Sideways…and then some

The I Can’t Even face.

Y’all. How is it that things can go from zero to one hundred so fast when I’m not anywhere near where I need to be to help?

This weekend started with Saturday at CRF which was good, just long. Bryn has a weird issue with twilight where her bad behavior gets worse the more day fades into night, and she was tired and cranky and nearly broke both my knees by slamming her giant head into them trying to remove her Perfect Pace harness from her nose OVER AND OVER.

God love that dog.

Sunday was a bit slower which was nice because I felt like the inside of a punching bag, but holy moly did the universe turn that one on its ear in no time flat. I was supposed to meet friends for dinner and a show downtown at 4pm. At 3pm I heard about an incident with the Hounds on the Sunday crew at CRF. I got all the information I could, sent a hurried damage control email to festival administration to let them know we had everything under control, and figured that I could then go downtown (only running about 10 minutes late somehow) and enjoy the musical that lives in my heart before coming back to sort out what happened at the faire that morning. I could not have been more wrong.

I feel the need to pause here and tell you that earlier that morning, Simon and I were laughing at this moment from the Big Bang Theory:

Stuart: Oh, Sheldon, I’m afraid you couldn’t be more wrong.
Sheldon: More wrong? Wrong is an absolute state and not subject to gradation.
Stuart: Of course it is. It’s a little wrong to say a tomato is a vegetable, it’s very wrong to say it’s a suspension bridge.


All kinds of hell broke loose while I was in the theatre and, in theory at least, unable to respond. But me being me, I had to at least check in on what was going on and I think my blood pressure was at an all-time high by the end of the show. I also was not able to fully concentrate on the show which makes me VERY angry at myself.  So now, today, I am sorting through different versions of events and navigating the choppy waters of hurt feelings while all the time walking the tightrope that is our continued existence in a building at this particular faire and I just really want to take a nap. Now. Under my desk.


And then, this happened…

It was just like this…minus the fur and claws, though.

So as you may have surmised from my previous post, yesterday was not one of my better days. I haven’t come that close to just handing in my notice and going home in a long time.

I was mad all evening. I had a fabulous night out with the girls, incredibly scrummy Italian food, everything I needed to cheer me up. But it didn’t. I was still walking the line between pleasant fun-time Nancy and will bite your face off for looking at me Nancy. I’m sure that my girls were tired of me complaining, and I’m forever grateful to “Whiskey” for hanging around in the parking lot to listen to me rehash my day. Again.

Got home and watched some telly with Hubs. No longer angry but still annoyed. Firestorm on my FB timeline sort of burned itself out. Still annoyed. I just couldn’t seem to shake the WHATEVERITWAS that was driving my blood pressure up and making me twitchy and just generally crabby. I went to bed and woke up several times with a stuffy nose and painful ear (which just reminded me of how I “never get sick and never call out of work” and set me off again). But the last time I managed to drift off, I had a fabulous dream that I’m going to chalk up to equal parts my brain looking for something happy in my miserable Thursday and the universe reminding me that I am loved.

As often happens, I don’t remember the exact circumstance, but I was in Savannah, Georgia, and I was in a restaurant and somehow, my oldest friend (that I still maintain contact with, met him when I was 13) Robby and his beautiful family were eating there. I haven’t spoken to Robby on the phone or in person since I lived in Alabama in ’06-’07, but I heard his voice in my dream as clear as day and followed that sound – the sound of his laugh – over to the table where they were sitting.

I approached the table and immediately he was on his feet, looking down at me with concern. “Are you okay, Lil’ Britches?” his voice rumbled and I began to cry and shake my head no. With the care of a parent comforting a child (or, a bear picking up an orphaned child in a Disney movie), Robby hugged me tight and whispered to me that whatever it was, he loved me anyway. As the dream began to fade, he was shaking hands with Simon, I was hugging his wife Kim, and I just felt so much better. It carried over into today, and I have felt…not happy, but content.

While I know that it was my mind that created that scene, I think it’s important who my mind picked to be my comforter in whatever storm was brewing in the dream. Let the work-related hurricanes blow.


Look for the bare necessities 

The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
That’s why a bear can rest at ease
With just the bare necessities of life


Love you, Baloo, to the moon and back. -LB

I got nuttin…

Sorry, what?

So I was asked the other day why it is that I never miss work. “How are you never out sick?” Coincidentally, it was asked by someone that is out of work A LOT, but that is sort of not the point. My answer was that I have to do my job, and in my office now there isn’t anyone else that can do what I do (caption and especially not interpret) so what choice do I have? I come to work, even when I’m sick. Though I will say that days like today really do test that theory.

A series of events kicked off today that led me almost to run my mouth to the point that I can’t take it back, and now I am stuck in a seemingly endless self-assessment loop that is led by my (as of yet undiagnosed) anxiety mind so you can just imagine what a trip to the seaside THAT is turning out to be. Ugh.

