Urban Dictionary: rat-licker

Urban dictionary

The masks we wear today are not so hideous as the ones from the early 1900s. FYI, I found some remakes on Amazon. For fun, I include the link.

Bubonic Plague mask

If you want to have a bit of fun online, you could always use this as your profile picture.

BTW this is just a little light-hearted look at masks.

The mask or not mask argument is hot. People are willing to lose friends and family over this protective device. Could we be taking our stance, our seriousness too far? Imagine if your mask were the beak of 1917?

My mom was having a difficult time wearing masks. Unable to drive due to health issues, she only had access to my dad’s black utilitarian ones. I find this sad since there are so many pretty, trendy face coverings available. I don’t know if she will wear them, but I purchased her a couple if she needs them.

Amazon masks

Let’s make this time fun. Make it a game or make it practical. It’s your choice.

Say It, And Speak Clearly

Honking is an annoying noise to me, so much so that it took me a full year before I realized the one-year-old car I purchased didn’t have a working horn. Hmmm, darn. My warranty was gone by that time. I’ve had the car for ten years now, and it’s still not repaired.

People honk, and it’s difficult to know, are they telling me, “Hey lady, speed up!” or “Yeah, you can move on into the spot in front of me.” A loud noise is a loud noise. It startles and offends. Honking rarely accomplishes it’s purpose unless the purpose is for the person honking is to yell. In those situations, it is useful. Honk, honk, honk, honk. Just like being downtown in Chicago.

I’m contrasting this to those who complain. My mom complained when I was growing up, and it was difficult for me to learn the difference until more recently. I asked her to voice her concerns to her doctor, which she had spoken so freely to me, and she said she didn’t want to complain. I was baffled. She told me my dad didn’t approve of this behavior, and then I understood a little more. He is the one who keeps things to himself. He is always alright. He would never let the doctor know of his issues because it exposes weakness. So, mom’s complaining to me is her way of telling me she has a problem, but she has no way of getting help.

Voicing an issue is a good thing, in my opinion. Speaking up, and even protesting is a right we should protect with all of our beings. If we don’t want to lose our humanity in this age, we need to wake up and use this time wisely. Speak up. If there’s an issue on your job, or at your apartment complex, or anywhere that is affecting your life, use your right to say something.

Community

This society we live in is built upon these customs. The structure our ancestors chose were laws, rules, and the ability to stand up for ourselves. We sometimes need to request help from others stronger or wiser than we are to speak for us, but the purpose is the same, don’t sit in the mud and complain about being wet and dirty. Find a way, ask for help, holler, cry, kick, and scream if you must, but say something until you are heard and can grab a hand that will pull you out of that mud. But whatever you do, don’t stay there.

I live in an area where complacency is the norm. This is the way it is. We’ve always lived here and don’t you dare think you’re better than anyone else. I’m watching businesses die because of this attitude, and these are ones that could update their equipment, update their ways, and stay in touch with the times, but they refuse. It reminds me of when typewriters were going out, and computers came in. So many talented older women didn’t learn how to use these new pieces of equipment. Modern ways came in and left them behind. I shouldn’t be sad, I guess. I should let it go, but I find it disheartening because this is what I see happening in my government as well. It’s time for a change. I don’t know what it will look like, but the old way isn’t working. We have to speak up.

Say something. If you have opinions and you have ideas, say them. If you are in a position to do something in a local area, use it to your advantage. Make wise decisions. Move forward.

If you’re a person in need, don’t give up hope. This is a day for you. The sun is rising. Decide what you want, even if it seems impossible. Imagine if it were. If you were not sitting in the mud, how would you live?

Esraa Zidan’s artworks Above image saved from Girl God Trista Hendren’s Instagram

Our Agency

Maybe it is time to be who we are, to love like we mean it, to smile from deep within, to give not expecting a gift in return. Maybe, just maybe, it is time to stop fucking pretending and get back to who we are.

Deep inside, we know what we want. It’s time we do it. If we can only do it on the weekends or the evening, so be it. I write on the weekends. I hike when I can and travel as I can afford. When my last day comes, I want to say that I have lived as I wished to have lived.

I Have Agency!

When a doctor walks into a medical emergency, he or she isn’t faking their authority. They might have been playing golf or at a dining table minutes before, but at this moment, they’re a physician. Once, I was eating with a doctor and his wife when he had an emergency call. He didn’t stop by his home to don his surgical clothing like a superman cape and become Dr. Perfect. Nope. He went straight to the hospital. He knew who he was.

What is the Concept of Agency?

In social science, agency is defined as the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices. By contrast, structure is those factors of influence (such as social class, religion, gender, ethnicity, ability, customs, etc.) that determine or limit an agent and their decisions.

