Really? Labels on Psychology Today

Beyond YourselfMental health issues have come a long way from being covered up by family or applying the label, “nutcase.” Labeling reduces people to objects, convenient as the phrases may be.

Psychology Today is the last place I would expect the use of derogatory labels such as “crazy.”

Here is a list of the instances of crazy in the article by Donna Jackson Nakazawa.

Paragraph 1: “…[someone] simply acts crazy in ways that confound us…”
Suggestion: Drop the word crazy.

Paragraph 3: “How can we stop feeling embroiled in other people’s craziness?”
Suggestion: The word behavior would be a suitable substitute for “craziness,” though I can think of other alternatives.

Item 11: “…to prevent a crazy-making altercation…”
Suggestion: Slightly less succinct would be, to prevent an altercation that leaves us with distressing thoughts.

Item 14: “…who’s driving you crazy…”
Suggestion: How about, who’s become the center of your thoughts.

Also, I ask, “Who is behind the wheel driving? And why isn’t it you to begin with?” That could be another article in itself. I suspect there is more than one side of the equation that needs to address mental health.

Postscript: From the point listed in response to paragraph 3 [“How can we stop feeling embroiled in other people’s craziness?”], are we conveniently turning away from recognizing others require help? We likely are not the person to help them; however there are many ways to foster connections between the person in need and persons who can offer help.

Sandra R. Davidson

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Educational Optionals

I read a pointed Facebook post about graduating students today. I won’t bother commenting after the 500+ comments on the other page.

My nephew graduated high school today. As far as I am aware he has no intention of incurring student loan debt.

I didn’t own a home until my 40s because working two full-time jobs during my younger career and a one full-time job during my married life was still not enough to afford a home without total debt—debt again, that pesky word.

My niece has no desire to have a family. Many of her generation around the world feel similarly.

I felt I didn’t have a choice between immediate full-time work and further education. Looking back, a formal education would not have made a difference in my long-term job choice as an adult. I suppose I chose purpose instead of pay.

I’d say the generation graduating now are not risk-takers in career endeavors; they play their risks in rock climbing and other thrill pursuits.

As far as a university education, why is it required we barter our careers with that embossing on paper? Isn’t proven ability far more important?

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson (Don’t know why this is even necessary if my words are posted here.)

Young

YA friend of mine is one of the youngest people I know. She’s also hovering around age 70.

Simply contagious. It is as if all the extra protons attach themselves to nearby electrons, even those of strangers.

Gregarious ought to be her middle name. She drives from the north to the south borders of the west coast and east a ways too. She teaches anyone who has an eye for artful craft. This is an annual odyssey. People remember her–hard not to–and return each year to see what new product she has brought along.

With her there is no pretentiousness. She has no patience for thoughtless people yet she will spend all the time it takes to teach a child who expresses interest in crafts. Adults too when she senses sincerity.

There will come a day arthritis claims the dexterity of her fingers; it is already working its way to the bones. I expect she may become road weary. If not, the financial hassles of buying, selling, tracking earnings and reporting taxes may erode her enthusiasm.

Hard to imagine her confined to fewer road trips. Harder still to know she may not visit each year on her pilgrimage.

So I steep in her company when she is here, phone and email between. And wish, fervently wish I had met her so much sooner.

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson

Trail

TI know she’ll be hungry. She’s inexperienced enough to fire a rifle while standing—on a hillside. She chanced a kill with no way to haul it. I boggle.

I’ve been two days and three nights puzzling. Okay, worrying. If a person has so little experience with the essentials of sustenance, how will she manage her own bandages? Shelter likely is an issue. Does she have something safe to eat?

With the venison smoked at different camps, the tanning of the hide was underway. Always on the move.

“April, I feel compelled to find this girl…woman.”

“You think it wise given her attitude?”

“Her inexperience might take her life.”

“Trying to find her might cost us our lives. If she has access to one gun, she probably has access to more.”

She has a point. I thought it through during the nights of worry. “We’ll have to take that chance.”

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson

Off Theme: Response to Poetry and Social Media

I’ll cut away from the April A to Z theme for a hmmer I’ve just had. Join me?

I read Fox Chase Review’s entry Poetry and Social Media:

“How does a well-crafted poem fit into social media? …poets write poetry because it is who they are and no matter what changes there are…the poet will always write.”

You don’t have to be a hermit to know how the social habit of publishing is seemingly counter to the cocoon of writing. I’ve asked myself similar questions and considered how reclusive the writing/publishing process was a hundred years ago compared with today. If your feet aren’t pounding it out to the public, it won’t fly.

Okay. I dragged my heels on creating a blog. What is one more web page out of millions? Who hasn’t said what there is to say in one format or another? (I am adept at talking myself out of just about any form of “public,” aren’t I?)

Got to be pebbles here…A few of my favorite poets plopped their poems right to the public online, in their blogs. My jaw hit the floor. I questioned existence as I knew it and wondered if we as a species could ever go back to non-instantaneous pleasure. The “I want it for free!” decades. Give it to them once and they don’t want to pay for it, which means seiving an ocean of practiced communication to gather pebbles of poetry.

