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"Changing the Way..."

                                                                Changing the Way…

… You look at things, many people think it’s an option. However, even that may be an opinion. Remember we all have one, like… Well, I won’t mention what we all have because maybe there are those of us who don’t, have.  And that brings me to a revelation on thinking and changing one’s mind. Especially, when it comes to circumstances in life.
Upon waking this morning. My thoughts drifted from thanking God, laying in the bed and appreciating life no matter what it has brought.  No matter what it brings.  Because I know what I got. I usually do this even more every day, as I step outside our home. Knowing any unrest I may feel, is more than likely from a spiritual, or an emotional essence.

    So, I can change that feeling of unrest almost on a dime.  I can do that, I know. I had a particular client who was a brain surgeon, who couldn’t understand how I could change my mind so quickly in emotion and in emotional expression. For a while, the doctor got me thinking. We would have these talks a number of times, over the years that I knew him. As it was on how fast I could flip the switch in my brain. That is what intrigued him.

    About five years after these conversations with him and a couple other doctors who’d been clients, some were friends. I began to realize how I did it. I knew why I did it.  But I didn’t reckon with how I was able to do what the brain surgeon thought was a curiosity on changing my emotion and the expression that went with it, so quickly..

    What I learned was, that I could wallow in self-loathing perhaps about something.  Or feel unrest because I couldn’t resolve something. So, instead of allowing myself to be bewildered at times I’d fight with the unresolved troubles. Eventually, I found that being bewildered had its advantages. I could breath better, so I could run more, do more. I could focus more on having Faith. Faith is something most don’t understand.  It comes in many formats, yet many of us think it comes in only one.

    Now I will switch back in thought to what came next to me as I lay in bed this morning. This came, “What makes me search for people online?” I do this seemingly random act about three times a year. I truly despise socializing.  I’m a bit of a hermit. And that’s why I like social media, because I don’t have to mingle.  I can be me. It is quite freeing. Although I'm a bit of a dichotomy, I do enjoy storytelling on stage and doing motivational and life speeches, as long as I can walk around on the stage freely. The answer to the question I had not a clue, until this morning.

    Referring to the aforementioned thought, ’What makes me search for people online?’. This morning, again for the umpteenth time in nearly forty years I wondered, “Why wasn’t any family member present at my high school graduation?” I’ve always told myself to let that question go.  I’d reason it with the thought that maybe, just maybe I wasn’t the only one that day who had only their boyfriend witness their graduation from high school, and not any parents or relatives.  Maybe there was someone else, if not of the two hundred and sixty-two graduates that day of my class. Maybe some kid in Harlem could relate, perhaps.  Okay, Harlem is not suburbia New Jersey where I have food and shoes available to me.  Then I’d stop myself and say, “Yeah, but it sure is weird.” 

    I’d go back and ask, “Did it matter?” or “Was I happier because I could kind of share it with just one person that night?” Because that truly is my personality.  I don’t like parties.  I’ve liked cooking, serving and throwing parties for people.  Yet, I stay in the kitchen and watch people enjoy themselves outside. Basically, I enjoy watching people enjoy themselves. It does something great for my soul.  It gives me life.

    But again, this morning my brain asked, “Why wasn’t any family member present at my high school graduation?” Yet, this time I’d realized by now all those people that mattered as relatives to witness such a big event in my life. Only a few of about dozen are still alive, because yesterday I did a random search. Yeah, for people. Out of the ones that are dead or alive, only one came to my door and apologized before my high school graduation that he could not attend due to his work.  It was my cousin Jimmy. I was stunned that day he arrived. Of all the people a kid who was about five years my senior, remembered an important event in my life.

    So, my other question was, ‘Why did this matter so much to me in my life, even to this day?’  I got the answer as I contemplated this, this morning. It was such a vast achievement for me. Not even graduating from bootcamp and becoming a Marine was as important as my graduating high school. It was that important to me.  And I’ll tell you why. First, since I was age five, I knew I could be a Marine.  That was easy for me.  My husband actually stated that to me years ago. Norm said, “Marine bootcamp was just kindergarten for you, compared with the rest of your life.”  Well, that about says quite a bit.
Here’s the reason I figured that high school graduation was probably one if not the most important event of my life. I was constantly referred to as a ‘Dummy’, mainly by my Dad until the middle of my junior year of high school. He wasn’t the only one that let me know just how stupid I was. I had teachers tell my Mom and also tell me that I was ‘just stupid’.  I could name some of the teachers. Oh, and I will: Ms. Davis-First Grade, Mrs. Neff-Fourth Grade, Mr. Suss-Sixth Grade, Mr. Fossa-Geometry Tenth Grade.  Don’t worry I have HSAM.  I don’t forget anything.  And that’s scary to some. I can forgive.  But I can’t forget, and I’m happy that I won’t forget. I’m grateful to my disorder, thank you God. Because it is freeing.

I will tell you what happened in my junior year. I got sick and injured, seemingly all the chips were down. Everything was a downer, or so it seemed. It was my worst year of stress in my life as a child.  As a matter of fact, it was a banner year of worsts for me as a child.
No one at a family function had ever asked me about my grades. ‘Why that too?’ Because I was a girl and a dummy. I laugh at this all the time now, painfully. But I reckon with it every day.  Because I have been and am successful.  And I have known that those who denied me joy couldn’t rejoice or feel joy watching me nor anyone else achieve.  And that is sad.  Yet, I have the gift of enjoying others gaining joy and enjoyment in life. My old ultra-running coach and friend Dante pointed this out to me about seventeen years ago. He told me it was a gift. It is.

Oh, and by the way.  At the end of my junior year in high school, for the first time in my life. I got on the Honor Roll. I had all A’s and one B. And I maintained that standard throughout my senior year in high school. As well, I found teachers who were delighted in having me in their classes.  Not because I was the smartest, but because I was kind, I smiled a lot, and I wanted to learn. Some even came and watched me in the two mile races in spring track, which can be like watching paint dry.

    In the end those people who didn’t show up when I needed it the most, or had some obscene put-downs aimed at me. Most weren’t successful in many areas of their lives, because they weren’t happy. That’s their issue, not mine. Perhaps, they couldn’t flip the switch from angry or sad to happy like I could. My mother called that being content.  She warned me about that. She told me people would be jealous. And I learned that being jealous is the opposite of Love. I’ll take Love. Thank you.---Jody-Lynn Reicher


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