Take Control of Your Life: The Concept of Agency and Its Four Helpers

Agency is the sense of control that you feel in your lifeyour capacity to influence your own thoughts and behavior, and have faith in your ability to handle a wide range of tasks and situations. Your sense of agency helps you to be psychologically stable, yet flexible in the face of conflict or change.Jan 31, 2015

In one place in your life this week, create order. Be in charge. You are the person who makes it happen. It may be your hair or your laundry, but you’re the bad-ass here.

The Goal is Being Alive

I had been restless, tired of putting up with leftovers. I’d had a lot of second-hand crap. Friends invited me to concerts–if their original date didn’t show. Or sometimes, I stayed in the car while she and a friend met the band and received autographs. It sucked. How did I get into this situation? One day I woke up and realized I wasn’t the first choice in my friend’s life. I was putting more effort into relationships than I was getting. It pissed me off. I’m not the second. When had I started down this path? I didn’t intentionally date taken men or choose friends who didn’t want to hang with me. But it all cracked, and I had enough.

It tested me…

I grew up in a hard-knocks rural lifestyle. If you don’t earn it, you don’t deserve it. Work hard, and take pride in your accomplishments. Park them in the driveway so the neighbors can see. But I was also torn between two worlds. I had earned my old world, the one I left, the mom me. Since I left it, somehow, I no longer had access to the worthiness I had achieved under its umbrella. My ex-husband kept the money. Society withheld the honor.

I couldn’t square the old with the new world I entered. In this modern world, I was a penniless, lonely, divorced female. I didn’t like this person I had become. I was sad and unfulfilled. I lived only to make it another day.

On the advice of a therapist, I planned to make some solo journeys. It seemed reasonable. It would be time away from toxic relationships, and I could readjust my expectations. Recalibrate. Learning to feel good on your own isn’t easy, but that was the plan. Solo Journeys. At least, it was the door I kept trying to go enter. Heaven is my witness; I tried. 

The universe or God had a surprise. I met someone who liked doing the same things I enjoyed – hiking, drinking coffee, etc. I could do it alone. I was willing to prove I could. But maybe I’ve done enough. I don’t know. One thing I’m learning is that not everything is accomplished through hard work and pounding on doors. maybe I’ve done enough. I don’t know. I’m adoring my journeys currently. I’m making peace with my life. I’m alive.

Don’t Speak

Helen Sinclair:
No, no, don’t speak. Don’t speak. Please don’t speak. Please don’t speak. No. No. No. Go. Go, gentle Scorpio, go. Your Pisces wishes you every happy return.
From Bullets Over Broadway

It’s time to hunker down, to stay inside, to do the opposite of what Americans do best. We do not do idle. And even when we rest, it’s not a quiet thing. We fidget. We plan. We vacation.

Today was the first weekend after Oklahoma Governor Stitt ordered nonessential businesses closed and people to remain home.

KFOR News – As part of the new restrictions, Stitt said that all non-essential businesses located in the counties affected by COVID-19 are being ordered to close at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25 until April 14.

So what happens when you’re home sheltering in place, and the electricity shuts off? No lights or television or computers. Netflix is unavailable. No binge-watching the latest show. Well, earlier, I swept the floor but couldn’t do the laundry. The WiFi was off, so I wasn’t able to edit, not even from my phone.

We took a walk. Thankfully the electricity was turned on by the time we had made the trek around the neighborhood. I had work to do: writing, laundry, and other busy stuff.

This week I will try to rest. Really.

My Recovery

My cervical fusion was on January 23. Afterward, I began my recovery. I truly appreciate those who have taken care of me. My stress tolerance is low, and my need for kindness and patience is enormous. Pain Management is everything. Yes, I feel the pain. I’m not that person who says no to the prescriptions. I understand the risks, but goodness, let’s not become martyrs. I also wish I could stay forever cocooned in my nest. I have my boyfriend, my heating pad, my audio books, my cats, and my iphone, but unfortunately, I only have two more weeks. It will be back to work then.

Thank you, myceliumcrusader from Instagram for your words of truth and encouragement. They resonated with me, so with permission, I am sharing them below. See it on Instagram.

Some things change

Are We Going Audio?

Check me if I’m blowing this out of proportion, but has the scenery changed? It seems we keep stubbing our toe in the same place as if someone moved the furniture.

I’ve purchased books over the past couple of years that I couldn’t finish. Either didn’t have the time, or I was interrupted in the mid-flow. A great novel deserves quality attention to be enjoyed. I’ve discovered audio is a dimension open for me. At work, I have audio space. Besides, I welcome the barrier of my headphones, blocking out the office noise. In my childhood, I would read for hours and couldn’t wait to hoard books from the library or the book club, but now I hear those creations instead.

