~For all freewriting-based blog posts, see the tag #Wells Of Thought: Notions and Expositions.
*cough* So.....This one is really, really long. Instead of ≈1,000 words, I peaked at 3, no...4,312 words today. o_o WAIT NO let me add 9 so it's 4,321. 😁
I go off on tangents about the following topics: Grandma's earliest memory, why I don't use foul language, how sheltered I was, what it was like going to public high school, why French horn is hard to learn, a teacher who was a mentor to me in that time, the difference between an optimist and pessimist and why I'm an idealist, how I feel about my parents arriving this evening to visit for the weekend, and finally, a list of 10 things I'm proud of myself for achieving (which you might think are kind of lame or sad, but no!!! I take pride in the battles I've won. No more depression, worthlessness, and self-pity for me.)
Here's prompt #4: 2014-B
Haha... there's quite a story behind this one.
But right now, it's making me think about Grandma Spence's earliest memory that she shared with us at their 50th wedding anniversary celebration, where she begged her older brother Kenny to let her ride on his horse...I can't remember what his name was, and I googled 'names for horses' and none of the names on the first article sounded close enough to jog my memory. It was just a week ago, no, 6 days ago, and I can't remember her horse's name. :(
Anyway, Grandma tells this story about when she was three years old, and her brother, who's my great uncle Kenny, had a horse of his own out there in the country. She always wanted to ride the horse, and not with her brother, on her own. I don't blame her, I wanted to be a big girl when I was three, too! Haha. My uncle Kenny was about 10 years older than her, and he always said no because she was so little, but this time he said yes.
When she tells the story, she says that when he got home and was inside the gate, usually the horse would just trot back up to the stable, without having to be told where to go. So her brother decided that would be a relatively safe solo ride for his sister Donna. He hoisted her up on the saddle and told her to hold on to the saddle horn and don't let go no matter what.
But as these stories wouldn't be such well-remembered if everything went the way it was supposed to, that's not what happened.
I can imagine her at three years old, I don't know if she had blonde hair when she was born, or if it was always brown, but pictures from her childhood are so cute. I bet she had a determined look on her face as she sat there, holding on as tight as she could. And then when big brother let go, and...the horse...shot off for the pasture instead.......I bet she looked pretty heroic as she held on tight to that saddle horn. My uncle Kenny ran after the horse, yelling, "Just let go, I'll catch you!" But of course, she was determined not to let go!
He didn't catch up until it had run all the way down the hill through the trees and to the meadow (if I'm remembering her story right.) He stopped at the fence, and brother Kenny finally reached her and helped her down.
When Grandma told us this story last week, one of my dad's cousins asked if she "got back on the horse," or if she was afraid to ride after that. She shrugged and said that she had her own horse once she was big enough, and she rode all the time, but she didn't get back on her brother's horse for a while.
This picture makes me think of that story not only because of the horse, but because it was a time when someone else also told me it would be an easy ride, and that it would be fine for me to get up on a horse, untrained, and also bareback... We weren't thinking at all, and my friend said her dad could saddle the horse up as soon as he got home, but I wanted to sit on a horse now, and I didn't care if there was a saddle or not. Riding bareback was...how would you say it without the a-word.... It was something impressive and cool and dramatic if you rode without a saddle.
...I keep thinking one of these days I'll be able to just say the "language words" that already come to mind that express certain situations perfectly, but my social qualms still keep me from uttering them, for fear that if my mouth were to become used to forming the words, that they would slip out unbidden at inopportune moments. But then... You know, I'm just going to go off on a tangent to talk about foul language.
I grew up super sheltered, like, the first time I heard the F-word was when my mom was having "the talk" with me when I started puberty, and she told me it so that I wouldn't, I don't know, hear it somewhere and repeat it? I don't know. But it was like, Dad was out of town and she and I had a slumber party and we talked about maturity and modesty and chastity and chaperones and dating, all on a level that an 11 year-old could pretty much understand. But yeah, she might have asked me if I knew what the F-word was, and I'd barely even heard that there was such a thing, and I said no. So she started to spell it--and then backed out at the first two letters--and said it rhymed with "duck." And then I whispered the word that rhymes with "duck" that starts with 'f', like, "...F...uck?" And Mom freaked and hushed me like "Yeah yeah, don't SAY it, it's a very, very bad word!!" She told me that it was a crude term for sex, and that was her segue into explaining in simple terms the way that God's perfect creation of love had been tainted and corrupted by mankind. A beautiful thing between man and wife was now used as a curse and "intensifier" (my dictionary app, WordWeb, that I've been using since I got my first iPod Touch when I was 13, used this term in the definition of any bad word I'd casually look up. I see a bad word and I think "intensifier," and that kind of describes my feelings about bad language. It intensifies what you're saying. Whether you should intensify it or not is what the issue is about.
