Tag Archives: Therapy

“Too Tall” Tree – The Story of My Eccentricities

27 Jun

When I was a kid, my mom always tried to get me to have other kids over to play. She talked about calling the kid down the road. She hosted birthday parties. She threw a Halloween party that became a famous event in our family’s history. All the time, she tried to figure out ways to get kids to the house. She even told me that she was shy as a child and never had other kids over. It was a regret that she did not want me to have.

Yep, my mom tried to guilt me into having kids over to play.

Sometimes, I agreed to it. However, most times I was comfortable playing alone and using my imagination. There were Hot Wheels that could be crashed or turned into a miniature NASCAR race. There was this awesome football game where you put a disc into the player, and the radio announcer told you what happened on the play. There was also a basketball goal where imaginary last second shots could be hoisted.

One of my favorite games was “Too Tall” Tree.image-2

I got a football and pretended that the trees were defenders. I had to get through them to score a touchdown. I did the play-by-play at the same time. Being a Cowboys fan, I named one of the trees after Ed “Too Tall” Jones. It was years later that I learned that Jones played college ball at Tennessee State University in Nashville.

Anyway, I took the ball from center, and, when “Too Tall” Tree blocked my ability to pass, I took off down the field. It sounds weird, but it was a lot of fun when I was little.

I think my parents and other people thought it was weird way back then. I overheard people saying that I was selfish and did not want other kids playing with my toys. I guess that was the only reason they could think of why a kid did not want other kids around. Well, there was another reason. I was not comfortable around people.

All of this came to mind during a conversation with my wife. At some point, she asked, “You don’t like people do you?”

That is absolutely not true. I like all kinds of people, but, at times, I am still not comfortable around them. This is really true when it comes to strangers. I have never been good at starting a conversation with a complete stranger. I cannot think of anything to say. No witty comments come from the back of my mind. Simply, it is something that brings a lot of discomfort.

I do not start conversations with people sitting next to me on a plane. I do not start conversations with somebody at a bar.

Certainly, this has caused me to miss out on meeting some great and interesting people. I know that more than anyone.

During that same conversation, my wife asked how I have met people. That is a good question. I have met a lot of great people, and many of them have become my friends. Mostly, I have met new people through people who I have already known. That way they are not a complete stranger. In the modern business vernacular, that is called networking.

Of course, some people who have no problems approaching a stranger have started conversations with me. I met one of my best friends that way.

This is an issue that I have fought through all of my life. It was discussed in therapy, and it is something that I try to overcome. It is something that has hindered me through the years.

During my teenage years, I felt sorry for myself because I was not part of the cool kid groups. I did not get the messages that there were parties going on. There was this feeling of being left out. Another reason this post came to mind is because that feeling came back several days ago. There was an event that took place which I was not invited to. Internally, I acted like a child for a few hours, but it helped me put this post together.

I realize now, and knew deep down back then, that I was at fault for not opening myself up to people. If I had been more outgoing toward people who I did not know, then those people would have been more welcoming to me.

I have no idea if this post makes sense, and I have no idea how to end it. I know that I have missed out on some great people and some great opportunities. However, I know that there are a lot of great people in my life who would do anything for me just as I would do anything for them.

Am I still uncomfortable talking to strangers? Yes. I can barely do it, and I admire those who can. However, I have met a lot of people, and I like most of them. Like everyone else, there are some people who I can do without.

 

 

Bad Mood Rising

11 Apr

I am in a bad mood and have been for the past several days. I have not felt like blogging, and I, for sure, have not felt like talking to anyone. When I get in a bad mood, I tend to shut down. That is probably not the healthy way to handle things. Actually, I know it is not the healthy way to handle things. At least, that is what my old therapist said.Therapist

Last night, I tried what a lot of people do when they are in a bad mood or are stressed. I had a few drinks. I understand that it is supposed to be relaxing. Well, it may be for most people, but it is not for me. It accomplished two things. It made me have a terrible night of sleep, and it made me feel bad this morning.

