Tag Archives: Hobbies

One Year Later

I’ve been trying for a week, at least, to do two things. It’s been difficult, because they are related, and if I can’t do one, then I can’t do the other, either. It’s Valentine’s Day, and all weekend I’ve been trying to convince myself that I don’t care. I’m about 90% of the way there. It’s important that I don’t care because, for one thing, I’m single, and for another, I promised God that I would belong to him 100%, and to me, at least for right now, that means not having a “romantic” relationship with anyone else. I decided on this many months ago because, for several, rather complicated reasons, finding a partner would be difficult at best.

This decision has been, for the most part, emotionally helpful. It seems counter-intuitive, but giving up in that department has allowed me to be happy for people who do have strong relationships, has allowed me to focus on more important things, namely my novel, my hobbies, and my friends, and has allowed me to strengthen my relationship with God. However, just because I’ve decided I will never have a “significant other” and have decided not to look, does not mean I don’t still sometimes want a partner.

Last month, when I realized Valentine’s Day was coming up, I started to feel a little bad. I’ve realized that this issue is a little more complicated than I originally assumed. I’ve read and heard some things explaining how having a strong relationship can be a way of glorifying God. Lately I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what it means to belong to God 100%. I want to know if I can have a partner and still be dedicated entirely to him. The thing is, I feel like it’s a little bit of a betrayal if I’m longing after something I can’t have. But if I’m longing after that person (whoever it might be), does that mean I should seek them out? I’m just a little bit stuck.

A little while ago I went on Facebook. Normally that would be a bad idea for someone like me on this day, but I actually liked seeing what people were doing or a few silly or cynical posts. I was going to go to the movies with a couple of friends tonight, but they ended up having other obligations. I planned to go to the movies to distract myself, but actually, I don’t need to. As far as I’m concerned, today is just another ordinary day. I have some things I’d like to get done, anyway.

I know this day can be hard. I totally get it. I wish I had some words of wisdom to share, but I really don’t. I’ve been trying to figure out a meaningful way to tell the world that God loves everyone; God’s love is eternal; God’s love is no-matter-what, but I can’t. I don’t know how to make that sink in. I can’t figure out how to say it in a way that hasn’t been said before. You’ve probably heard it so many times that it doesn’t mean much any more. You have to feel it to know it.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

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Stop Telling Us We’re Inspirational!

I remember reading a post by a mother a while ago, talking about her disabled child. Basically her post was saying that it annoys her when people say her child is “amazing” because they can do interesting, “normal” things despite their disability. At the time I think I agreed with it because it was well written, etc, but I didn’t really think much about it.

Last night I read a poem by a 16 year old girl who was paralyzed from the chest down. The person who posted it explained how she got paralyzed, etc, and then said how amazing it was that she managed to live a happy, fairly normal life despite her disability.

I have decided that this kind of thinking irks me. I don’t often think about it too much, but I do sometimes get comments about how inspirational I am for doing seemingly standard things. In fact, my dad sometimes gives me the “you’re amazing” talk. Don’t get me wrong, I do think I’m amazing and wonderful, but it’s certainly not because I can manage to be happy. I just like myself.

I have probably mentioned this before, but I’ve been disabled since I was born. I have Muscular Dystrophy, which makes my muscles week, and for some reason I can’t extend my arms or legs all the way. I also have epilepsy, which is mostly taken care of by my medication, but I still get symptoms occasionally. I have pretty terrible eyesight, too. Quite frankly, none of this has ever bothered me too much. I mean, it’s inconvenient in some respects, but I have far more important things to worry about.

I’m not special because I can write coherently or read stories, or critically analyze movies. I’m not special because I’m good at racing games. I’m not special because I’ll get up and sing in front of people. I’m not special because I learned to play guitar upside-down. I’m not special because I’m going to college. I’m certainly not special because I can manage to be happy. I choose to be happy. There’s nothing particularly different or amazing about that. It’s not that hard. Anyone can choose to be happy. It just makes life easier.

Saying that “people like me” are special because we can manage to be happy and functional is actually a bit insulting. It implies that we should pity ourselves and let the world run our lives for us because we have the right to. I have no interest in doing that. I sometimes pity myself. It’s true, but it’s certainly not because I can’t walk. Sometimes I wonder why I haven’t ever been able to get a date and why it’s so difficult to get gigs as a newbie musician. Then I stop worrying about it and move on because worrying solves nothing. And yes, I do complain about some of that stuff on this blog. This is where I do my worrying about it.

We’re just people. Maybe we look a little different and our bodies or our minds work differently, but at our core we’re no different than anyone else. I met a man this past semester who had no arms and no legs. He seemed very nice and I didn’t get to talk to him very much, and it only occurred to me after our conversation had ended that he was somehow driving his wheelchair with no arms or legs. I asked his sister about it because she is a classmate of mine, and she said because he lost his limbs when he was young, he was able to develop muscles in his elbows that most of us don’t use. I thought it was cool because I learned something new. It’s a testament to how adaptable humans in general are. This man was not inspirational to me, however, because he wasn’t trying to be. I liked him because he was friendly and interesting. He was just a normal person to me because I expected him to be.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad some people can find “people like me” inspirational. They would be wrong, but it doesn’t cause them too much harm. What I would ask is that they keep it to themselves. Be our friends. ask us about what we’re interested in. Argue with us about philosophy. Treat us like you would treat anyone else. Just stop telling us how amazing it is that we’re happy.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

This Christmas

This Christmas was great. We had a bunch of peeps over for Christmas Eve and ate lots of junk food. My immediate family and I went to mass at 11:00, which was nice because we got home at midnight. The church wasn’t very full, but everyone was happy and we all sang loudly anyway. I actually really like Christmas hymns.

