local united way to find those who need the help.”

Miranda’s choice for Wednesday’s Woman speaks to the importance of not only working with children, but also of encouraging them to share their stories.  Her honoree is sharing hers and is a life-lesson in courage, hope, and inspiration for those navigating through a world where they find themselves to be different.  After you read Miranda's article, be sure to visit her at Becoming My Ideal.

Wednesday's Woman:  Jamie Grace Harper

Jamie Grace
When first being asked to guest post for Wednesday’s Woman, there was one person that popped into my thoughts immediately.  I delayed writing a piece on her because I thought that I might think of somebody else who would be a “more suitable” subject to write about.  However, this young lady stayed with me and so I am paying tribute to Jamie Grace Harper.

Jamie Grace, as she is more widely known, is a Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter categorized in the Contemporary Christian Music genre.  If your radio doesn’t stay tuned to a local CCM station (don’t worry - mine doesn’t either), you may have heard her song “Hold Me” playing during some recent commercials for Belk department stores.  She is an artist that had the fortune of being discovered on YouTube by a fellow CCM artist, Toby Mac.  At just the age of twenty, she has recently graduated from college despite having to simultaneously handle the pressures of a booming new career in the music industry.

You may have guessed by her musical genre that her faith is a big part of her story and I will admit that it’s also a big part of why I identify with her.  However, it’s not the reason that I chose to write about her.  Earlier this year, I attended a conference with a group of teen girls where Jamie Grace was one of the performers and speakers.  It was there that I learned of a situation in her life and found her to be a great role model not just for teen girls, but for anyone.

At the age of nine, Jamie Grace began noticing things happening with her body that were not right.  These things became more prevalent over the next two years and, at age eleven, she was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome.  She shared with an auditorium full of teen girls how, in a time where all she wanted to do was fit in, her body was doing things that made her completely stand out – and not necessarily in a good way.  The disorder obviously caused things that caught the attention of some of her peers. 

Jamie Grace on
My heart ached for her as she relayed how she would stand in front of her mirror for hours, arms crossed in front of her, practicing how to control the tics that the disorder caused.  It made me sad to hear her tell how she would be sure to sit on her feet any time she was in a group setting because, if she was sitting on them, the tic wouldn’t be visible.  Jamie Grace finished her story by sharing how, in the end, she learned that her mom had always been right – she really did need to just be herself.  Despite the fears she had about what others would think of her, she realized that her differences gave made her unique and gave her a special outlook on life.  And now she is using her story to help others. 

As someone who works with children and teens, it pains me to hear of the things that they have to experience on a daily basis.  I am increasingly troubled by the prevalence of bullying amongst this age group.  Hearing Jamie Grace’s story, I was reminded of the many young people that I’ve seen on the news or read about online that have had others ridicule them for being different, whether it was a weight issue, a medical issue, or even no issue beyond the fact that the other person was just a bully.  These victims need somebody that they can identify with, somebody that they can look to as a role model, somebody whose story can give them hope.  I believe that Jamie Grace is such a person.

It touched me that Jamie Grace uses the audience that she’s been given to share her experience in order to encourage others.  We are not ever guaranteed that our lives will be easy; most of us will face some type of bump along our road of life.  But maybe in the future, when we begin to worry about what others will think of our personality, our clothes, our disorders, or our general goofiness, we will take the advice of Jamie Grace (and her mom) and simply be ourselves.

Photo Credit: By Jamiegraceh [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Monday, July 16, 2012

Thanks in 10

Every once in a while, it's good to stop and take inventory of what we are grateful for.  Today's theme for Monday Listicles  is 10 Thanks and gives me the opportunity to do just that.


1.  My daughters, Sophia and Antonia.  Without whom I never would have embarked on such an in-depth look at myself and my family of origin.  We are breaking cycles, kiddos.  I hope one day you’ll understand the importance of doing so and the importance of constant self-evaluation which leads to change.

2.  My significant other, M. Dude. It sure is rough sometimes, but when I look away from the chaos, I always see you standing there saying, “I am proud of you.”  That’s quite amazing.

3.  My blogging community. Boy, oh boy.  The acceptance and how you embrace my story is astounding and sometimes completely overwhelming to me.  You challenge me to keep moving forward, to keep healing, and to stay truthful in my personal evolution.  You also teach me about writing.  I am grateful for that.  I hope I give you at least a little of what you give me.  Powerful stuff, simply powerful.

4.  My dogs, Frodo, Scruffy, and Tina.  Every time I spend time with one or all of you, my heart rate decreases and my blood pressure is lowered.  You are loyal and don’t care when I mess up.  You allow me to talk to you like the babies I no longer have and do not look at me like I am crazy.  Thank you.


5.  Martins Ferry, Ohio.  Your river and its constant flow toward the south gave me hope that I would one day escape.  Your hills hugged me and made me feel safe in a world full of scary, terrible things.

6.  Northern California.  Your expansive beauty inspired me to see the beauty in my little girls, every day, looking into their eyes and being reminded of the magnificence of creation.

7.  Chicago, Illinois.  This is where I really grew up and changed from confused child into adult.  You were exciting, yet friendly, offering me all I needed to figure things out and become a grown up.

8.  Columbus, Ohio.  There is something about you that gives me hope.  I’m not sure I’ll stay here once the girls are off to college, but I appreciate what you are trying to do.


9.  Money. I don’t have a lot of you. I wish I had more. But I always have enough of you to keep everyone fed, clothed, and housed.  Thanks for that.  Let’s talk about how we can grow our relationship.

10. The World Wide Web. Information is empowering.  Connecting to others is empowering.  You rock.

The best way to spend Monday in the blogosphere!