Here is the dumb thing. I knew that is what it would do. That is why I usually only have one drink at dinner or something. I like the taste, but I see no reason to drink more and have these things happen.

Besides that, alcohol is a numbing agent, and I really do not want to be numb. I like the full effects of natural feelings. Happiness. Sadness. Anger. Bliss. Feeling all of those things to their full effect is living life to its fullest. I have always believed that numbing yourself to those things is cheating yourself.

I did not mean for this post to descend into a critique of ingesting adult beverages. After all, I like a glass of whiskey as much as the next person. I meant for it to be an explanation for why I have not written anything in a couple of days. Simply, I have not been in the mood. There are a few things floating around in my mind that will be coming soon. First, I have to get my mind right.

Remember: No Matter Where You Go, There You Are

4 Mar

I have been saying that line, or something similar for many years. However, it was not until today that I realized where I picked it up.

This winter, the South has been hit with some rough weather. There has been ice, snow and freezing temperatures. However, in this little pocket of the South, we have only gotten the cold air. No precipitation. People have been calling it the Snow Dome, a shield protecting us from the fate of others.

Whenever I read something about the Snow Dome, my mind goes to the 1980s and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, the second best movie in the Mad Max trilogy. Today, the Snow Dome failed, and ice descended upon us. I took to Twitter and blamed Aunty Entity for hiring Max to fight Master Blaster, an event that ended the Thunderdome era.Mad Max

That sparked some movie quote exchange between me and one of the Twitter folks out there. That, in turn, led me to discover that the saying I have been quoting all these years came from that movie.

Remember: no matter where you go, there you are.

When I use it, people usually look at me like I am crazy. However, I think it is a profound statement that means we cannot run away from ourselves. We all have problems and issues that need to be resolved. We have worries. We have stress. We have psychological aspects to ourselves that we would like to ignore.

Some people think they can get away from all of that by moving to another part of the world. Some people think they can get away from all of that by getting away from the people in our lives and throwing ourselves into the world of others. Some people think they can get away from all of that by losing themselves in an artificial high.

However, we cannot get away from all of that because it is all part of who we are.

No matter where you go, there you are. We cannot run away from ourselves and our internal problems. We can only face them and deal with them the best we can. Sometimes, like in my case, a good therapist is the answer, but that is not the only way.

Each of us is unique, with unique problems and unique ways of dealing with them.

Just keep in mind the wise words of Pigkiller, who I have unknowingly been quoting all of these years.Pigkiller

No matter where you go, there you are.

Categorically

30 Jul

We just finished walking around the neighborhood. As we did, I noticed a man through a window. He was working at his desk, and I began to wonder what he was working on. Was he writing the next great novel? Was he writing a letter? Was he blogging? At the moment, I am sitting by a window, and people are probably looking in and wondering what I am doing.

I like to think that people like what they read here. It’s a hodgepodge of stuff, but it comes right out of my head. Sometimes, It’s travel. Sometimes, it’s music. Sometimes, its stories from the past. All the time, it’s something that is stuck in my mind and needs to get out.

I am not sure what needs to get out tonight, so I will just go down the list of categories on this blog and type this first thing that fits.Scattergories

Academics – School starts back soon. That means inservice.

Agriculture – The other day, I got gas at the Farmer’s Co-Op.

Art – There is a guy named Art who works at Beauty Boutique, Necole’s store.

Biography – The last one I read wasn’t very good, It was about Ward Bond, John Ford and John Wayne. It should have been good.

Books – I just finished The Eye of God by James Rollins. It is the further adventures of Grayson Pierce.

Childhood Memories – Tonight, I mentioned that my parents had a Weeping Willow in their front yard, and I used to play under it.

Comedy – Nothing is funny, at the moment.

Community – I was named to the local Planning Commission. This afternoon was my first meeting.

