SCI and Holes of Inadequacy

In the “Excuses” chapter of HOW TO BE THE BEST YOU, I told you the story of beginning a weeknight toddy habit with my mother, and how I was coerced into giving it up. It was after the fact that I realized its significance.

The initial teetotaler stage was hard; it got my attention. I wondered if I could have become an alcoholic if I hadn’t cut it out. I’d never been a “dependent” personality (even during my first couple of years of disability, I was working toward independence), but it made me ponder my feelings on the matter.

In order to get to my point…Some will say that I’m a little weird…maybe alotta’ weird, with what, when, how little, and how often I eat. I may eat lunch for breakfast then, lunch at 10:30am and again at 1:00 or 2:00pm, and even breakfast for dinner—which can be between 4:00 and 6:00pm.

I eat when I’m hungry which is pretty often; but I eat small portions because I feel satiated very quickly—another reason people think I’m weird: I don’t gorge. I detest that uncomfortable feeling!

The twain meet here. My toddy had to be around 4:00 or 5:00 while preparing dinner or waiting for its delivery. Once I eat, that’s it. Nada. Unless it’s water.

The significance of continuing our toddy habit after Mother passed away was my attempt to fill a social void. Mother was gone. After years of disability many friends have fallen by the wayside; those that have endured have families of their own and businesses to run. It was my “happy hour.”

The effect of SCI affects us differently. Whether it’s a loss of movement, a loss of freedom, or a loss of spontaneity, we’re dealing with the common denominator of loss.

Know this: the feeling of powerlessness can initiate addiction.

In the moment you feel something is out of your control, what do you gravitate toward—think about, want to do, or physically need? That longing is an emotional, even physical, craving for worthiness. Subconsciously, we are trying to adjust to something that has slipped from our grasp.

Gary Zukav, The Seat of the Soul, says you can stop the cycle of addiction by feeling your pain, lack, or loss. Each time you challenge your inadequacy—own it, face up to it, readjust, seek help—you get your control back, little by little.

It doesn’t have to be SCI loss. It can be habits of gossip, jealousy, anger, sex, alcohol, drugs, pornography, shopping, gambling, loneliness…whatever. The situation you are trying to change may never change, but you can take control to change your thoughts and responses to them!

Be brave enough to ask yourself: When I…what hole of inadequacy am I trying to fill? What am I longing for?

Whatever unhealthy thing you’re doing to feel like you’re getting your power back is a smoke screen and a procrastination of truly taking back your control? Every temptation is an opportunity for a dress rehearsal for a life change OR a repeat of consequences. Make a responsible choice.

You’re worth it.


SCI Grenades: Weapons of Mass Distraction

For you fellow SCIs, or other involved, animal lovers who have one trouble-making “alpha,” this is my harmless, but effective, ammunition for breaking up pet fights. (I was bullied into its invention because I can’t squeeze a spray bottle to interrupt unwanted behaviors.) Before I get to it, everyone else has to hear my short spiel:

Becoming a pet owner is a big responsibility, and research is tantamount before adopting.

I’m a proponent of adopting from shelters. Even though most are Heinz 57 varieties, you can identify a predominant breed characteristic. Thus said, breed types, temperaments, longevity, veterinary bills (annuals, neutering or spaying, health issues), must be taken into consideration. Too many pets are chosen on looks alone, then rejected because they’re destructive (meaning bored with no exercise), require too much attention, need veterinary care, and/or aren’t suited for the owner/family’s lifestyle.

Please, know that animals should be an integral part of your life, not a possession you tire of, ignore, or abuse. As He did us, God created them on the sixth day and saw that “…it is very good.”

Fred Astaire-the debonair

Fred Astaire-the debonair

Now, to my feline “boys,” Fred Astaire and Laptop. (I dedicated the chapter, “A Little Bit of Heaven,” in Views From My Chariot  to my pets. You know they’re exceptional!)

Fred was a feral I tamed. Two years later, I saved Laptop from being euthanized. All went well until Laptop turned three or four; I can’t remember exactly.

Initially, the skirmishes were tame. They would start out as brotherly grooming—Laptop ministering to Fred. Things were copasetic for a time…until Laptop (a head taller and five pounds heavier) began exercising his alpha-ness.

Laptop begins lovingly grooming Fred’s head and ears then, atypically, body slams Fred to the floor, deceptively licking all the while.

Laptop's deceptive "come hither"

Laptop’s deceptive “come hither”

Fred’s a lover not a fighter, so he complies. But somehow, during the body slam, Laptop maneuvers into a tactical spooning position over Fred as he licks. Fred complains ever so slightly until…with all four paws embracing Fred in a body hold, Laptop goes for the jugular.