So yeah, there was that first encounter, and then I didn't think about it again until I started getting on the internet and would see uncensored memes and text posts. It shocked and repulsed me at that age, but then, after we came back to the States and I went to public frikin high school, man. Those first two weeks, as anyone will tell you who knew me then, I was just in shock. One thing that shocked me was the way the teachers were accustomed to the students' propensity for foul language and, while they wouldn't just let it slide, there was definitely not a strong consequence or reparation.
(I'm really breaking out the thesaurus here, I love when I get to do this. It's half of why I love blogging. But I'm using Thesaurus.com instead of my hard copy...why?? I have it sitting on the shelf...Oh well. No time to grab it now, I need to finish this up so that I can start doing the dishes and cleaning up for when Mom and Dad arrive this evening; they're going to be staying at my apartment for a few days while they're passing through. I'm really excited but I've been busy helping Alex pack his stuff and move to his new place, so I haven't done any dishes since my brothers left from their visit on Tuesday morning. Rickey and Noah and Alex helped me wash everything Monday night, and I absolutely adore them for it. I think that if washing dishes could always be a social event, I'd be less biased against it in my mental motivational processes.)
Anyway. The first two weeks of school in the US back in August 2013 were crazy...Not the craziest since, but definitely the most stressful in their unexpected nature that I had experienced up to that point. In that first week, at age 16, I started learning to drive standard with my Dad, because he wanted us kids to learn stick first before driving an automatic, and he'd bought the sedan just for that purpose. Also in that week, I jumped into picking a class schedule (thankfully we were there to start the year and I wasn't completely jumping in at the middle of the semester or anything), learning my teachers' names, and locating the classes, bathrooms, gym, and most important--the cafeteria. Haha.
I also started learning French horn, because I'd always wanted to play as many instruments as I could have a chance to learn, and now that we were in the States where we had a school to attend that had a high school band, I could finally have lessons on something and play with other people! I'd had piano lessons since I was 5...I talked about that a couple posts ago, I believe...and I taught myself basic guitar when I was 14 and one of our family friends lent me her guitar while they were away for a year...My brother gave me his old recorder from kindergarten, and I sort of played around on that... And now I was getting to have real lessons on a brass instrument. It was really difficult, and not in the way that learning an instrument is difficult when it's the first one you've ever had lessons on. I knew how to read notes, and I was even reading in the treble clef (lower instruments were in bass clef, and I can read that but it wasn't as natural to me at that point). What was hard about it was the ambresure...embrechure... Ugh. (Google is one of my best friends, it understands me and magnifies my thoughts into cohesive language. Ahem.)
So yeah. The hard part was the embouchure, having to learn how to make that buzz with tight lips, AND steady airflow that was ALSO angled in the correct direction for the note I was playing, WHILE pressing the right valves for the fingering of that note. And...You know what, I'm going to go off on another tangent. Miss Sarah Graham, you don't read this blog (because barely anybody knows about it anyway), but you are an amazing woman. Your encouragement to me, both in my 20-minute lessons during this first week and in your involvement with my learning during the rest of my two years of high school there, it's stuck with me. I know that my self-esteem, personal worth, and confidence in my ability to succeed, in time and with practice, were strengthened greatly in that short time you had with me. Of the people who've impacted my life, you've been one of my greatest mentors. You watched me toil through that first semester of lessons before I was ready to join the rest of the band, and you encouraged me with both advice and stories of your own struggles. Your transparency and your support made me who I am today. I'm not sure exactly what that is yet, haha, but discovering who God made me to be has been easier because of the time you invested in me.
The embouchure was hard, and it was kind of discouraging that I didn't pick it up right away. Driving stick was hard, I stalled A LOT and was hesitant to slam on the brakes because I wanted to be a "smooth driver" and create a comfortable riding experience for any passengers. Finding my classes was kind of hard, too. French horn lessons, driving lessons, and my class schedule which was constantly folded up in my pocket: these concrete routines helped me to cope with those abstract variables, such as: making friends, when I only knew one girl who was a senior and had very different interests (cough, sports, ahem), deciding what to wear for the ever-shifting Arizona temperatures, and talking to literally anybody.