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Save It for Later: FAMU and Penn State

In Save It for Later you’re getting a brief run-down of each week's stand-outs from my Diigo "Read Later" list, Pulse News, Twitter, and Pinterest

FAMU Marching 100

Wednesday, Florida A and M University President, James Ammons, announced he is resigning after the hazing death of university drum major, Robert Champion, in November.  There is a lot to this story and I wasn’t aware of it until this morning when I watched E:60 on ESPN

Briefly, Robert Champion, a drum major in the FAMU marching band, was hazed to death by band mates on the band’s bus—Bus C, to be exact—a bus known for passengers being hazed if they chose to ride on it.  Seems the band director knew hazing was going on, but thought it had stopped.  However, in an interview shown on E:60, he claims he did not know it was going on, at all.

Also on Wednesday, the family of Robert Champion filed a wrongful death law suit against FAMU.  Of course the president is stepping down.  It’s not timely; it’s what is done once the law suits start coming in.  In my opinion, he should have been gone in November when the incident happened. 

The band was banned from performing this fall—a fitting consequence.  Thirteen band members were criminally charged in the ordeal (11 face felony hazing charges, two were charged with misdemeanors).  However, some, including the victim’s family, want the band to march again in the future.

I feel the days of FAMU’s Marching 100 should be over. Forever. Someone is dead.  Others before him were injured and the university knew about it.  Just days before Champion died, CNN reports, campus police recommended FAMU stop the band from marching or at the very least, suspend the upperclassmen.  

On Tuesday, HBO's Real Sports will air an interview with Rikki Wills, one of the defendants in the upcoming hazing trial.  Don't miss it.

Freeh Report

Much has been written about the Freeh report since its release on Thursday.  Much has been said as well.  ESPN should stop airing interviews with Jay Paterno, son of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, and Matt Millen, a former Penn State football player.  I agree with the views on both of the aforementioned in the below links, the first from Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic, the second from Rob Raissman of the New York Daily Times.  Click them. Read them.  Stop being afraid to read and talk about the child sexual abuse scandal at Penn State.

The Other Joe Paterno

Matt Millen’s biased defense of Joe Paterno

 on ESPN indefensible

Another post about the Penn State scandal, specifically about the role of iconic, former football coach Joe Paterno, came from Ashley over at The Dose of Reality.  She was gentle yet strong in her voice and I enjoyed reading it.   Not because I love the topic---I hate it and it sickens me.  But because she provides for us an example of what we should be doing—talking about it. Make sure you read Silence is Not an Option, including the comments. There is important conversation happening.  Don't be afraid to join the conversation by leaving your own comment.  Then, if you are a blogger, go to your own space and blog about it.

And if you are part of the NCAA, please consider giving Penn State’s football program the death penalty.  Do all who come after the Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal at Penn State deserve to suffer by not having football?  No. Players can play football someplace else.  If Ohio State got in trouble for some players selling belongings in exchange for tattoos, if FAMU’s Marching 100 is no longer marching because they killed a person…umm…you see where this is going.  It is a rule of society that the actions, or wrong-doing of one has impact on all--even the privileged.  We will fail to learn this rule unless big powerful institutions feel the consequences, until we feel the consequences.  The only fitting consequence for Penn State is NO MORE FOOTBALL

My favorite sportscaster, Dan Patrick, was on vacation last week.  I am looking forward to his return tomorrow morning to The Dan Patrick Show to hear his commentary on the Freeh report.  I am hoping to hear something like what he said last November when the scandal at Penn State broke:
“Joe Paterno has lost the right
to be the head coach of Penn State.”
~Dan Patrick
I hope I hear Dan say, "Penn State has lost the right to have a football program."  And after, I hope he takes down that poster of Kate Upton that is hanging behind him.  It's still crushing my morale.

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hot Air Balloons

No one has asked if I have ever been on a hot air balloon ride. 

I wonder why?

Maybe it’s a question that belongs in the middle atmosphere of relationship development—a place I tend to skip, traveling directly from the troposphere up to the heights of the ionosphere?

Maybe my swift ascent into too much self-disclosure turns people off?  Then, they forget the middle-atmospheric question about the hot air balloons.

As we know from Altman and Taylor’s social penetration theory, getting to know someone requires self-disclosure in steps, starting with a little and ending with a lot.  Altman and Taylor think intimate relationships can develop in no other way. 

The tough thing is, self-disclosure begets vulnerability.  Vulnerability brings discomfort. 

If I choose to dive into discomfort and tell, and it turns out well, or, it is reciprocated, then it’s a victory.

Contrarily, if I choose to sink into discomfort and it bites me on the ass . . . hopefully there are thick enough Band-Aids to absorb all the blood oozing from my bleeding cheek.

Contrarily to the contrary, if I choose to disclose nothing at all, I end up alone, isolated, and living in my own head, spinning in my imaginary world of wondering what others think of me:

Am I too fat?

Am I too dumb?

Do I seem too old?

Do they know I am broken and afraid?

And when it seems others are okay with my brokenness, it all comes pouring out, in one swift wave of self-disclosure.  Too much, too soon, off they run.  I float dangerously in the upper atmosphere, alone.

. . . sexual abuse is probably the most emotionally loaded inhibitor to communications and the surrounding atmosphere of trust and equality that must exist for intimacy to occur. Amid the psychological aberrations of the survivor's world are two key concepts whose mixture acts as a formidable barrier to successful interpersonal communication and, therefore, intimacy. These bywords for the unconscious dysfunction of the survivor of sexual abuse are trust and secrecy. (Engle, 1991)

I once lived in Clinton, New Jersey, in a nice condo with a husband and a baby.  Behind the sparkling, sprawling, new living community, off in the distance, I regularly saw hot air balloons being launched into the lower bit of the sky.

I have never been on a hot air balloon ride.  Have you?

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