September 24, 2021

Out of the Darkness - American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Some of you may be aware and have contributed to my community walk and fundraising efforts for this cause and organization in the past.   I'll start with how I got involved. 

I have a friend Beth, whom I worked with in Texas before we moved.  Beth and I worked together for awhile and bonded over our shared love for crack cookies (you know the kind you buy at the grocery store that are white with the thick colorful frosting on them).  On top of that she and her husband were married on my birthday (day not year), and our husbands shared a first name.  The icing on the cake was that we are both hilariously funny and found each other entertaining and a spot of joy to make our work life more enjoyable!  

A little over 5 years ago the unthinkable happened to her husband while she was returning home from a trip.  Since then she has focused some of her time and energy leading a valiant effort to get involved with this organization that has a goal to reduce the suicide rate by 20% by 2025.   She participates in and leads a team in the Austin walk every year in memory of her husband and his struggle.  Her team's name is The Jay Walkers, and this year's walk will be on October 23.  I still walk with and support her fundraising effort from afar.  If you are looking for a worthy cause, I'd like to encourage to to directly contribute to her effort and learn more about her story.  I admire her grit and the fact that she is making a difference in this world beyond her efforts for this organization!  If you are interested in getting more involved, you can use the below link to get to the organization including how to find events in your local community.  We both thank you for your thoughtful consideration and contributions!

Click here to Donate and help Beth double or triple her 2021 goal! 

Now the part of the post I really struggled with.  I personally don't and haven't struggled with suicidal thoughts, however I have had a former teacher and acquaintances from my past not survive theirs.  I have friends and acquaintances who have lost family members and friends to suicide.  The truth is, we've all have a family member, friend, teacher, or acquaintance that either struggled with various degrees of depression some to the point of ending their misery.  It's possible you just don't know it yet.  Some of those people will struggle their entire lives.  What I will say is that mental health has not been treated well in this country.  And while we've made progress in some ways, it's clear over my lifetime that mental health has become a much more common issue that we are almost indifferent or calloused when we hear or read news stories that result in the end of more lives and more beds being filled in prisons and mental health facilities. 

It's so easy to say it's because 'we've' become so inwardly focused as humanity vs thinking of ways we can be of service to others.  I could also add that we are so inwardly focused that 'we' don't care what our friends, neighbors, co-workers, classmates, or stranger in the next lane may be going through when they are not around us.  All that matters to us is what we are going through and they should give a damn about us.  We shake our fists, flip people off, or blurt out nonsense to them because they've said or done something to us that hurts us or makes us mad, and we must have the last word or action.  The reality is as medical science advances we are learning more and more about conditions, side effects of head trauma,  pharmaceutical side effects, or other things in the brain that can cause someone to logically get to suicide, being the only solution.  And we don't think twice that someone we interact with just might possibly be on the brink of getting there, or that our next words or actions to them could impact their next decision one way or the other. 

What if instead we approach everyone we cross paths with compassion, assuming that there is something in their life that they are struggling with that very day or moment, and that they could use a break from us in that very moment?  What if every time that devil on our shoulder tempts us to get irritated with the other party for not being considerate or compassionate to our personal struggles, we slapped it off our shoulder and instead offered to lend that person an ear or a hand?   What if we chose positivity when we feel most negative towards those around us?

I ran across a very interesting TEDx Talks video while looking for inspiring motivational videos to share with my team.  And it seemed relevant for this post.  "The Most Important Lesson From 83,000 Brain Scans"  Basically he says the field of psychiatry is the only medical profession that treats an organ without first taking and reviewing scans.  Essentially the lesson is that peoples brains can be changed, which can change their lives.  It's just under 15 minutes if you're interested. 

 In the event that someone comes across this searching, this is the link to their clinics.  I am not a doctor, so I always recommend a medical professional in a time like this, so please find a doctor you trust, or at least one that someone you trust has trust in.

Additionally if you or someone you know needs help here are some additional resources:

September 14, 2021

Ode to Awkward Norm - RIP

The world lost a legend today.  Norm Macdonald passed today.  He was the king of the Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live.  My all time favorite anchor.  He was extremely controversial (though not in my eyes), mostly because he said what everyone was thinking, but usually crossed the line of what people considered respect.  However he indeed crossed that line with people who blew so far past the line with others, that the line couldn't be seen anymore to the point their victims received blame, shame, or whatever made up responsibility for the disrespect they received.  Bill Clinton, Michael Jackson, OJ Simpson, to name the 3 biggest butts of his brutal and smirky honesty.  How did he get so lucky to hit that jackpot of gold, constant material during his time!?  He never hesitated to call out hypocrisy surrounding them, which often left people feeling awkward about whether or not they should laugh.  OF COURSE THEY SHOULD!  His dry but shocking delivery was phenomenal, and had me laughing from week to week.  His Burt Reynolds impression torturing Will Farrell's Alex Trebek was also a highlight for me.  It's a big hat.  It's funny.  His standup lived up to his personal comedy integrity that carried on even after SNL threw him under the bus.  And while many may disagree with me, looking at the tributes this afternoon, his peers agree that he was indeed the best. 

RIP Norm! Thanks for all the laughs!  💔

September 12, 2021

Tap Tap Tap....Is This Thing On???

Well it's been a little over 10 years and I found this blog stuffed in the back corner of a dingy, dark closet all covered in dust.  I thought I'd clean it up, give it a facelift, and hopefully some new life.  There has been so much change and so many awkward adventures in the last 10 years, some of which I will discuss in future posts including:

  • My only child is not spoiled.  Privileged Yes.  But not spoiled.
  • I swore off Facebook. 
  • Lola died (I miss her) and Bad Maggie arrived (I love her too).
  • We moved across the country.
  • We left tornado alley to experience our first tornado hit vs it hitting on the other side of town.
  • We took up mountain biking on top of regular hiking.
  • Hell hath no fury like a Texas summer....or late winter storm.
  • Public health is now a political issue - Who knew???
  • My career long advocation and fight for teleworking has been vindicated, and I TOLD YOU SO to my bosses that patted me on the head and told me to run along and get back to work.
  • My tween daughter is rapidly approaching the most awkward phase of her life, and I'm so excited for her!
  • I'm convinced I'm going through my version of a mid-life crisis.
Anyways, I don't know if anyone is still out there.  But if you are, I hope you'll join me as I dive into the awkwardness that still is, and will be part of me, as long as I live and breathe on this earth.   I have very much missed this outlet.  When I look back on what I enjoyed most growing up that gave me joy and an adrenaline rush, playing sports was at the top of the list, followed by my creative writing assignments and exploits.  And with my daughter needing us less and less, I ran across my old blogs and after reading through them, realized I've learned a bit and my perspective has changed a bit over the last 10 years.  This is the one I missed the most and still has the potential to give me a cathartic outlet that I so desperately need at this time in my life.    

So I hope to find some of you again, and maybe find a few new people that relate, debate, or just plain hate.  See what I did there.  I also enjoy awkward poetry!

Here's to our awkward future together!  

    RIP Lola                                                                      Welcome Bad Maggie