My gosh, I'm almost at 2,000 words, and these were supposed to be "a picture's worth 1,000 words" types of deals. I guess I'd better attach a couple more pictures so I can keep going. ;)
Peers. Interacting with peers in person. Interacting with peers, in person, whose backgrounds didn't resemble mine in the slightest. I didn't think it was going to be 'scary', the way kids think the first day of kindergarten will be scary.
I remember crying during math in 1st grade at a new school, and also crying (in math class, too, actually) in 7th grade at a new school when a boy wouldn't stop whispering, during class, trying to force to me thank him for saying "God bless you" when I sneezed, but I was shy and hadn't been able to get the phrase out because I was awkward and didn't know how to interact with boys because I had an irrational fear, a phobia, of what might happen if I did talk to a boy...my gosh, that one was embarrassing...ha.
I started crying, and I couldn't keep the tears from welling up in my eyes, and I actually raised my hand and the teacher (who was kind of eccentric but was the best teacher for that rowdy group, and who threw me a farewell party three months later when I left) asked me what was wrong, and I honestly don't remember what happened but whew. I was so glad when that panic of a moment was over. He did get in trouble to some degree, idk if he was like, sent to the office (I feel like it wasn't that severe), or if the teacher just gave him some sort of "What the heck, man? Stop distressing this young lady, she's new and she's an MK!" That was a common phrase at that school about me, since it was the private school affiliated with our church there.
Anyway. I didn't think it was going to be scary this time, because I wanted to keep my chin up, stay positive, be optimistic. But I'd experienced lapses of emotional control on stressful occasions at a new school (besides the fact that I am an emotional human being and feel things very deeply anyway), so I should have known. But I'm also an idealist, and I tend to like believing that the best and easiest sequence of events will occur (also known as naiveté...I tried to spell it "naivety" and spell check allowed that, too, but the spelling I googled looks more grandiose. ha.) More than an optimist, who, in my book, looks for good things, notices the positive outcomes, and uses that to frame their expectations and their perception of reality, and very far from my definition of a pessimist, who looks for bad things, notices the negative outcomes, and frames their expectations, their perception of reality, and their impression of how life is treating them with these unfortunate circumstances. I guess I do 'look for good things and notice positive outcomes,' but I don't do as much looking, as I'm caught up in my daydreams and well-wishes, and am not overly concerned with whether this or that was good or bad. If I'm going to talk about something coming up, like my parents visiting, for example, I first consult my impression of what I hope it will be like, not what good or bad things I think can happen. I think about how I feel, and I feel excited to see my mom and dad, proud of my own little apartment here, a little anxious about letting them into my sanctum, the "physical manifestation of who I am", as Jordan Peterson says about one's bedroom...and I'm dreading having to do all those dishes and pick up all the clothes off the floor and clean up the clutter...well, no, that's actually enjoyable, because it's organizational and there's "instant gratification" that Mom talks about, haha. But there's a time constraint! That makes me feel anxious. And I perceive an expectation--which my parents may or may not have--of a clean environment and signs of my good mental health, manifested in the way I conduct myself (and I'd better be conducting myself in a manner which looks a lot like Mom's manner of conduct, at least in the areas of food prep, household cleaning, hygiene, and yeah..... I feel like Mom expects everything to look great, and like if my apartment doesn't meet her expectation, she is going to think that I'm as healthy of an adult as she'd hoped for me. And I don't want Dad to be disappointed with the way I don't keep it neat and organized all the time...)
But you know what? As an idealist who can slip into anxiety when her ideals seem unattainable, I'm going to flip those thoughts around. There's a time constraint? Well, I'd have time for all the cleaning I want to do if I'd just close up this blog post, or get to a good stopping point and return to it later. I'm perceiving expectations? Well, I can just text Mom and tell her I'm doing okay even though I'm not keeping up with laundry or dishes or picking up blankets and folding them. I'm doing a lot better at some things that were stressful before. I'll make a good list I can be proud of, and then that'll be a nice positive ending to this blog post. Haha, and maybe later I'll add the story that goes with the original picture, lol.
Little SuccessesThe battles fought and mostly won in the war of mental health.
- I'm keeping up with taking out the trash when it gets full or smelly or before I leave on a trip.
- I'm rinsing and scraping food off of dishes and not leaving the crumbs around on the table or counter to attract ants anymore.