Crime – Tonight, I found out that a guy I once knew tried to kidnap his wife and lock her in a closet. Hopefully, he will get what’s coming to him.

Did You Know? – I forgot about this category. It needs to be revisited.

Dining – Tonight, we had a home cooked meal of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and green peas.

Dreams – Lately, my dreams have been less than memorable.

Government – Necole went to the DMV this morning. There is no reason they should be that slow.

History – I am getting my lecture voice warmed up.

Movies – We watched Batman Begins, and I realized that the guy who plays Joffrey on Game of Thrones was in it.

Music – We have a couple of concerts coming up – Don Williams and The Eagles.

Nature – There’s a great article about sugar in the latest National Geographic. Everyone should read it.

Photography – In a few days, we are getting more wedding photos made.

Rambling Ruminations – I think that is what this post is all about.

Relationships – I’m married.

Religion – I would like to write about it more, but a few things are better left unsaid.

Sports – College football is about to start, and my team, the University of Tennessee, is in the Southeastern Conference. However, you’ll never hear me chant S-E-C. I cheer for one team and hope the other ones lose every week.

Stupid Stuff – It’s an accurate description of this post.

Television – I’m waiting for Justified to crank back up.

Therapy – I used to go. I don’t anymore.

Travel – We just returned from California and will be heading to Arizona soon.

Writing – Am I the only person who doesn’t mess with those writing prompts?

3-2-1 Conflict

8 May

The few of you who have been reading this blog since its inception know that it started as a therapy project. I don’t go to therapy anymore, but this is still a good place for mental and emotional cleaning. The reasons for going to therapy were many, but there is no point boring anyone with all of those reasons. One reason is boring enough.

My therapist helped me understand that a major problem of my psyche was the avoidance of conflict. I would do anything to make sure conflict didn’t happen and messed a lot of things up as a result. It could be anything. If my friends and I were deciding on a restaurant, then I would go where they wanted to go – even if I hated the place. If there was something going on in a relationship, then I would keep it inside to not hurt her feelings. As you can see, I stayed away from conflict in minor and major situation.Conflict

All the time, I thought I was protecting the people around me. I was not arguing with them. I was not hurting their feelings. I was keeping everything calm. My therapist helped me understand that I was ripping myself apart by holding the conflict inside. I was ignoring situations that would eventually come to the surface. Instead of preventing conflict, I was putting off the inevitable and making things worse.

Here is a good example. I had been dating this lady for a while, but I was beginning to feel that it should end. Simply, it was a relationship that I didn’t want to be in anymore. I didn’t want to break up with her and hurt her, so I held on to those thoughts. Instead of breaking up with her, I started seeing someone else. Before I knew it, I was dating two people at once. Nice way to solve the issue wasn’t it?

It all blew up when they found out about each other. Instead of hurting one person a little, I hurt two people a lot. Wait, make that three people. I hurt myself, too.

That’s the problem with avoiding uncomfortable conversations, and that is what my therapist taught me. She also taught me that my voice is important and should be heard.

I hate conflict, and I hate uncomfortable conversations.

I hate telling a student that they are going to make a bad grade.

I hate hurting the feelings of the people I love.

I hate telling someone I don’t want to go to a certain restaurant.

I hate it, but I do it. I do it because it is the healthy thing to do. It may not feel good at the moment, but it will pass. Everyone will be happy again – most of the time. I do it because in real life conflict and uncomfortable situations cannot be avoided. I do it because it’s what people do, and the last time I checked I am a person. It took me a long time to understand that.

The Price of a Decent Burial

23 May

I like old movies. Maybe it’s because I am a historian. Maybe it’s because, like some people have said, I have an old soul. But, whatever the reason, I like old movies. I say that because it leads me into this post, but also because it makes me a little different that most of the people in my life that are my age. And, that leads me into this post as well.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is an old movie that I try to watch when I catch it on the guide. I have never seen it from start to finish, but I have seen it all in pieces. Kind of like Gone With the Wind. It has great quotes. Burl Ives should be in every scene. Elizabeth Taylor is at the top of the hotness meter – to the point that I wish the movie was made today so she could lose that white slip at least once.