If you could feel it, Fred’s screeching would send chills up your spine! The aftermath of cat fur looks like evidence of a feather pillow fight.

Here’s my SCI-approved device for interrupting an all-out fight, equivalent to the ding-ding-ding of the boxing round timer: an empty 16 oz. plastic water bottle loaded with 5-10 pennies.

Normally, a rigorous shake is enough to send them running in opposite directions. But, when the battle has reached a screeching fever pitch, it’s expedient to hurl the device into their midst.

Since I can’t hop out of bed to break up night skirmishes, I’m armed with three in my bed; otherwise, one is in my kitchen and one, in my office. There have also been surprise attacks when I have thrown whatever liquid was in my hand. Clean-ups suck!

I digress. This morning, Laptop had two of his “Submit!” demonstrations over Fred. I was semi-armed for the second.

The skirmish erupted in the kitchen at the east end of my six foot long table. I was at the opposite end without a grenade, but my vitamin bottles were out for my week’s daily dosages. I grabbed the nearest, shook it for all it was worth, like pulling the pin, and hurled it into the battlefield.

Well, this one wrought a triple whammy of distraction: the warning rattle, the explosive landing, and the shrapnel of 60 vitamins ricocheting everywhere.

It worked! But, instead of running for cover, they acted like drug-sniffing cats.

As penance for not screwing the cap on tightly, I picked up each capsule, one by one; and some, over and over and over. Sort of like writing on the blackboard: “I will tighten my vitamin bottle caps. I will tighten my vitamin bottle caps. I will tighten my vitamin bottle caps…”

I will not soon forget!


Newsletter series: Recuperative Sleep Aids

I was born wired for health. I just simmered for a couple of decades before reaching the necessary boiling point, my SCI.

My first book, Views From My Chariot is about my emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual journey since disability. My second, HOW TO BE THE BEST YOU, is how I reached wholeness, and a cheat sheet for you to do the same.

Starting in September and running through December, my “Chariot Notes” newsletter will feature a series on health in the (uh-hum) bedroom…for restful sleep, that is.

I know that a lot of you use perfectly legal prescription drugs dealing with ramification of disability. That’s fine. But in addition, I’m going to suggest some natural alternatives to transform your bedroom, and mind, for healthful sleep; like how to relax, how to find balance, how to purify the air and de-stress the atmosphere, how to relieve worrisome thoughts and let them go. Your quality of life IS up to you!

Take it from this interior decorator: The most important room in your home for your health is…no, not the kitchen: your bedroom. Sadly, it’s usually the last room to be updated because of the attitude: no one sees it. Therefore, the den, living room, kitchen, and powder room receive aid first. First aid for you is disregarded in your bedroom.

Those living with pain from a disability or illness know experientially how sleep evades us. For a multitude of others, restful sleep is a sought-after luxury, as well. It provides many health benefits, but it requires an ambiance to induce such. Color, neatness and order, pictures of special people, and mementos from special occasions all attribute to a sense of well-being, the foundation for restorative sleep.

For me, white represents purity, simplicity, and cleanliness. My bedroom’s white walls, white Matelasse bedspread, and white sheets are like an IV-injected anesthetic…Z-Z-Z.

Wrapping yourself in your favorite color is always a good idea. If they’re red or orange, as are mine, use them as secondary colors in accessories. For instance: using red in a rug, under or at the end of your bed, offers safety. “Hot” colors in a bedroom should always be used on an accent wall, wall hanging, upholstery, or accent pillows.

And, clutter is a definite NO-NO for peace and calm. Don’t use your bedroom as an office, an atelier or crafting area, for scrap booking or bookkeeping. Have a basket, drawer, or out-of-sight container designated for bills, mail, magazines, and catalogs. A cluttered room muddles the mind.

SIGN UP for my 2013 newsletter for some health-transforming hints for restful, recuperative sleep.

And, if you don’t let me know your druthers, 2014 will begin with natural anti-inflammatory fixes for those muscle aches, running nerve pains, even bruising OR metabolism boosters and kitchen gadgets for healthy snacks, even chips for you chipaholics!

SCI Wish List: Helping Hands

It’s my birthday. It’s my birthday! Today!

As the Girl Scout motto encourages, “Always be prepared.” I used to always prepare a written or mental wish list of suggested gifts for my birthday and Christmas. Although I love giving gifts, to a fault, at this point in my life, I prefer no gifts. After our family tended to my mother’s things after her death, it gave me a whole new perspective on stuff.

