Wednesday, December 11, 2019

What Weirdness is This?

It seems around every corner lately, something bizarre is lurking.

November 18th was one of the strangest days I have had in a long time. After an unsuccessful attempt at rescuing a bird, I called someone who ended up being less qualified than I am to handle the injured blue jay. My mom was on a walk when she found the injured bird. I took over after she dropped it off and continued on her walk. The whole rescue attempt was upsetting, from the event that landed the feathered creature in my hands to the way the person who came to get the bird handled things, and the poor thing apparently died on the way to the wildlife rehabilitation center.

As my mom was walking back home after climbing part way up NCAR road, a large piece of construction paper that was left by workers at one house at the top of the street blew into her and knocked her over. A very nice young gentleman who witnesses her fall brought her home, and I took her to the ER, where we discovered that she had broken her patella. In true "mama" fashion, she is already getting around very well after some tough weeks. I'm juggling several jobs, but my main concern is her, of course.

During her healing, the extreme snowstorm hit. I was house sitting, so I ended up running from one house to another on the days my car was stuck. I also helped a few neighbors with various tasks, but I was treated to some "play it forward" rewards with help shoveling the sidewalks at each place. Then Thanksgiving arrived with relatives and more cold weather. My mom wasn't able to attend the dinner out that my brother planned, but the rest of us went to the Chop House. Despite there being some differing opinions about politics that I missed later, things went smoothly at the restaurant.

The nicest parts of the holiday break were chatting with my brother and his wife about everything from online harassment to politics, doing some volunteer work, and seeing my mom make progress in her recovery. The not so nice parts were the actual online harassment, dealing with the extreme weather, and finding out some things about relatives that I wish I didn't know. I don't want to go into the online crap in this post, so I just updated this older one. Both my brother and his wife are lawyers, but, more than that, they are incredibly thoughtful, kind individuals with a lot of good advice to offer. We were able to deal with at least some of the public posts this individual made that included me and got those removed without having to exert much effort. It's easy when an individual keeps lying and violating the terms of service of various websites. We haven't decided how to handle things directly, yet, if at all.

Online ugliness aside, a conversation that will stick with me is one I had with my sister-in-law about impostor syndrome, something we both suffer from. Even when I was running at my best, I had this internal worry going on in a bad way that I wasn't good enough. I can't say that I envy people who boast about their abilities or can fake it till they make it, but I wish I had a little more self-confidence. Then there are the types who declare themselves experts, advocates, or professionals in a certain area without having any real qualifications. I don't envy them at all. My problem is that I can't even trust the qualifications I do have. Some people just put themselves in a position of authority, and nobody really questions it.

In many arenas, it's not that big a deal, but it can be problematic when someone who is ill equipped to deal with certain health or mental health situations tries to offer advice as an expert. This can potentially end up being damaging. And yet just look at Twitter and Instagram, full of these types. Obviously, there are qualified individuals voicing opinions, but what I don't quite understand is how some who are clearly not experts have a louder voice than those who are. I think a lot of who gets heard comes down to popularity. If you are in with the it crowd, people listen. That's unfortunate when so many thoughtful individuals are pushed aside.

It's really too bad, especially in this climate of all the #metoo type campaigns that more people who have relatable experiences or who have solutions are being edged out of the conversation by people who simply want to be heard. The voices of those who actually have something to say get drown out, and people who might not have personal experience or qualifications step up in their place. It's  so strange to watch and very unfortunate, especially because this should be a time when we are all heard. Instead, it's the same old same old of the noisiest getting attention. I have complained about this kind of issue before.

A post on Twitter by a friend of mine who's an author suggested that she recently found her passion for writing again. Like with running or anything in life, really, what we do can sometimes become a chore and lose its fun and meaning. People who write usually do so because they are motivated by passion or have a message they want to share. Finding inspiration isn’t the same as asking others for actual content, unless it’s a collaborative effort and contributors are all acknowledged. Taking other people's ideas and writing about them as your own probably won't produce the best work. Sometimes the way around writer's block or any other kind of barrier is to give into it and wait until the fire is reignited. Writing should be about more than simply doing it for the sake of doing it. There's way too much of that kind of product out there already.