All of that is great. However, there is one line by Paul Newman that has always struck home with me. While arguing with Big Daddy, Brick says, “I’m not worth the price of a decent burial.” When I find myself in the throes of a depressed state, this line plays over and over in my head. Since I find myself in that sort of state at the moment, that is what this post is about. So, if you are here for some movie history or a happy time, then you should probably stop reading now.

Like the movie character, there are times when I feel that “I’m not worth the price of a decent burial.” People see me as a financially successful person, but all of that came from the monetary seeds planted by my parents. Some see me as an involved member of the community, but I do a good job of serving on boards and committees without leading them. Others say that I am a good history teaching (which I believe sometimes), but that is really the only thing that I am good at. In fact, I can’t think of another job in the world that I am qualified to do. What’s funny is that I am pretty sure I got that job because the folks who did the hiring thought some donations would come with me. In short, if I didn’t have my last name and live in this town I am pretty sure that I would be a bust in life. On second thought, maybe I am already with a few frails and dressings to hide it.

Through the years, I have been told numerous times how useless I am. Perhaps, they didn’t mean it that way, but I took it that way.

You’re a man. You are supposed to know how to change a tire.

What do you mean you don’t grill? If you knew how to cook you would be married by now.

I can’t believe you don’t mow your own yard.

You sleep late and stay up late. Normal people get up in the morning and start accomplishing things.

I can’t believe you want to sit around and read when you could be up doing something.

The list goes on and on. And, it’s true. I’m not good at anything. I’m not good around the house. I’m not good with finances. All I am good at is filling my mind with information, and that is not enough in the eyes of many.

Maybe, I am just different from the people around me. I don’t see the importance of spending my time working in dirt or grease. I don’t believe in a supernatural being. I don’t care how other people live their lives and definitely don’t judge them for it.

It seems that people want me to fit in a cookie cutter pattern that everyone else has jammed themselves into. I just can’t make myself do it. Obviously, I need to go back to therapy.

Things on the Dresser

13 Mar

I have this weird notion that we can tell a lot about a person by the things they have lying around. That’s the reason I created a post about the things in my office. Well, that’s not the only reason. I was sitting in my office trying to come up with a mind-blowing topic to write about. At a loss, I just went ahead wrote about what I was looking at. It was also a good way to work on my description skills. Maybe I could create a mental picture with my words like most professional writers do. I am not sure if it work, but I am going to try it again.

I have meant to clean the clutter off of my dresser, and, before I do, I feel the need to record what is there.

Category 1 – Illumination

Like a lot of dressers, mine has two lamps sitting on it. You know the kind. They are skinny and have a small shade on top. They don’t put out much light, and the bulbs tend to blow out a different times. Usually, one works when the other one doesn’t.

I also have a couple of small candles. I am not a big candle fan, but they come in handy if I want to create a romantic mood – like when I am watching Cinemax After Dark.

Category 2 – Pictures

Most people would say this, but these are the most important items on the dresser. One is of me and my nephews piled up on a couch. It was made a few years ago when we took a luxury bus to the NASCAR race at Talladega. I’m not a huge racing fan, but I went because of them. It’s one of my favorite pictures.

Another picture was made when my dad was inducted into the Tennessee Softball Hall of Fame. We are standing there with some of his old players and friends. Everyone is laughing, and I know that he was very happy and proud that night.

The third picture was taken many years ago and included most of my extended family. We were on the deck of my grandparent’s lake house. We had one of those timer cameras, and people are kind of looking different directions. Three people in the picture have passed away – my grandfather, my grandmother and my uncle. One of my nephews is cradled in my dad’s arms. The other one wasn’t even born yet.

