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Disconnection in a Connectivity World

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Here in the Western world, we live a life where most people are connected electronically somehow. We have multiple social media sites, work connection sites, shopping, school reunion sites and more. We are seemingly never alone. Or are we? A phone or computer isn’t the same as a human to human interface. It begins to beg the question about whether all of our technology is really connecting us or keeping us more and more disconnected from one another. These are questions that I ask myself often these days. I have begun seeking out answers and others who are asking the same questions. I have sat down to write this post so many times but the words have simply eluded me much like regular contact with others has in recent months.

The theory put forth by Johann Hari in his book Lost Connections, which I have been reading, as well as renowned scientists is that we are more disconnected now from each other than we ever have been before. Those connections are a needed quantity for most of us to be a healthy and whole person. Johann Hari talks about the fact that we don’t have tribe anymore and we don’t connect on a personal face to face level regularly with tribe like we have in the past. (For the purpose of this discussion tribe will be used to mean a group or groups of people that we interact with whom we can depend on for help and to help in return.) Humans are social animals and the more disconnected we become the more anxious and depressed we are becoming. Our society has the highest rates of depression and anxiety ever in our history. I believe that we need more quality human interaction with one another on a much more regular basis than many of us are getting.

I have seen this happen in my own life as a result of chronic illness, OCD and depression. Then you add in some environmental factors and it’s a recipe for disconnection disaster in my world. About 7 months ago my car died on me and since I am not working we really can’t afford to fix or replace it. (We are working on it and it will hopefully be resolved soon.) So this has meant that I am in effect trapped at home, a lot. When my partner is home in the evenings & on weekends I can use his car but there’s a limited window of when I have access to the car, when I feel well enough to go do something and when others are available to do things with me. Throw in that we live about 45 minutes to an hour from most of our tribe the window gets even smaller. Needless to say the optimal window when all three main factors are available is relatively small and hard to fit through.  I am someone who loves my solitude and alone time but apparently I can have way too much of a good thing.

I have tribe, I have family of choice with whom I am close and I have some bio family that I am still tangentially connected to. However, even with all that I still often feel cut loose in this overly connected world. It’s ironic that the more I am connected, the less connected I feel. I am very fortunate to have a smart phone, a tablet, a laptop and a PC. I am about as connected as you can get electronically. I have social media profiles and lots of friends to keep up with there. But there is something inherently missing in this electronic communication for me. Maybe it’s body language, maybe it’s tone of voice, or the glint of an eye as someone laughs about something or maybe it’s just simple human touch and contact, sharing that energy of just being in each other’s aura for a while. Whatever it is I know I need more of the human connections and far less of the electronic connectivity of our modern world. We are all so busy and on the go all the time that we don’t always have or make time to connect with each other more deeply.

Don’t worry, I am not throwing out all my gadgets and going to live in a yurt in the woods somewhere. Ok, maybe the yurt one day but I will still have my electronic gadgetry.

So what’s the solution you ask? What I am going to do is reach out more even when it is tough and the depression is telling me no one wants to hear from me. I am going to make more phone calls to reach out rather than texts because there’s something to be said for that connection of hearing another person’s voice. I am going to put down the electronics more often and interact in good old fashioned ways. I am going to  send more cards & letters because I know how much I love receiving them so why not start the ball rolling and send them? I used to be a very prolific letter writer and then just got out of the habit with email and such. And last but certainly not least of all, I am going to get together face to face whenever I can with those I care about, make time even if it’s just an hour here or there.

I don’t know that this is a perfect solution to all the disconnection I have been experiencing and that I see all around me but I know it’s a start. A journey can’t begin until I take the first step out and begin. So, here I go beginning.


Mother’s Day Hermitage

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

I wasn’t sure I was going to post this but I really feel moved to do so as this is a tough topic for me and therefore means I need to examine it and share it. I love my mom but we have a weird relationship and always have kind of. But she’s not what this post is about. I love that we have a days to celebrate parents (though I think that should be every day really as most moms and dads are pretty awesome).

