Flickering black to white, I dwell in a widdendream of stark opportunity. Lost in a sea supreme of suppositions I never quite fulfill; I walk a razor's edge in this surreality, leaving bloody footprints in my wake.

This winding dream slices through my vernacular leaving my tongue bleeding. A widening dreamscape painted for posterity;
showcasing a syntax of sharpened widdendreams.

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Real Struggle with Recognition

It has a fancy name: prosopagnosia. More commonly it is referred to as face blindness. It is something I've struggled with for as long as I can remember, moreso in the years after I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and CFIDS. A lot of times these fancy named disorders are misunderstood, and maybe even some folks will say such things don't exist but I am here to say that while I don't have it as bad as some do, it exists and it is a struggle.

Perhaps one of my pulls to photography is the ability to snap the present, in order to remember it for the future. I struggle with memory issues, and I want to remember every little thing that happens in my life and it makes me extremely angry at myself when I can't. But imagine knowing people for decades, and walking past them in the grocery store without even recognizing them. Or standing in front of a group of people that contains a family or friends and your eyes passing right across them as if they were strangers. I cannot even count the number of times my husband has pointed out someone to me, and I have zero recollection of knowing them. Their names I remember, I can possibly even put together events surrounding their names - but looking at their faces, nothing. It is as if I am seeing them for the first time.

I've learned to smile, follow their conversations, and never bring up the fact that I do not know who they are. I've also learned to ask my husband after walking away, "Now who was that again?" My husband is very longsuffering in this regard, and he remembers every single person. Even my models, most of whom I only ever spent one session with, he will remember them while I have no idea who I am looking at. It's very strange, I have a huge collection of photos and I can look at the photos and name who is in it; but face that person in public and I cannot recall anything about them.

This leaves me to a task I've done since I was a child, spending time usually while trying to fall asleep remembering what people look like. It sounds awful, and I am slightly ashamed I have to do this, but one of my greatest fears is that I will forget those I love or care about; that their faces will fade from my memory. So I struggle and force myself to pull up my grandmother's picture in my mind, and my Uncle Bebo, and my mother, and father, and each of my children. I'm so afraid that one day I will go to pick up one of my sons from school and they'll be standing there and I'll drive past them. It's a constant fear, one I don't talk about very often to anyone, but it's there. I think this is the reason that I have never - ever been able to remember what color people's eyes are. I have sat across from someone for hours, and right afterwards I cannot recall what color their eyes are. The only reason I remember what color my children's eyes are is that it is something in my rote I go through along with "pulling up" their picture in my brain, I go through certain aspects about them I should know. Blue eyes for Josiah, and Hudson has my eyes. As I type this, I'm trying to recall what color of eyes my grandmother had, and even my mother. I cannot remember. That feels devastating to me to admit.

It makes me very afraid to go out to meet people alone. Most recently, I had opportunity to go and spend time with my college roommate, Shay. While I had many fears about meeting up with someone I knew years ago (will she still like me? have I changed too much?) one of my main fears was not being able to recognize her. Thankfully, I was going to her house and she was right out there waiting for me, but if I had been forced to go to a restaurant for example, and pick her out of a line of people waiting outside - I would have failed. I would have done like I always do, loiter around at my car while casually taking a glance around, and wait for them to recognize ME and approach. I'm ashamed. I wish I could 'fix' this issue, it's embarassing. But I can't, and this is me, and I have finally decided to be honest to my world about it. I may have known you since I was a child, but chances are if you see me at the grocery store and my husband isn't there to prompt me, I will not even recognize you.

So please, if you have ever taken offense at my lack of recognition and my gentle smile while I chat with you all the while having no idea who you are, I beg your forgiveness -- and your understanding. What can you do to help me, or anyone else with this disorder? First, don't take it personally. It has nothing to do with you as a person. As I said, I even have to constantly prompt my brain to remember my own children's faces, it has nothing to do with me personally choosing to forget you. Secondly, please approach me when you see me and don't wait for me to approach you! Thirdly, do not feel awkward about telling me who you are and where I know you from, even if I've known you for years! A quick, "Hey do you remember me? I'm So and So, we went to high school together." or you can even try to disguise it, "I remember when your boys were just babies, back at Rose Hill." Giving me little hints will help! And, if I do remember you, it doesn't hurt my feelings at all to have a reminder anyway of your name, or where I know you from.

Prosopagnosia. Fancy name, for a life-long challenge.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Oracle Card: Fragment

An acquaintance had a link to an oracle card deck that you could pick online, ask a question or just find out what your oracle card is for today. I asked a question concerning a good friend of mine, out of the Wisdom of the House of Night deck... I got...