Category 3 – Art

That is a term that I use loosely because one was created by yours truly. I had a girlfriend that liked to go to one of those ceramic places where you can drink and paint. This is a two-sided thing with a green, black and blue sun on one side. The other side has an orange moon with red stars. Apparently, I was going through my color experimentation stage.

The other is a piece of pottery I bought in New Mexico. An old Indian woman claimed to make it, but I think some old Chinese woman actually did. It is a cattle skull with cool designs painted on it.

Category 4 – Cards

These are not Hallmark cards. No, these are truly close to my heart. A blackjack strategy card; 3 MGM Players Club cards; a Resorts Casino card; a Hollywood Casino card; a Harrah’s Casino card; and a deck of playing cards with the theme, “Hooker’s Live Bait – There’s Something Fishy Going On Around Here”.

Before you start thinking that I am a total gambling addict, I also have an Elvis Membership card to get discounts at Graceland. Oh, there is also a business card from the men’s shoe department at Nordstrom’s. I would say that I don’t shop there much, but there is a stack of receipts under all of the gambling cards.

Category 5 – Notes

Before I get to the clutter (you thought the other stuff was clutter?), I was surprised to find a couple of notes during the examination. One was written by an ex-girlfriend (not the one who liked to paint) as a thank you note for taking her on a trip.

The other came from my therapist with the instructions that I tape it to the mirror and recite it every morning. It reads, “Stand in your own space and know you are there.” I’m going to tape it up right now.

Ok, I’m back

Category 6 – Other Crap on My Dresser

There is a small stone club with a clip sticking out of it. I think it is to hold letters, but I have a devious mind with it comes to the use of clips. Maybe I can put the therapy note in there.

It sits on top of a flat piece of quartz, or something that looks like that.

I also have an unused Fossil wallet that was once a Christmas gift. I have gotten two other wallets since then.

There is a pair of black running shorts. Obviously, I meant to run. All kinds of people run around here, but I can never figure out what they are running from.

Two pairs of glasses, one sun and one regular, sit in front of their cases.

Oh, there are also three watches. One is broken. Another is a sample that my watch salesman friend had in his truck. The other one is a Rolex that my parents presented to me when I got a Masters. It’s pretty, expensive and pretty expensive, but it doesn’t keep good time.

Somewhere on there is a small remote that operates my iPod when it is hooked into the speakers and some buttons piled on top of it.

I collect pins, so there is one from the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina. For someone who isn’t a big race fan, I just mentioned it twice in this post. I can feel my neck turning red.

There are some scissors and a jar filled with coins.

Next to those is a ticket to see Footloose. I never saw the first one and didn’t want to see this one, but my girlfriend wanted to take her daughter. It wasn’t all that bad, and I got to look at Julianne Hough. Yowser!

However, the prize of this category is my stuffed Jackalope. What? You don’t know what a Jackalope is? Well, it is a rabbit with antlers, and they are all over New Mexico. Google it and see what you come up with.

Category 7 – Coin Dish

Last category, I promise. My coin dish contains everything but coins. Actually, there are a couple of Kennedy Half Dollars. I got them at a casino.

Other than that, there is a souvenir golf ball from The Masters. It’s the only sporting event that remains on my “wish to go” list.

There is also a chess piece that was supposed to be a therapy reminder device and a blue rock with “courage” printed on it.

There are ear plugs and a couple of guitar pics that I picked up at a Metallica concert. Those and the plugs seem to go together.

I also have a Godiva Chocolate card and a gold chain from the glory days of the 1980s.

Oh, there is also the Brothel Inspector badge that some students bought for me in Madrid, New Mexico.

However, there are four items that are very special. Two belonged to my grandfather – his pocket knife and a University of Tennessee tie pin.

The other two are championship rings. In 2010, my university won the baseball national championship, and I got a ring for serving as Faculty Athletic Representative. The second ring represents the ten state championships that my dad’s softball teams won over the years. That’s why he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

And that, as they say, is that. Can you tell anything about me from the items gathered on my dresser? Or, did you make it this far?