- I'm putting food back in the fridge and not forgetting it out on the counter like I've done with creamer or something I just cooked that needs to be put into a container.
- I take my evening meds every single night, and I mostly have a handle on getting refills on time instead of procrastinating and then panicking when they run out...
- I know how caffeine and sugar affect me, and I monitor my caffeine when I'm on my Adderall so that I don't get that horrible antsy, fidgety, agitated feeling.
- I keep creamer or milk in stock.
- I haven't run out of gas or kept myself from going somewhere because I didn't want to refill (for either the anxiety of how much money I'd have to spend, or the social anxiety of the getting out of the car in a dirty, smelly, wide open place, and being in close proximity to strangers who might be weird and who might stare...social anxiety or anthropophobia, fear of open spaces or agoraphobia, fear of germs or bacteriophobia, fear of smells or olfactophobia... I can list fears that used to keep me from stopping for gas until the last possible second. I guess the fear of failure that running out of gas and having to call for help would imply is worse than the sum of those other fears. Anyway. I overcome that by being OCD about where I get gas and trying to make sure I always get the cheapest price that I can. It helps me cope with the other stuff I think.)
- I don't beat myself up about maybe saying something kind of stupid in a group that nobody gets and doesn't make anybody laugh. I've learned to reverse those thought patterns, and a year of therapy has helped teach me to fight back with "these people love me; they don't wish I wasn't here; nobody notices my 'failures' or thinks of me as 'a failure' if I say something kind of stupid; I'm going to keep contributing to conversations today and I know that I will be glad I didn't shrink back because of a little thing like that that doesn't matter."
- I am working at standing up for myself when I have an opinion that matters to me, instead of never wanting to share opinions that I feel strongly about so that nobody can hurt my feelings. I still don't speak out a whole lot, but generally that's because there aren't many occasions for debates or serious, critical, relevant moral discussions. Usually, I'm just defending my rules as a babysitter when I'm with the kids that I've been nannying on and off during this summer, and that's the closest I get to standing up for my "opinions." I don't even call them opinions there, because it's stuff like "do your homework" "because your mom put it on your chore list" "because if you don't keep up with studies and learn things, your brain won't be ready to absorb things when school starts back up" "just do your homework" "do you want to get in trouble when your mom comes home and sees you didn't do your homework all day", etc. Heavy sigh. I just prefer harmony when I'm with friends, and the most arguing I find myself engaging in is usually just the general joking type, where I lay aside the rules I generally follow that keep me from making outrageous statements or drawing faulty conclusions from flawed data..... What am I even talking about anymore? I don't shrink back for fear of rejection or disagreement when there's something important to say, I guess. Not as much as I used to. On to the last thing on the list of things I'm proud of getting better at, lol.
- I accept the responsibilities that come with living on my own. Paying bills and rent, maintaining quiet hours for the sake of my neighbors, keeping myself from lying in bed all day, knowing that no one will get me out of the house except me, and cooking relatively nutritious and varied meals for myself... These are the things I was working to accomplish so that I could be ready to move out, and I've done so well. I mean, sure I haven't eaten anything today except my coffee, and I'm procrastinating terribly as I've been on my blog since 10:49 AM and it's 2:04 PM now, but hey, I got out of bed. I took a shower! I updated my hair color, too, as touching it up often is important to keep it looking sharp. I made coffee and drank it before it was too late in the day. I took my Adderall (sure, it was later than it should have been because I turned off my alarm at 9:30 when it went off and then got distracted and forgot until 11). I've been drinking water, too! I've got a water bottle here and I'm taking good sips.
If this sounds depressing or sad to you that these are the things I'm proud of, I'm sorry but that is not my intention... Celebrate the little things with me, and be happy for the good instead of dwelling on the negative side (which I avoid like stepping on fallen ice cubes in the kitchen while wearing socks!) And thank you, by the way, for reading my rambling updates and freewrites about these old pictures.
There's a lot more things I could list that I'm proud of, too, like how well I've learned how to drive in a big city by myself, and how I'm making friends and putting in the effort to plan times to hang out with them... But 10 is a good number, and those are the things that I interact with on a daily level. And also I have a maximum of 4 hours now to wash the dishes, organize my dirty clothes to put them in the wash once my parents get here with more quarters, and plan a dinner that my mom can eat (she can't have carbs!).
So I'm gonna close this off, close my windows so I can blast some music through the speakers, and open my motivational reserves to get this stuff DONE. :)