 It started off with a rant (from me) about people that work in higher ed that seem to only be in it so that they can host events and attend conferences and present on VERY IMPORTANT TOPICS rather than to focus on the students that we are here to serve. That’s a big pet peeve of mine in the field of disability/accessibility services, and it is a struggle with myownself not to call those people out on a daily basis. Listservs and conferences are important, but they are not the real life day to day experience of students with disabilities. Some grounding is needed.

The day progressed until we ran into the second in the series of unfortunate events: a discussion about the exercise of 1st Amendment Rights, the perceived (and often real) persecution of people in specific minority groups both here at my institution and in the United States as a whole, and the use of one’s public figure status to speak out against injustice. In case you’re keeping score, the answer is that to do that is inappropriate.

“So, you’re saying that a person that is in a minority group should not aspire to higher level public office in order to have that platform to speak out against social injustice?”

“No.”

At that point, I was done, or so I thought. I started thinking…well, overthinking if I’m honest, about interpreting the national anthem. Opened up a firestorm on my Facebook wall because in all that overthinking I didn’t think it through and got my feelings hurt.

I think I’m done. Or else I just have nothing left. Maybe I just need to go to my room.

#metoo

#nofilter #goodhairday

Yep, that hashtag in the title means what you think it means. But that’s not what I want to talk about today.

I was cruising around on Facebook the other day and was overwhelmed by the number of posts in my timeline that said, simply, “Me too.” Blown away. It is the nature of this particular beast that we are certain that we are the only one, especially if we have the opinion that the trauma was of our own making. But that’s not what I want to talk about either.

What I want to talk about is the legacy that it leaves, and how I’m looking back at my life now through the #metoo filter. Y’all that know me know what I do for a living. If not, I’m a sign language interpreter. Sign and the Deaf Community have been a part of my life since I was a kid, and it is often my go-to when, as I am want to say, I lose my English. But it is also my go-to when English, specifically auditory English, is too much. My second language has led me through two tours of duty in higher education and a decade of working in mental health, and if I’m honest I have no idea which is scarier, more dangerous, or more triggering.

Enter the self-reflection stage. I posted awhile back about how I feel like I navigate a great deal of my life with my eyes closed. Why do I do that? Fear? Uncertainty? Perhaps because it is just nicer inside my head than out? I think I found out in something that I felt led to respond to another #metoo-er on Facebook. She had posted that there are those creeper moments that you feel you have been violated in some way, nothing has really happened that could be reported, but the icky feeling is still there. My response was this: “In my day job I get this creeper feeling sometimes and I can’t put my finger on what is causing it. I try to remind myself that it is not me in the situation, but the two people that I’m interpreting for, and my past creeps in and wrecks my compartmentalizing. That’s different…that’s me…but when I feel like I’m being addressed directly by a look or inflection then…well, this. Ugh. Throw in the vicarious trauma that just comes with what I do for a living, and I am just never sure but always hyper-aware and it is EXHAUSTING.”

I’m not going to detail what happened to me or with/by whom or any of that, it does no real good at this point to rehash all of that. No one has been or will be reported, at least not by me. But I guess I need to talk about the after effects. The hyper-vigilance. The destruction of my ability to trust…not right away, oddly enough, but over the course of the 30+ years since, as I follow the same path over and over and am reinforced in my belief that if someone is kind to me, there is a price tag on that kindness. I’m lucky beyond measure to be married to someone (now, not the first time around for certain) that, if he has a price tag on his love for me, has hidden it so well that I will never find it. I have friends in my life that I adore that I’m fairly certain will have my back, but the little nasty voice is always there telling me that I have to do whatever I can to keep them there.

It’s the little stuff too, that this #metoo has made me stop and pay attention to that led me to this post, to share what’s in my head in the hopes that it will make a difference. The after effects are real and are at times harder to manage than the actual event. “Dying is easy, young man. Living is harder.”

On nostalgia and panic attacks…

When I was younger, and an elf, apparently.

So I’m sitting here at my desk, minding my own business and thinking it is about time to heat up my lunch when I hear a sound that immediately takes me back to being a kid…a kid during the Cold War.

Clemson is right up the road from the Oconee Nuclear Station. On certain Wednesdays, they test the emergency siren, and that happened again this morning. The emergency siren is an unmistakable sound, and you can hear it for miles and miles. It’s also a reminder to me of how my life is different because I was born well before the end of the Cold War.

Hubs and I have been talking more and more about this, possibly spurred on by our viewing of an 18 hour documentary on Vietnam. Our perceptions and remembrances of historical events and people are going to be different because he is British and I am American, but I contend that some of my reactions to things are different because I grew up American during the Cold War. The images we were exposed to of “the enemy,” the Communists, were different than those shown to people in other parts of the world.

So I watch as the Clemson students continue their day as though nothing is happening when that siren sounds…and I fight the urge to panic or hide under my desk for a few moments until I remember that the Cold War is over and Duck and Cover drills are no more…for now, at least.