Monday, March 16, 2015

Be A Superhero

Good morning, and happy Monday! Did any of you go to Windy Knitty's fourth anniversary party this weekend? I saw the photos on their facebook page...too cute for words, those little knitted roses.

I watch Grey's Anatomy every Friday morning at about 5:45am on the internet, since I don't own a television, and the episode from two weeks ago had a moment that sort of spoke to me. Here it is:

Silly, obviously. Television is fiction. But I needed a moment like this, because last year, I was in my second major bike accident. By "major," I mean "one which landed me in the hospital." Interestingly enough, I was in the hospital on June 24, 2008 and again on June 24, 2014. I now know which day to avoid when choosing bike-ride days.

Anyway, it was a fluke occurence; I was riding home from my brother and sister-in-law's house on the night of June 22 when I went over a piece of missing concrete. Apparently, something on the road was repaired, and it went over the bike lane but was not repaired and sealed properly. To my left was a row of moving cars on Addison Avenue, and to my right was a row of parked cars. I was actually in the designated bike lane; it's not like I was swerving into the middle of the street for fun.

My tire was the most tragically perfect size for the fifteen-inch-across divot in the road. I saw it from probably sixty feet away, stood up on the pedals to go over it, and SMACK. I popped my back tire. No biggie...this was nine blocks from my house at this point, so I just walked the rest of the way. I was slightly groggy the next day, but the following night, I was unable to move.

I drove myself to the hospital, figuring public transportation would not be such a good idea. even lifting my toes to move from the gas to the brake was miserable. I arrived and was promptly evaluated and given a cocktail of all sorts of fun pain meds and muscle relaxers, and the poor nurse kept saying to me, "What position is most comfortable for you while you wait?" I did not have a solid answer for her.

Finally, I rested on my side and found that if I did not move anything but my arms, I was okay. I called a few people for a ride, because of course they would not let me drive while whacked out on all of the meds, and I ultimately exchanged pizza for a lift from Jesse. It worked out for both of us.

Two weeks later, I was still in pain. According to the doctors and personnel at the hospital, I absorbed the impact of the hit from my feet to my middle back, so I was experiencing severe whiplash in that whole area. It was like someone hit my core muscles like a nail into a board.

All summer, I would look at my bike on the weekends and think I should get the damn thing fixed. I was spending almost half my time in Minnesota, walking at night after work, and of course Minnesota is a state which practically begs you to ride your bike. I missed out.

Finally, four weeks ago, I got it fixed. The alderman for the part of the city where the street gaffe was had made sure a repair was made within two days of me contacting him. It was me that was still broken. But on this past Saturday, I finally got on the thing after being a superhero for five minutes.

It was glorious.

I only went sixteen miles on three separate tour legs, but I felt great. Seriously.

I was talking to a dear person on my bluetooth on the last leg of the ride, and he said, "I am so proud of you for getting back on your bike!" I could hear him beaming on the other end of the phone. In case I was not sure yet that it was the right decision to finally get back on, that little moment solidified it.

Tomorrow, I will be a superhero when I face someone who, I am told, wants to give me a piece of her mind. Separate from my superhero-style confidence, I am just hoping she is pleasantly surprised by how the conversation goes. I will of course have my knitting needles on the ready, but not as weapons; I will want to minimize the risk of using the f-word inappropriately.

I am a superhero.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Not My Llama

Hello, friends. First thing's is getting warmer out (maybe), so here is a brief summary of which stores are hosting what knit-alongs (KALs) in the Chicago area this spring:

That said, there is this fantastic Polish idiom which reads Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy. In other words, "Not my circus, not my monkey." My friend PJ's version of it is "Not my llama," but the message is the same:  whatever it is, it's not my problem.

Drama, believe it or not, is a choice. Bad things happen every day of your life. Drama is what comes of handling everyday life events, mostly bad but sometimes even not-so-bad, poorly. One thing drama is not, I assure you, is a given. If you say drama follows you around, or you have no control over the drama surrounding any situation, then you are choosing incorrectly.

Did you get fired? Did your boyfriend leave you for someone who looks just like you, only younger and "less complicated?" Did your basement flood from all of the melting snow? These are all very valid reasons to be angry. Sometimes, life just sucks. Not only that...sometimes, all of these things happen at once, and life sucks threefold.

The question is, how are you handling things? If you put it in Park to spend your day festering over the details, and then calling all of your friends to reiterate all of those festered details with no goal of getting them resolved (at least in your head), then therein lies the problem. We cannot stop living when bad things happen.

So here is what drama does to people:  for the people who create it, the drama prevents them from actually working through any problems, and then ultimately moving on from them. Not a great way to live, considering we all have obligations. Drama is what invades our lives and creates a wall between what we are doing, and what we need to do, and a holding pattern is not a healthy way to live.

It causes unnecessary anger. And anger kills people. And not just the object of it, either...people who are perpetually angry are raising their blood pressures, creating undue stress, and making things worse by not fulfilling those life obligations, so they are basically getting behind in life and leaving a poop-storm in their wake. Drama also tends to exploit things that, in the grand scheme of our seventy-plus years here, are really not that big of a deal over that span. Why waste more than the minimum amount of time being angry, when another major life event or milestone is just around the corner?

Here is what drama does to others:  answering the phone when someone has to bitch about the same thing for the hundredth time is now causing both people to stop being productive for the hundredth time. The person answering the phone can see the Drama King or Queen's name on their caller ID, and they will ultimately have one of two choices:  answer and be less productive, or slowly cut that person out of their lives.

So, either someone's world temporarily stops turning for someone who is not properly dealing with their life problems, or the person who is not dealing with their life problems will have no "friends" left. Drama is very isolating.

This may surprise you, but while most of us want to be there as a friend, there is actually a limit before we finally have to intervene and find a polite (or blunt, depending on the nature of the friendship) way of saying, "I'm sorry, but I do not have time for your crap today. Not my llama. In fact, nobody does...on a related note, have you thought about talking to somebody?"

We are not necessarily equipped to deal with everything life hands us all at once; that is why there are professionals out there. Support groups, therapists, volunteers...basically any number of people whose sole purpose is to help you get through things. Your friends and family are there to listen, but not fix you, and if your drama is interfering with their lives, they can either choose to guide you to the right help and make both of your lives better, feed into your drama and make both of your lives worse, or steer clear of you and make their own life better. They can't control the person swinging the drama.

See, the stuff creating the drama is the problem of the person creating it, and not the person causing it. So your husband spent your kids' college fund on hookers? Get it out of your system once, regroup, and move on. If you are hashing it out endlessly for your girlfriends and then complaining that you no longer have any money because of it, then you are fostering drama. Congratulations to you. Now do something about it. Your problems are not my llama. They are your llama.

Look around you...we all know someone who really, really knows how to bring the drama. So ask yourself:  how many calories do they burn on things that should not concern them? How many minutes (or hours, even) are taken away from happiness with their families, raising their children right, loving their spouses properly, or fostering healthy friendships because they are too busy incorporating what others are doing into their daily conversation?

Oh, you claim you do not know anyone who does that? Well, like I said...we all know someone who does it. So if you say you don't know people like that, then guess what? It's you.