More than a few conversations with writers and readers. All the same considerations of “will physical books disappear?” We’re still wringing our hands and trying things both ways.

You decide. No, really, you will decide with your dollars and participation.

I have switched from clicking private or friends-only on everything I post or email. If I have something to say, I must want to make sound.

Our words are finite. Our lives are finite. The days of capability dwindle. It is difficult to find your calling, which I haven’t, only after the primary skill it requires no longer functions well. Model making and needlework, those fine motor skills evaporate with arthritis and macular degeneration.

Three good friends routinely remind me: Whatever you have to give, you give it.

Writing anything well is serious work though the treatment of a subject and the intended response needn’t be bleached-bone still.

I hope not. If so, I’ve bored someone to death. Not much could be worse.

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson (<<I always forget this part. Is it even necessary??)

Faithless Reverence

RThe fawn’s hide hangs a quarter of a mile away, atop a young oak with leaves just pushing to the surface of flexible branches. The sap had become restless since the winter temperatures warmed above freezing during the day. Open to the elements and winged scavengers, the hide will be ready to cure in a week—provided larger scavengers didn’t find it. Prowlers were the reason for the distance between the hide and ourselves.

To use every scrap of a kill is to live in reverence for life. The fawn’s life, the life it transfers to our bodies is immutable energy. There will come a day when I hunt smaller and again smaller game. I realize my life, flavored of reverence, will nurture something else’s life. My wife turns to stoke the smoker and smiles at my steady gaze.

My quiver is full before I swallow the first mouthful of venison. It is a moment of presence encompassing survival of all things. My wife feels the reverence as I do, though we haven’t a shared faith.

I am faithless. The laws of nature and science, such as I remember science, are sufficient to explain success or failure, rich health or poor health.

To raise her hands and voice in ritual, to speak to an entity greater than herself, it keeps her hopeful. The habits of her belief structure her living. And so her reverence is divided or shared among what she sees as a purposeful existence.

Gratitude for the strength of my body and the wit of my mind, those are where I place my faith. And in her skill. I observe her reverence and she mine without the need to explain its source on a personal level.

I suppose my reverence isn’t entirely without faith.

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson

Quiver

QSquint to be certain. Yes, and finally. I am three miles from home. The drought has scattered prey from their usual feeding grounds into lower valleys and higher catch basins. For me, dragging a kill downhill seems more logical than huffing it uphill from the valley.

A bow and full quiver of arrows had become life saving about twelve years ago. My wife and I abandoned to the desperate city folk our little home with its central creek. Property or our lives, or both if we made our presence known. I think we made the right swap. Though we were prepared, it hasn’t been easy becoming nomads.

Does and fawns; no buck in sight. Logic dictates I take a fawn to leave the mature females to breed again. Never bucks. I need to hunt again and bucks were scarce due to the long standing sport of collecting a crown of antlers for someone’s wall, the equivalent of a silverback ape drumming his chest. Besides, a fawn would demand far less energy to transport.

The quiver lay close on the ground, one arrow lighter. To move downhill would be upwind from the group. An uphill shot isn’t my first choice. I have been getting better.

Slow, deep breaths. I exhale and let loose the arrow that is promptly followed by rifle report, which startles the group and me. Firearms were rarely used to hunt. Too valuable and drew too much attention to a person who had something for which most would kill.

The fawn had fallen in the chaos; a clean kill. Another arrow from the quiver as my guts shrivel at the thought of killing a human. A woman rises from the forest brush and turns toward the disappearing herd for another shot—at a moving target.

I will have to wait her out to tow the fawn, if she doesn’t scour the area for a chance kill from the rifle. I am unsure if I can kill a human after so many years of avoidance. I have no love for common humans. She’s stomping about a bit and hissing her Ss, perhaps cursing.

The fawn is now loaded onto the transport board without altercation. It is also nearly dark as I couldn’t risk changing position until dusk.

Click.

“I was hoping for venison stew.” Her voice is young but past childhood. “How about you leave that right here and I’ll let you leave.”

“You have the advantage, miss.” My bow and quiver are down the slope where they have been all day. I can’t decide if their location is a good thing. I hear the hammer ease.

I noisily make my way down the hill in a haphazard fashion, flailing at limbs and anything else in range. I finally drop beside the bow and quiver to look back. Struggling uphill, she had slung the rifle cross-body and it rested on her back. She now has my pack and assorted gear; everything I have for hunting is on that transport board, save the items in my hand.

She looks back several times though the darkness conceals me as I nearly walk beside her. She can’t hear past her own ragged breathing and stomping to maintain traction uphill. I aim and release.

Her screams are harrowing; I’ve disabled her arm at the bicep. The board is waiting for me. She cries, growls and kicks while I bandage her arm and set her on her feet. The rifle I take. I know she’ll not make this mistake again. Nor will I.

Now, to make it a fair distance without the scent of the fawn’s blood attracting a different sort of scavenger.

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson

Mice, Rats, Shrews and Voles


M
Most of us want to live in or near greenery. I lived near rivers and lakes for nearly 19 years. Now the water runs down the middle of a V shaped property neighbored by forests.

Perhaps it isn’t chance that water is such a central theme in my life.

