Friday, March 27, 2015

Nothing new ... just better

I often wonder how the human brain works.
The only thing that could make
me a morning person ...
The beauty of a sunrise.

I often wonder many things.

What is it that drives one person to climb a mountain while another simply wants to photograph it?  Why will one person skydive while another is nervous about even flying?  How can one person love roller coasters but get motion sick in a moving car?  Why is it so difficult for some to receive compliments while others seek approval constantly?  Where does self appreciation end and egotism begin?   What really is Victoria's Secret?

I'm not sure there is any way to answer these ... or at least if I asked a dozen people I would likely get at least 12 different answers.

I tend to not give myself credit for my accomplishments ... I tend to be hypercritical and hyper-analytical of most everything I do.  This will likely never completely change.

I know I am my own worst enemy in so many ways, but I've never really thought about trying to change this ... I'm not sure I know how to change this.

Maybe I'm making this far too complicated.

A nice picture of a healthy snack
If somebody does well on a task or something I appreciate I will tell them, "Good job." or "Thank you."

When I finish a project I say, "All I did was ... " or "I didn't finish that other part ..." or "I could have done better."  And I don't just say this to myself ... I say it to my manager and the other supervisors.

I'm trying to make one simple change at a time.

When I finish something I tell myself, "Good job."  When I report a job status I tell my manager what I HAVE accomplished rather than focusing on what has not been done ... a complete report rather than just the flaws.

I am good at what I do ... I deserve to get a little credit from myself.

I'm not seeking the spotlight ...

I don't exaggerate my capabilities ...

In fact, I still berate myself for the stupid things I do ... for the things I cannot or do not accomplish.

The past few years have taught me that I can change ... that I can adapt ... that I have become comfortable in my own skin.

I want to learn to be comfortable in my own brain.
Small accomplishment
The game 2048 -
I reached the goal
of the game

I look at everything I have learned over the past few years ... what I've learned about myself ... what I've figured out about life in general.  I think of all the things that I have been through ... all the issues I have survived and moved beyond.

I don't need to beat the odds ... I've already done that.  I've learned from many setbacks and moved beyond many obstacles.

Can I do better?  Yes ... of course.

Am I learning to appreciate what I have accomplished?  Yes ... finally.

It's all about moving forward now.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A night at the movies

A sandwich tray from Subway
Just an extra thank you for the
drivers who helped today
This is one of those times I could really unleash the somewhat creative but terribly chaotic ADD part of my brain and ramble endlessly through a myriad of disconnected concepts.

This is a somewhat normal state of mind for me, but doesn't serve me well while writing ... usually.

I've spent a lot of time recently comparing ... well ... maybe mentally measuring, or balancing many things ... trying to figure out where everything fits ... or where I fit into things ...

I don't know.

I draw very bizarre comparisons at times.

Sometimes I think I see things completely differently than those around me ... that my brain works on a different frequency than others.

A honeybee hard at work
I'm a little allergic (I hope
just a little) but love photography
I don't mean I am incredible or profound in any manner ... just different.

Tris in Divergent felt out of place even before the aptitude test.

Her test proved her instincts were right, but she was told not to tell anyone that she was different ... this frightened and confused her.

She did try to conform by changing factions and rebuilding her identity.  This transformation only reminded just how different she was and eventually revealed her abnormality to those around her.

Her society was scared of people who did not fit in.  There was a plot to rid society of all people that portrayed this independence ... this ability to see or think differently.

In the end Tris accepted her divergence and saved the lives of many in the process.

The first blossoms on our
apricot tree.  I so love eating
the fruit from this tree
Alright ... if you're a fan, or even just know the story, please don't tell me all the things I abbreviated or left out.  I was not trying to recite the entire story.

It is sad that society pushes away that which they do not understand.

It is sad that those who do not fit in feel it is necessary to conform for a chance to be happy when self acceptance is so much more important.

Tris had no intentions of overthrowing a plot ... of fighting for the rights of others ... of even being herself ... ... but she did.

Being yourself takes a lot, especially when you fall outside of societal norms ... confidence ... bravery ... determination ... perseverance ...