There’s speculation that the quality of writing has dropped. Therefore we have lost interest. It’s possible. Others state our attention span is shorter. Yeah. Of course, we have higher expectations for ourselves today. Politics, passwords, and aging issues. Take care of the kids and the parents. Oh, did you remember to stop and get milk on the way home? Make dinner. Do the dishes. Well, you know the drill.

Yes, there’s a colossal video explosion. It’s streaming addiction. I don’t knock it. I love it. My downstairs neighbor’s television plays nonstop. I don’t tease. He is elderly. And he plays it balls loud!

TOP DEFINITIONBalls LoudAn extremely loud sound. Its like balls deep… but in your ear. “Dude, that concert last night was balls loud!”

BCore June 10, 2008 UrbanDictionary.com

Truthfully though, it doesn’t pay to be so hard on ourselves. Reading isn’t a virtue. Novels, self-help books, magazines, and all of these carriers of words are opportunities for some. Never let them become a burden. Once-upon-a-time stories were passed from Grandfather to grandchild around the fire. Night after night, they told the same stories, weaving them into the tribe’s psyche. We can honor our ancestors. Tell an old favorite over a cup of chocolate this season. Make a storytime.

Landscapes change. We grow old. Maybe we notice the furniture moved. Honor is listening to the times.

Seriously Happy

There’s no guarantee for success or one formula for not ending your life with regrets, but there are a few pieces of wisdom which have been shared over many generations.

  • Hang around positive people.
  • Don’t fix negative people.
  • Help your tribe.
  • Seek tasks and lessons that are challenging to you.
  • Respect the human needs: camaraderie, love, family, tests, learning, struggle.

Did I Do This?

The product you have in front of you is the result of years of practice. If you like what you see, keep going. Otherwise, it’s never too late for improvement.

Feel the breeze. Notice what you like and enjoy it. Make it happen again.

Permit yourself to be happy today. I have not always allowed myself to enjoy my current progress. I wasn’t where I needed to be yet. How will I ever appreciate more if I can’t see today’s beauty?

Today, find your sunshine.

Illegitimate

What does it mean to not belong? It never mattered how hard I tried. I didn’t feel I was part of the family. Mine. Two brothers. My middle brother finally admitted to me a couple of years ago that he hated me as a child. From the day I was born. The odd thing- I had felt his resentment as I was growing up. Sadly, it only made me want his attention more. I adored both of my brothers. But I never belonged. I was the outsider.

Feelings

Belonging is a bone-deep craving you never escape. You dress it up or down depending on your personality, but it’s the snark as you reply to your coworker. Do they make more money? Get more time off? You hate. And you don’t know why.

Keep On

It keeps you on your toes, always jumping higher. Or you hide. I’m not an expert on the whole human race with its quirky ways, but I know how I feel when I’m relaxed and authentic. When I’m in my element, I smile from the inside. Finding these pockets of authenticity didn’t come naturally. Most of my life has been a walk through a jungle of emotions I couldn’t name. Confusion. Chaos. They call from the trees above. Tangled vines surrounded me and jungle snakes dropped in front of me, even preventing my progress when I tried to do something different. Stick with the familiar, the snake seemed to whisper. Yesterday’s action might be the answer, but I’d never change and I didn’t want to stay tormented forever. Daily life is difficult. Working through the jungle, untangling the vines was tough. How did I get here?

It’s Complicated

To most people, there are paths. Yes, life has problems, sadness, grief, breakups, and pain. There is a source for that pain. Emotionally healthy people can say, “I had a car accident.” Period. In the jungle of messed up folk, such as me, or those who have feelings of not belonging, a car accident is rarely just a car accident. There are tangled vines of doubt. “Was I speeding?” Guilt and shame. “I can’t face anyone tomorrow. That was stupid to rush this morning. I was going too fast.” This torment continues. In the case of my mom, who is 82, she is still chewing on thoughts from her childhood.

Understand

I created a story in my head as a child. I didn’t know why my brother pushed me away when I was three. Logic was not involved. Only a small child’s fear. And when he ran instead of playing, I didn’t understand it wasn’t about me. I wasn’t an adult who could reason this through. And my adults didn’t know to explain. I learned twisted patterns on how to relate to life, problems, and men. I expected difficulty and avoidance. Vines and snakes. And I got them.

Resolution

There’s a way out of the jungle. The vines have names as well as do the snakes. If you put signs on the trees, you create paths. An amazing thing can happen with this jungle. It might not be the family you were born with, but it becomes a world you create. You belong. Name the emotions you feel when they come to you. Don’t ignore them. Go deep into the jungle. If it’s sorrow, put a big stamp on it. SORROWS! Journal, write, talk to friends, walk in nature, play music, whatever helps you. We are legitimate.

Thank you for being my friend!

You might want to read Belonging or My People or Memories of A Childhood

Painting by Julie Gray