Mother’s Day is a really tough day for me every year. I tend to hermit up on Mother’s Day and stay away from social media as it’s just too overwhelming for me. Something a lot of folks don’t know about me is that I really wanted to be a mom and think I would have been a pretty great mom on a lot of levels. Due to severe PCOS and other health conditions it just never happened and now it can’t due to a needed hysterectomy. I know that my life is just not meant to contain motherhood to a child of my body this go around and most of the time I am ok with it. But, there are certain times that I still struggle with never having the chance. I struggle with not getting to help raise a small human and hope they go on to make the world a better place. I struggle with knowing that I won’t have the comfort of them in my life as I grow older. I struggle with not seeing my family line go on for a lot of reasons. So when I see all the ads about Mother’s Day I start to shut down and tune out. My mom has suffered for that over the years on Mother’s Day and for that I am sorry. I keep working on this every year and it does get better but I do wonder if it will ever really go away.

I have a dear friend who told me some years back that every person I have sponsored, mentored, been a deep friend to and helped are all sort of like my kids in a way. That thought has helped me a lot over the years thinking that hopefully a piece of me will live on in all the teaching, mentoring and sponsoring that I do. At the root of all I am is the desire to help make the world just a little bit better place. While I didn’t get to do that having a child, perhaps in just a lot of little ways I still managed to do so.

To all of the others out there like myself, I see you, I feel your pain and I love you. We don’t have to be defined by whether we had kids or not and I know how hard it is in a society that values parenthood so highly as a status marker. Be your awesome self and keep kicking ass!

To all of you awesome parents out there rocking it each day, I see you and I appreciate having you in my life. You teach me and help me help others through what you do with your kids. Keep being awesome and make time for yourself too!

Now I am going to go get some tissues, dry my eyes and get back to kicking butt!

Let’s Rhapsodize

Thursday, 19 April 2018

I am a huge fan of the group Queen and have been for many years. I am a notorious grump when it comes to covers of their songs because no one else is Freddy Mercury. The worst song anyone tries to cover in my opinion is Bohemian Rhapsody because no one can hit those high notes the way Freddy did. They are always either too low or too high and can’t get that niche he had. So, I say all of that to say that I stumbled across the first cover of Bohemian Rhapsody that not only did I make it all the way through watching but actually LIKED. I think that instrumentally the band nails the song and vocally I would give them a 90/100 which is the most I have ever given any Queen cover. So, here it is. Enjoy.

Loss and the Doubt Monster

Friday, 13 April 2018

The last several weeks have been a lot about loss and gain. Some of you may have noticed that I didn’t post last week. Honestly it was because I was just so far down in the dumps I didn’t have anything good to say. Sometimes for me there comes a point where it’s just a good policy to step away from the keyboard for a while and last week was one of those times.

I generally spend a lot of time thinking about loss, death and the whole process around grieving; probably more than most people. That’s not to say that I am maudlin because I’m definitely not. Overall, I tend to be a pretty upbeat person. I experienced a lot of death, loss and grief at an early age because many of the people in my family were much older. Being the thinker that I am I started very early trying to make more sense out of death and the grief process than just the misery of it all. Which was a good thing because death, loss and grief have been no strangers in my life.

I studied many different spiritual practices over the years from the one that I was brought up with, Southern Baptist, to Eastern practices, Christianity in general, and many indigenous tribal customs from America and other countries. I have also studied many modern techniques around dealing with grief and death. I want to make a point here that not all grief comes from death we can grieve many things though death often is chief among them.

Currently I’m grieving the loss of some friends and acquaintances to death. I find that I am also grieving my independence and honestly a little bit of my misspent youth. There’s nothing like some major health challenges to make you take a look at how you spent your youth and how you are spending your time now. It will also make you look at your independence, how much you value it, how much of it you can retain and regain, if any at all.

This is the first time in my life I’ve ever grieved that misspent youth even a little bit and wondered if I hadn’t done some things differently if I wouldn’t be where I am now with my health. I have tried to live my life without having a great deal of regret and I am sure that once I get past this stuck point in my life I’ll go back to that. But just for this little space in time I feel tiny stabs of regret and I wonder “what if”.

The truth is that none of that has anything to do with my health challenges and I know it. But this insidious monster of doubt creeps in through the cracks and crevices my illnesses leave behind. What if I hadn’t been an addict young? What if I had been kinder to my body and not done all those full contact sports, etc.? What if? What if? What if? Some people say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I say it’s paved with those two little words.