While trying to photograph
this spider she became aggressive.
A Fly happened to hit her web and
I caught her stalking her prey
Traits I never noticed in myself ... but others have.

When Katniss volunteered for Prim at the reaping in the Hunger Games she was not trying to prove her bravery; she was trying to protect her sister.  She was not wanting to earn the respect of those in her district ... not wanting to draw attention to herself ... but she did.

When she joined with Rue as allies, or when she saved Peta she was not trying to inspire a country; she was trying to help those worse off than her.  She was not trying gain sympathy ... not trying to influence others ... but she did.

When I started this blog it was an outlet ... a secret place to express my fears, my emotions, my progress and my setbacks ... possibly I might have accomplishments or small victories to talk about.

I never figured people would read my thoughts.

I never thought I was interesting.

The cookies that were
served with the sandwiches.
More and more people are commenting or sending my messages because they appreciate my unusual outlook ... they admire my courage ... they are inspired by me.

I am truly shocked and humbled.  This has never been why I write ... this is not something I ever thought I was capable of doing.

To everyone who reads ... to everyone who comments and encourages me, thank you.  You have all truly made me very happy.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Traffic patterns

There are many things that go through my mind  ... often at the same time, but that's a different story.

Lately I've been taking short clips of video of how the drivers in our area behave in different circumstances.  I intend to use this as a training tool for the drivers at work.

As I began to pay more attention to certain details a few things occurred to me. 

Regardless of how far we drive it is highly unlikely that the traffic around us is going to the same place at the same time we are.  Even for big events like a concert or a ball game there are some of the cars that share the road that are not going there.

People enter and exit the road at different times ... some prefer the freeway while others take the scenic route ... we all have our own destinations.

If we are lucky we might find someone to travel with us ... to keep us company ... help us find our way ... to just be there while we head down the road.  Not everyone is this lucky ... not everyone wants a copilot.

Many times we find ourselves bogged down in traffic ... road construction, rush hour or an accident slows traffic to a crawl.  Sometimes we are the ones who have broken down or crashed.  It feels like the entire world is staring at us while we are stranded on the side of the road.

At some point we find someone that is not driving ... well ... they aren't driving the way we want them to.  They are driving too slow on a narrow highway, weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating us or any of a number of issues.

At some point we encounter the driver that doesn't like how we drive.  The wanted us to gun it through the caution light, drive 75 in a 65 zone or ... well.  I don't know what goes through their mind.

As I train drivers I tell them the hardest thing to learn is not allowing outside influences to alter how they are driving ... the weather, other drivers or other problems cannot force you to do something you know is not right.

Most of the time driving is safe ... part of a typical daily routine.  Sometimes it is difficult ... it can be unpredictable and sometimes dangerous.

Sounds a lot like life ... or closely parallels it anyway.

We are in control of our own vehicles ... our own journeys or destinies.

I am incredibly fortunate and blessed to have my beautiful Pam along for the ride.  Our journey has been filled with twists and turns, but we've grown stronger.

I am equally fortunate to have so many friends and family who have joined the convoy.  I do not know how long we will all be on this road together but, God willing, I hope it is for a very long time.

For those with road rage ... You drive however or wherever you want.  I will not allow those outside my vehicle to have an adverse impact on my driving.

We all deserve a happy journey.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Patting myself on the back

I often have a difficult time finding positive things about myself.

Maybe that's not an entirely accurate statement ... maybe it's more like I am good at seeing what is wrong ... or maybe just what can be improved in just about everything. I've always been tough on myself ... on my shortcomings, but this seemed to escalate into being harsh ... to the point of being brutal to myself.

I am often vicious with my self deprecation ...

and I am not easily willing to give myself credit for many things. It doesn't seem to matter if I'm average ... a little better than average ... possibly even good, I focus on the mistakes ... the flaws or even what could have been just a bit better.

Since 2012 I have made some of the most absolutely amazing friends ... far too many to name.
On the one hand I can't believe it's been nearly three years since I said my first incredibly insecure words as Tiffanie online ... Tiffanie Someday.
I wasn't even real in my own mind.

