Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Survival & Challenges

A term that gets overused these day is survivor, as in survivor of any traumatic or life threatening event.  With a catastrophic health issue I understand its use.  In the media it sometimes feels over used.  I could claim that label multiple times, a survivor of childhood physical abuse, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, an adult child of an alcoholic, and a survivor of domestic abuse.  I have had quite a few challenges in my life. I have had people tell me, they would be permanently stuck in the fetal position if they had been me.  Among my challenges, thing I need to overcome, are a hearing impairment, a cleft lip and palate, several medical conditions as a result of those birth defects, a learning disability, depression (possibly Seasonal Affective Disorder), and ADD.  All of these things are part of me, but they do not define me. 

My problem with the word survive is that in means just surviving a traumatic event is enough.  It is true that some don’t survive it. Some however never get past it or allow it to control their lives.  What I think is good for dealing with these types of challenges is surviving and thriving.  What I mean by thriving is to grow and be strong after such difficulty.  I myself am not a perfect example of this, but it is something I work towards. I strive to survive and thrive. I am not trying to be flippant about this, surviving and thriving are not easy tasks.  It takes years of work, determination and will to do so.  These obstacles are not easy to overcome.

Many folks have difficulty overcoming those obstacles.  Am I saying they are less for not being able to do so?  No, I am not.  Some folks need more help than others to get through these things.  I just know what I decided to do in my situation.  The reason why I strive to thrive is it is a way to not let those who have hurt me to win.  I am a fighter, I always have been.  I have fought to function at the same level as most others.  My physical obstacles have never made that easy.  I have never had any thing easy, due to that I cherish what I have.

I am not some perfect paragon, as of July 2015, I am still living with family and unemployed.  I still struggle daily with my weight and physical conditioning.  I am working to resolve these things in me.  I have support and people who care.  I still deal with other obstacles that interfere with what I desire.  Raging or crying does not resolve it.  I have learned how to create plans of action for my needs.  Do I always do as I plan or accomplish what I plan? No, I do not.  I do brush myself off and do it again until I succeed.  For me giving up is not an option. Back as when I was a kid in the 1970’s there was a toy called the Weebles.  They were egg shaped people and animals. They had a slogan, “Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down.”  That is part of my strategy in life, I take the hits, but I won’t let it keep me down.  I am not everybody else, and others have their own strategies.

I am not immune to wanting to give up. With my history of fighting just to function day to day due my physical challenges, there is a voice in my head that won’t let me give up.  My inner voice is not nice either.  It comes down to doing the best you can with what you have and learning how to use as many resources as you can.  This all based on my personal history, everyone else’s experiences with vary. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Letting Go

Many of us who call ourselves Geeks and Nerds do something that is very destructive, we hold onto the past.  Specifically we hold one to past pains and hurts like badges of honor. For many of us, we were bullied and teased by our peers.  That resentment and anger builds.  Recently, the backlash of those hard feelings has presented itself in inappropriate ways.  It has caused many in the Nerd and Geek culture to gate keep or in other words, to say who and who isn’t allowed.  That is horse manure, why should we treat new folks like we had been by others.  This is even more absurd that many behaving this way are allegedly grown adults.

Why have I begun to rethink this idea?  I never liked gate keeping.  Who are we to judge?  Some of the so-called poseurs may become part of our tribe.  Why behave like those who treated us badly, it makes no sense. Much of this behavior is targeted towards females, because many male geeks and nerds were hurt by females in their pasts.  We as a community need to let go of our resentments, hurt and anger.  Carrying this stuff becomes toxic.  Thus creating a toxic environment we have been seeing with the attitudes towards the new influx of people embracing Geek and Nerd culture, especially females, people of color, and those from the LGBTQ community.

To be honest I did this myself.  I held all the hurt from the bullying and teasing as a badge of honor, when actually it was a burden.  I had been teased, ridiculed, bullied, and ostracized from grade school to high school and to a certain degree even in University.  Recently, I learned what harm I had been doing myself holding on to this pain and hurt.  One of my grade school to high school friends reconnected with me on Facebook.  He used to rib me constantly; sometimes I thought he did not care for me much.  It came out that the people I grew up with in grade school had been looking for me.

I was surprised by this and friended many folks from that era.  I told many I was surprised that they wanted to know me again and were looking for me. I was reminded that I was one of them.  This included some folks who were cruel and mean to me.  I forgave them and asked forgiveness of those I believed I may have wronged myself.  In one conversation I was reminded that we were all grown adults and were pushing 50.  All these things happened when we were kids.  Kids do stupid stuff.  Holding onto to all the pain and hurt was not good for me.  Some in the Geek and Nerd community allow that hurt and pain to define them.  I do not want that kind of negativity to define me, so I let it all go. 

To be honest there are still some wounds too raw those have not healed enough for me to move on completely.  I am working on it.  Those are all recent.  I have given up holding onto the crap from childhood and high school.  That is a waste of time and energy for someone over 30.  I believe that this is the source of much of the toxicity we have seen in the Geek and Nerd community.  Holding onto al this negativity only breeds the hate, rage and resentment we have been dealing with in that last few years.  My advice to those who have been hurt, try not to hold onto that in the end it become toxic.  If you exude toxic energy no one wants to be around that.  That toxicity only creates more of the same and ends in a vicious circle. By letting go, it results in such a relief of that kind of burden. That Has Been My Not So Humble Opinion.