I’ve always laughed on some level about my misspent youth while at the same time being grateful for it. All of the misadventures, just downright bad decisions and convictions of being indestructible led me to a lot of great truths in my life. Those truths have allowed me to be of service to others whether individually or whole communities at a time. I honestly would not trade that for anything. I never had kids and I had a dear friend tell me once that all of the people I have mentored or helped are my kids in a way. That moment made it all worth it and still does; every single day. I wouldn’t go back and undo any of it to be in a different place today because overall, I really love who I am and how I move through the world. So, go take a hike you doubt monster because I have things to do besides babysit you!

Patreon Launch is NOW!

Monday, 2 April 2018

Hey gang!

As many of you have noticed I’ve been counting down to my #Patreon launch today. In case you aren’t familiar with it, @Patreon is a simple way for you to contribute to my artistic endeavors each month, primarily my writing, and get super cool exclusive patron rewards in return! I think you are going to love the perks I have set up for you to receive! Go to and become a patron working in concert with me to create and share with the world.

Patreon Launch

Friday, 30 March 2018

3 more days until the launch!

The Inchworm

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Left, right, up, down…some days I have no idea which way I am going.

I like to write about more than my illnesses but sometimes that’s what comes out along with the attendant emotions. I was reminded this morning by a friend to be gentle with myself about it. So that’s what I am going to do and just tell it like it is.

The last week has been tough. I am not getting out of the house much at all and I have been without 2 of my medicines. Not interacting with people on a more regular basis is a double-edged sword. I save spoons, but I also struggle because I feel very alone. That’s something that they never tell you when you are diagnosed with chronic illnesses. That if your illness is severe you will end up feeling isolated, a lot. You hear it from other people with chronic illness but part of you always thinks “That won’t be me.” I find that I often envy those who can still work and have active social lives. That used to be me and part of me really misses that. I miss being able to go to work every day and bring home a paycheck and then go out whenever I wanted to. Now days every plan is with the caveat “If I am feeling up to it.” I can push myself for special occasions if I am unwell but then I pay mightily on the back end.

Something I want others to understand when I say “no” to something is that it isn’t a value judgement on them or what they have asked me to come do. I want them to know that more than anything I want to be able to always say yes but the reality is that I can’t. I want them to know that it’s not just that I am “tired” and I can just come to whatever event it is and just sit. Yes, I am exhausted a lot of the time, but I hurt. Almost all my joints hurt all the time and then you add in the IBS and my needing to be near a bathroom that I may be stuck in for a while and it makes me not want to just go sit somewhere. By the time I drive wherever we are going I am often already almost out of energy and spoons. Then I have to drive back home, and we live in Atlanta so there’s nothing close to anything here.

Yes, I get wonderful love and energy when I do make it out and I wish that replaced all that I lose but it doesn’t always. I want people to know that I tear up and cry a lot more than they can know. Some of it is from the pain and a lot more of it is from the guilt that I feel for being a burden on our family. My medical expenses are debilitating even if I could work and without my working they are crippling us. So, I feel guilt like breathing and I feel shame for not being able to overcome and “just do it”.

Always #KeepMovingForward

Now the upside, because there must be one for me to get through each day. I aspire until I acquire, there is no faking it until I make it in this house! I work to #KeepMovingForward at all times. Some days I will take a few steps back, but I will make them up again and surpass those steps. There are days I don’t know if I am going left, right, up or down but I know my mission is to move forward whatever that looks like that day. Some days I get to dance a jig for my steps and those days are amazing!

I am blessed with a family of choice that rocks the house and love me right where I am at. I am thankful every single day for them. I hope I tell them this enough; I try to. I reach out every single day to at least one of them to tell them I love them. Most days I try to reach out to more than one, because it’s important to me that they know how much they rock my world just by being in it. I am grateful for the technology that helps me feel a little less alone by giving me multiple ways to reach out and connect with my family and other folks dealing with chronic illness throughout the world.

Jaxx demanding a morning walk.

I have beautiful, dorky and funny pets who help get me out of myself by demanding play time, cuddles and scritches and outdoor time.

I am beyond blessed with a partner who asks me “How can I help best?” instead of making me feel horrible for something I can’t help. Who comes home and hugs me tight every day and asks me how my day was even though I never left the house most of the time. He makes me feel loved and viable even when I struggle to do that for myself.

So yeah, put on the kettle and pour me a cup because life is tough. But you know what? At the end of each day I move forward on some level. It may not be physically, it may be emotional or spiritual. It may be a life revelation that I have been struggling with that finally comes clear to me. The important part to me is that I #KeepMovingForward even if only an inch at a time. Inchworms go far even if it’s just a little bit at a time.