Sometimes it seems that life is split into so many parts, all of them separate and difficult to bring together. Family, friends, work, study, activities can all seem unrelated to each other. My child you are always whole and even if at times things feel separate and fragmented, that is only an illusion. Choosing this symbol reminds you that all the moving parts of your life are important.  If the one you’re asking about seems confusing focus on the one that brings you clarity. Be here, now, and know that I, Nyx, love you and see you as beautiful and whole regardless of how things don’t quite seem like they fit together. Remember too when you’re trying to know something you may only be looking at one piece of a giant puzzle – a fragment of the truth. See the big picture through my eyes- no matter what, all is well.

I really love that. I have seen oracle cards and tarot cards for a while not as some tapping into magical sources but more about life lessons (like gypsy wisdom or aesop's fables, or going to a counselor who tells you some information so you can figure out which way to go). This is really great advice, and the perfect card for the 'question' I posed before picking.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Old vs New; Newbies vs. Veterans

It doesn't matter what vocation you are in, what hobbies you partake in, what sports you play, or what interests you are involved in, you will always face in some way OLD vs NEW. I've faced it on both ends of the spectrum, and as I lay in bed the other evening it came to mind to write out my thoughts about this concept.

There will always be new people joining into whatever it is you are doing, who we will call "newbies". And there will always be old people who have been doing their thing for quite some time now, who we'll call "veterans". This has nothing to do with age, you can be an 80 year old newbie, or a 22 year old veteran in many cases.

Just to make this clear what I'm talking about, here are some examples:

Hobby Example: Photographers!  You'll always have people who are just starting out learning the ropes, and you'll always have people who've been taking photos for decades.

Vocation Example: Musicians! You'll always have some new band, new singer, new artist making their way up the ladder, and you'll always have tried and true musicians who know the scene and have been doing it 'forever'.

Another Example: Volunteers! No matter where you volunteer, or if you are a docent or not, you'll always have the fresh and green volunteers, and those that have been there 5, 10, even 20 years.

Another Example: Writers! You gotta start somewhere, and then you've got those who know the ropes and write in their sleep.

Another Example: Gamers! Yes, even gamers start out as 'newbs', and then you've got those that are veteran gamers that can pick up a game in the first few minutes.

Hopefully now you understand what I mean by the OLD vs the NEW. You can't get away from it, and no matter what you do or who you are, you will always start out as a newbie in something, and eventually you'll be a veteran in something (or many things!)

So, how do you act as a newbie, and as a veteran - regardless of what you are a newbie or veteran of? This is what I want to talk about. Too many times I've seen newbies come into something and attempt to change how everything is done. They do not show respect for those who've put hard work, time and effort and insist that change is absolutely necessary and even judge veterans for being 'behind the times' if they refuse to change. Or on the other hand, I've seen newbies come into a venture excited and a veteran crush their dreams, ignore them, or even judge them against standards they could never meet.

I'm going to use photography as a basis for this, because it's something I'm involved in, but you can substitute anything. In my very newbie days, I've had veteran photographers who out of competition, or perhaps just sheer meanness because they like to put down the newbies come to me and question me intensely about everything I was doing on my camera technical wise. I was nearly in tears in one case, because I could not answer the questions quick enough and did not even know what he was talking about in some cases. He was trying to trip me up, in order to perhaps make himself look like a professional, and myself look like the hobbyist who had no idea how to use her camera properly. I can imagine the scenario playing out differently, if the person had asked me if I was having any problems with anything and I could have said "Sure, I'm having an issue with lighting.." and then a conversation starting where I could soak up their knowledge instead of being judged for not having it.

There is much to be learned from veterans, if they will share. And sometimes newbie enthusiasm can light a fire in a veteran that they haven't had for years.

My suggestions:

NEWBIE - Here's some tips on being a gracious newbie.
1. Remember, you don't know everything. No one likes know-it-alls. Books don't teach everything.
2. The 'new' way isn't always the 'best' way, be open to tried and true ideas.
3. Don't immediately join up and try to change how everything is done.
4. Be respectful to those who have been involved longer than you, even if you do not agree with how things are done.
5. Seek out veteran mentors to teach you, it doesn't have to be a serious or time consuming thing. Meet a veteran? A simple question (even if you think you know the answer) opens the door to information sharing. Ask a veteran how they'd do something, and listen. Ask a veteran how to solve a common problem, you might learn a new trick. Use the vast knowledge out there that isn't in books, but in people.