One of my dad’s friends and his family were over, and they had four little girls. They were actually fairly well behaved; meaning they left my brother and cousins and me alone for the most part. We played a lot of video games, most of which I was terrible at, but we had a good time anyway. I am laughably bad at Mario Cart Wii. My cousin Nick (Dinkens) and I had a Crash Team Racing Tournament, and we’re pretty evenly matched at that, so there were a lot of close races and a lot of screaming from the basement.

We opened presents from the extended family earlier on Christmas Eve and later on Christmas Day, but my brother and I usually open gifts from our parents after church. My favorite things were definitely from Mom and Dad. We got a new nest (giant bean bag chair) since I projectile vomited on the last one. I also got a new super warm, fuzzy hat, some whatchamacallits (candy bars) a lava lamp, a loom for making hats and my favorite, Raskolnikov (my new beta fish). I haven’t had a fish since high school, but I do like to keep them. My last fish was gold and he was named Napoleon. Raskolnikov is blue/purple with reddish fins. I’ve decided that little fish just need to have good names. I had thought about naming him Iago, but that dude was just too evil, and I’m not sure I’d want an Iago just hanging out in my bedroom. It’s bad karma… or something.

Anyway, my computer is currently broken, so I’m actually blogging from my phone. I’ve started making a fuzzy, blue hat and it’s slow going, so I’m going to get back to that. Happy Christmas everyone!

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Replace These Empty Spaces

Replace My Empty Spaces is the title to my new album that will be coming out some time this summer. The title means more and more the more I think about it, but it originally came from an experience I had a couple years ago that changed my life. I allowed God to fill the empty space that I thought only a lover could fill. I allowed music and blogging to fill the empty space that idleness had created. I allowed love for others to fill the empty space that the assumed lack of love had made.

Everyone has empty spaces. I think those spaces are shaped like puzzle pieces and we sometimes think they can be filled with one thing when in fact, they’re waiting to be filled with something else. When we’re so obsessed with filling those empty spaces, it can be difficult to take a step back and figure out exactly what it is that actually needs to fill them. Maybe we’re not meant to figure it out ourselves, but we can take a step back and ask ourselves, “What is an alternative to the thing I’m trying to fill this hole with?” Maybe you don’t think painting has a place in your life, but you get some brushes and canvas and paints and a “how to” book and you discover that; not only are you good at it, you enjoy it and it turns out, that was the thing you were missing.

Don’t be afraid to try new things and meet new people. Go places you wouldn’t ordinarily go. Do things you wouldn’t ordinarily do. Eat things you wouldn’t ordinarily eat. Take chances. Grab at the opportunities that come to you. If you want your life to change, you should go ahead and change it. Don’t make the mistake of trying to fill your empty spaces with things that can’t fill them. You will know what it is you need when you find it, but you need to look for it first.

Also keep in mind that you will always have empty spaces. You may not even know you have them and it may never bother you, but it’s possible that something or someone will come along and fill that empty space and it will be a wonderful surprise. Don’t ever give up hope because anything and everything is possible.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

The Infection

I read a short blog post earlier suggesting that the key to world peace is inner peace in those who fight for it. The argument was that emotions are infectious. If you are content, it will make those around you more at ease and more content themselves. If you find inner peace, it will make others curious about how you achieved it. I suspect that’s probably true. The question is; what exactly is inner peace? Finding peace with yourself is often harder than it sounds. I think it depends a lot on whether your like yourself or not. It also depends on whether or not you are content with your life. Contentment is different than happiness. Happiness, I think is somewhere between satisfaction and ecstasy. It also generally doesn’t last over long, extended periods of time. Contentment on the other hand is less of an emotion than a state of being. It is what is achieved when most aspects of one’s life are good, or at least satisfactory.

I’ve read several lists about what leads to true happiness, which I took to mean contentment, and none of them seem to completely agree. While I don’t think it’s possible to ever be 100% content 100% of the time, I do think that there are things that can help you get there. They’ve helped me anyway. Here’s my list:

1) Keep busy. Do what you love and what you’re good at. Don’t do things just for the sake of doing something and don’t be idle. Get a hobby. If you can turn that hobby into a career, even better. If you can’t, make sure you can fund that hobby doing something else.

2) Find things you can do alone and with other people. Make time for both.

3) Talk to strangers. Most of the time this won’t turn into a relationship, but it can pass time and amuse you both. It will usually make you feel much happier than if you don’t talk to each other.

4) Find your center. You don’t have to believe in God or a higher power to be spiritual. Prayer or meditation can help calm you and keep you focused. I don’t know much about meditation, but I’m sure it’s easy to find information about it.

5) Learn to accept people for who they are. If you harbor no bad feelings toward anyone else, you will feel better within and about yourself.

6) Learn to let it go. You don’t have to be right all the time.

7) Be emotional. Emotions are part of the human experience and being emotional doesn’t mean you’re weak; it means you are a passionate  person who can relate to others.

8) Allow small things to delight and entertain you.

9) Don’t worry. Most things aren’t worth the headache that worrying causes. Just don’t do it.

10) Be optimistic. Convince yourself that everything will work out. Do whatever it takes to convince yourself of this.

I think it’s probably true that world peace depends on inner peace within individual lives. I think people who are at peace with themselves are less likely to be violent or spiteful. They will probably find it easier to connect with other people and will therefore be ready and willing to help others find inner peace. In that sense, I think it is infectious.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!