On the other hand I can't believe it's only been three years. Despite some rough times it seemed as though my life just flowed into Tiffanie. I became comfortable very quickly online ... in public was a little different, but even that happened so much more easily and suddenly than I expected.
It even feels like I've known the friends I've made for much longer than three years ... like we knew each other from some distant past. It is likely without their support, advice and encouragement I seriously doubt I would be where I am today.

From the start they told me I was too hard on myself ... they encouraged me to see the good I've done ... they treated me better than I treat myself.

I didn't believe them ... or didn't want to believe them.

They persisted ... and persisted. Eventually I started to listen, but still could not be nice to myself.

I really do not understand why I cannot compliment myself ... I want to appreciate my accomplishments without focusing on the errors ... the small and often insignificant details that have no notable impact on what has been done.

Recently I decided to find something positive ... to take credit for the little victories which I tend to overlook. Not daily ... not weekly ... no timeline. I don't want to feel forced to find things; it defeats
the purpose.

I just want to try and be nice to myself ...

to give myself credit for what I've done ...

the tiny victories ...

When I talk about my fitness ... my training ... my exercise, I tend to say I don't do anything. Prior to my knee surgery I did do very little, but I was not completely sedentary. Since my surgery I have been gradually increasing what I do.

If I compare my "training" today to what I was doing in 2011 it is laughable ... but everything was different then.

A few weeks ago my daily sanity walk (a necessary break from the insanity that is my job) were maybe 1/10 mile, and not even daily ... these very short walks have increased to 1/2 mile every day.
Is this "training?" No ... not really, but it is one of the steps that lead to more significant endurance training ... it is an accomplishment.

Recently Pam and I went grocery shopping ... without a shopping list. This is usually a dangerous situation ... the times we usually grab things that sound good rather than what we need. This time we stuck to things on our healthier eating menu.

Is this thrilling? No, but it did feel good to pass by the cheese and salami and say "No ... not today." Just a small victory to celebrate.

I did indulge on some cosmetics, but those are not fattening.

Neither of these are earth shattering. Typically I would not think twice about things like that, but it is the little things that often make a big difference.

Last weekend we had a thunderstorm ... well, a Ventura County version of a thunderstorm. This is incredibly rare here, so I did what any normal girl would do ... I grabbed my camera and little video camera and ran outside.

The lightening was not directly overhead ... in fact it was sunny where I stood, but the storm was very close. I haven't seen actual bolts of lightning in years. I was thrilled.

I managed to capture one pretty incredible shot. I sent it to an L.A. area television station ... they led there broadcast with a story on the storm ... and my picture!!

This is the 4th time this station has used one of my weather photos.

To everyone who has been telling me that I am a good photographer, thank you.

I've also been on twitter sharing my food photos, kitty photos and weather photos. I am a bit surprised at the responses as I do not have many followers ... but people like my pictures.

I guess I am better than I give myself credit for.

I really am trying to learn to be nice to myself ... this is new to me and is not easy to practice.

I use an app called Spark People ... basically a free food and exercising app. The website has community boards and other ways to interact ... talking to people with similar issues makes trying to be healthy a little easier.

One of the features is a goal board ... a slide show of my goals, pictures, motivational slides from the site an my own personal motivational thoughts.

My personal motivators include ...

"What would David Lapoff say?" David was such an incredible man. He helped me and so many others with health and fitness goals.

"I am worth the effort." I added this a while back. It truly was not my own thought ... it was something that many people all told me in about a 1 week period. I typed it in, but never really took it to heart.

The other day I wanted to add to this board.  I wanted something simple ... something nice ... about me.

I started typing, "I am ..." I stopped. I am what?

I wanted to be positive ... I wanted to say something that I would not normally say about myself ... something that would help me build a better self image.

"I am ..."

I don't know why I was having trouble finishing the sentence.

"I am ... ... beautiful."

I stared at the screen. I hesitated , then hit the save button

It was a catharsis ... I don't think I have ever said anything that positive about myself. Now I see that every day as the slide show runs.

I may have to do this more often. I think I might like being nice to myself.

I cannot thank all my friends enough for helping me realize how I was truly treating myself.