VETERAN - Here's some tips on being an understanding veteran.
1. Do not pass judgement so quickly on the newbies. Stop your mind, and your mouth, before you judge someone new to your vocation, hobby, interest, etc.
2. The 'old' way isn't always the 'best' way, so be open to new ideas. After all, if we did not have new and innovative ideas we'd still be riding around in a horse and carriage.
3. Realize that newbies are usually very excited about their new venture, and that is impetus for them to learn and experience. Don't be grumpy about their eagerness, don't snuff out their light.
4. Give some leeway for learning, a learning curve, to newbies. They may not know the ins and outs of everything, so before you judge, remember you started out as a newbie at some point too and experience takes time.
5. Do not ever fall into the trap of thinking you know everything. You can always learn more. Learn until you die.
6. Use this opportunity to train instead of judge, mentor a newbie and let your spirit and knowledge live on!

There will always be know-it-all newbies, and crotchety veterans but if even one newbie gave an ounce of respect to a veteran, or one veteran opens up to a newbie and gifts them with information then I'd be quite happy because there will always be the old, there will always be the new and there is no reason for any of us to be ashamed or debased for being new to something, or for veterans to be disrespected for being out of touch.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

It's Not God's Will

It is my opinion that the statement, "It's not God's Will" is a cop out. When things don't go the way you want them to, or you want an excuse to give up on something, or just a plain excuse to get out of something then out pops "Well it's not God's Will." Let me explain...

I've heard this statement for much of my life. One of the most memorable times it was used on me was during college when I was dating this fellow that I really liked a lot. He seemed to like me too. But, one day after winter vacation he handed me this line - It's not God's Will for us to be together. I don't know when God decided to have a conversation with him about our relationship, but one week all was well, the next week I "wasn't God's will". Honestly, I will never see this any differently, but I believe this was simply an easy way out of the relationship. I mean, when you use "it's not God's will" how can the other person say ANYTHING in response? At the time I was far less outgoing than I am now, if someone ever said that to me today I'd instantly say "bullshit" but back then I was simply left in shock, and even a little bit of anger that God had decided I wasn't worth dating. Yes, that is how it seemed to me by this fellow using that line. He was a coward, he should have just said "I don't want to date you anymore." But no, Christians have that very useful cop out from having to truly explain anything - "It's not God's Will".

I also think that the church / Christianity has ingrained into people this concept of being in God's Will / out of God's Will so much that a lot of times people give up way too easy. This could be because of several things, one being that they really didn't want to do the thing anyway so it's a very easy excuse to say it's not God's Will at this time / ever. Another could be that they have been taught this concept of praying for things / getting answers from God that as soon as things start going badly they just think it's not God's will and stop trying. How many people's dreams have been crushed by some pastor or person telling them when the going gets rough, that it must not be the will of God, and they have stopped trying? It makes me sick to think of this.

In my past I've also seen this concept used to control the members in a church so they do what the leadership wants. For example, I remember my parents putting a for sale sign up in our yard when I was younger and then it wasn't long after that, it was taken down and our plans changed. Apparently, the leadership of our church did not think it was God's will for us to move. They wanted us to stay, and yes I am cynical and have great hatred for this church but I honestly believe that they were trying to control my family because the church was small, and my dad tithed exactly what he was told to tithe even if it meant we ate poorly or did without some things. I just cannot fathom the idea that these church leaderships were able to communicate with God so easily that they had the ability to tell MY FAMILY what they could or could not do by using the concept of "not God's Will". 

People give up too quickly, all under the concept of it not being God's will. I don't know how many people I've heard say things like this, where they've attempted something once or twice, and because it did not open up completely for them, they were told or they decided themselves that it wasn't God's will for them. They often times mourn this, and ask for prayer to accept this.... sounds like hogwash to me. You have to work hard to get anything in this world. Don't fall into the habit of using this concept to not follow your desires and dreams. As an example, do you think that famous authors or actors get a big job or recognition as soon as they decide they want to follow that path? Or even thinking of King Tut since I lead tours for that exhibit...Howard Carter searched YEARS for Tut's tomb, using up tons of money and all he found was a mummified cat for many, many years. It would have been a shame for him to decide after those years that it simply wasn't the will of God to find Tut's tomb and give up. No, he did not though, he kept on striving, kept on working and persevering and eventually did find Tut's tomb. I'm not saying that some things simply aren't in the stars for some people, I'm just cautioning against giving up too soon all under the guise of "not God's Will".

So think about this.... "It's not God's Will" as the answer to these dilemmas...I don't agree with:

An easy way out of a relationship. Friend or romantic.
A way for church leadership to control their members.
A way to stifle creativity or growth.
A means to control your children's future.
Pure laziness and/or not wishing to make changes.
An excuse to never move out of your comfort zone.

I've been burned numerous times by this phrase, "It's not God's will" so this is my viewpoint only. I'm not trying to force my way of thinking on you, I simply wished to share. I just want you to think, next time before you say something isn't in the will of God, just think through whether you are using it as an excuse or if you really and truly think that all doors on whatever endeavor you are talking about is really not something for you.