First of all, what we surround ourselves with are our own personal preferences. They aren’t necessarily another’s taste. Who will want them after we’re gone?

Secondly, I have acquired all that I need. It’s time to begin passing on those things that I know my loved ones like. Why wait? I’ve enjoyed them. It’s their turn.

Now, when asked what I would like, it’s a service that I request. Living with a SCI, it’s usually something I can’t do for myself, like: planting flowers that brighten my yard and light-up my days, arrange a bouquet from those that already bloom, pull dastardly weeds, make a favorite dish, a ‘drop in’ for a visit, or a transport and accompaniment to an appointment or errand.

Daily, life presents its demanding schedules and impromptu requirements. Expediency takes precedence in our busy-ness. Quality time is at a premium and my greatest treasure. For my birthday this year, with my deceased mother in mind, I requested some of her favorite food fare and helping hands from my sister and youngest niece.

For our lunch, (control your gag reflex, or your appalled, “WHAT!” response) I asked for Mother’s garlic sandwiches, her cottage cheese side dish, Zoe’s pimento cheese, and tea.

Because my sister knows how I love flowers, she picked Zenias from her neighbor’s prolific garden. (She says Jan can “spit” on a seed and it produces an orchard.)

For Mother’s garlic sandwich recipe, she rolled de-crusted whole wheat bread flat, spread a thin layer of softened butter and freshly pressed garlic on each slice then, rolled them into “shotgun slugs.” MY FAVORITE! Mother used to bring me a dozen or so to keep frozen until I needed one…or two.

For Mother’s cottage cheese side dish, she combined cottage cheese, onion, and cucumber with a generous portion of coarsely ground pepper. OMG!

On my “3-seeded” wheat bread, we spread Zoe’s cayenne pimento cheese, and sliced some plump, juicy vine-ripened tomatoes, also from Jan’s garden. YUM!

After lunch, Candace acted as my hands to help me place a very special symbolic collection of items into a shadowbox to hang in my bedroom. See!

Calling to my heart

Calling to my heart

Its contents are: a small Indian doll, I have kept since childhood, and an arrowhead. With hair braids, dressed in white leather, the doll represents my Native American Cherokee roots; an antique china picanniney baby with bushy hair plaits representing mixed children that I love and never got to adopt; a small map of Ethiopia, and a charcoal sketch of an Ethiopian woman sent to me from a ministry I support in Addis Ababa. I’ve had a heart for Ethiopia since my early teens after reading about Solomon and the Queen of Sheba; and a colorful silk embroidery of a Chinese woman dressed in the traditional Cheongsam, a piece of their currency, and a hand-carved wood elephant representing my love for Asia.

Happy Birthday, to me!

P.S. Don’t expect others to read your mind. When I told my sister what I wanted, she was totally surprised, but selflessly giving.

I hope your birthday is as special!

No Compute-Grrr

Rarely am I silent, but last week was one of those times, for two reasons: I was without a computer, and I have been on bed rest to avoid a breakdown–SCI side effect: decubidus ulcer, that is. So, this will be short ‘n sweet, ‘cause I’m still on the mend.

I’ve been procrastinating the purchase of a new computer; not that my old one hasn’t given me grief. Let me tell you, “It has!” Especially when preparing my colorful, picturesque monthly newsletter, “Chariot Notes” for you. (I always include something to help simplify your life in “What’s New,” a joke or humorous incident in “Chariot Chuckles,” and a Note from me. I’m missing talking to you if you’re not on board!)

demented computer

demented computer

Anyway, I’m still learning to navigate this digital world, so my brilliant, gracious friend, Amanda, has been tutoring me long-distance. She’s acted as a VERY PATIENT computer instructor. But, on most of our telephone conversations/hands-on instructions, my screen acted like the demented evil identical twin—showing disturbing DISsimilarities to Amanda’s screen and displaying paranormal behaviors, like disappearing (timing out) before I could “save” my time-intensive works and grossly distorting what should be on my screen!

There were times that I was so bullied by my computer’s disruptions, compounded by my physical and mental disabilities, that I was forced to email my contents to Amanda for her to format it for me.

No longer! I bit the financial bullet and charged it. But, the evil twin possessed the new computer’s hard drive by transferring its dementia through the installer’s hands to fry it. I blessed the second computer; it escaped the evil one. Though it talks in a different language, I’m learning to translate!

As for my boring, but expedient, bed rest: you may see my body lying there, but I’m long gone in my imagination on one of my oft’ soul-soaring adventures    ‎

Let’s meet somewhere. Shall we? ‎