With water and green space come the ruralish woes of rodents and insects. An unsavory topic, I know.

My policy is live and let live—until the human domain I call mine is crossed. Granted, I do everything in my power to keep them from crossing the barrier invisible to them. Plug holes; remove and secure potential food sources; reduce availability of water; seal access to all buildings when possible.

A rodent can fit through any hole approximately the size of its skull. They’re designed for rapid expansion; they have to be since they’re a major food source for raptors, reptiles and even mammals. Sometimes each other. [I’ll leave out the controversy of human use for other purposes. I’m talking nature here.]

Avoid those glue traps. There isn’t a way to pry an exhausted rodent from the glue without damaging the rodent and risking disease yourself. I tried. I followed the directions to the letter. And if you set the vermin out still attached to the glue trap you’re sentencing them to either a long, slow death or being easy prey. Hope for the latter. Glue traps can also stick to other living beings—larger furry or feathered ones.

Live traps are a nice idea. Little success here as rodents tend to avoid the large contraptions and even the smaller ones. Removing them to a more remote location is ideal if you manage to capture one. Oh. And check your live traps daily, please. There isn’t much use in using them only to find desiccated, moldy remains a month later. Nothing humane in that.

Please do not use poison. It has far-reaching consequences to the entire food chain, possibly including your favorite canines and felines. Poisoned rodents usually live long enough to escape before they are consumed live or dead.

The choice left is rather blunt but quick: A trap that instantly crushes the spine at the base of the skull. Most people find this idea cruel. As you can see from the above, perhaps not.

There are new traps out. [Yes, they have created a better mouse trap! Ha.] They aren’t so frightening to arm and not so disgusting to empty as the traditional wood-and-metal snap trap. Still, please check often. If checked daily, the fresh kill might fuel a scavenger and complete the food chain in a more natural way. By no means the only brand; however, I find these last longest and are as efficient as the original mouse trap. These have a clamping action to allow removal of the dead mouse without actually touching it, eliminating the eww factor and leaving the morsel free of human scent. Keep a little painter’s brush to clear any fur that might cling to the trap.

Baiting. Try something that requires force. Cheese isn’t it because it dries out and is light; a mouse caught in a trap using light bait usually gets part way backed out of the trap before the kill. Not so efficient. I like to use gumdrops. Add a little water to the bottom of the candy and it sticks right to the bait cup. I rarely have to rebait a trap because the sugar is a constant attractant and the trap a consistent killer.

One last note: Please place the traps carefully as they also attract small birds who are caught but not killed immediately or sometimes not killed at all. That was a very sad lesson since the trap was under a porch, away from the dogs and, I thought, away from other curious creatures.
©2014 Sandra R. Davidson

Love Without Fear

LIt isn’t Valentine’s Day; breathe easy.

No matter what we hear about “unconditional love,” it is a myth. There are always conditions even if they are extreme.

If you enter into an intimate relationship and you can see the end at the start, there is little point in giving only part of yourself and holding back the deeper self. You’re robbing yourself and the other individual(s).

This isn’t a passing friendship; friendships have different levels. If it is mutually understood to be a short term intimate relationship, then you can edit what you share. Important part: mutually understood.

You have no accountability to anyone but yourself, of course.

A deep relationship is love without fear. You don’t start out on day one pouring out your soul to someone, anyone. When you discover you’re looking for a long term commitment, be sure you’re clear. No hints. Put it out there in plain language. You want to have the other person(s) opt out if that is what they will do later when they eventually understand your implied intention.

Once the destination of your relationship is set at long term, hold nothing back. Love without fear. If you do, the other person(s) will.

Try not expect others, even friends, to love you the way you want to be loved. Again, be to the point if the relationship you have with anyone important to you. Even family. Even chosen family.

There are no guarantees. No promise is fail-proof. Yet you can love without fear through directness and honesty with yourself and other people you care about.

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson

Patriotism Pieced

I hung our flag when I woke and went outside to feed our dogs. I always pledge my allegiance after I’ve hung it.

My husband asked which flag among those at the store would I like to display by our front drive. It is important to me. Made in the USA is critical and cloth. Nonnegotiable. As large as we could afford to practically hang. It is mounted to a thick wooden dowel. No flagpole. Instead, a humble aluminum fixture to uphold the heavy, often rain-soaked symbol. To carry this flag in my right hand, it leans against my right shoulder, close to my cheek with the wind of our V-shaped valley wrapping me in just a few centuries’  history.

I realize now the tradition that made the United States of America flag. It is a pieced quilt without the usual padding. Cotton pieces bound together. Essentially fragile  in a way our country was and is. It was made with forethought to more stars as this country was made for more diversity. The white I’ve always seen as idealism, fluid values with a positive intent. The red is obvious as blood, much blood and, even now, more blood—theirs, ours and our own. Midnight blue to look up to with a brilliant constellation of stars.

(Photo credit in caption. Please click the image for more inspiration.)

This post © 2014 Sandra R. Davidson

 

The American flag flying atop a pole in winter.

Move Me. This image is © Tyler C. Pedersen and The Ancient Eavesdropper, 2007-2014. Click to be taken to the site page.