Kansas City, Kansas

The small lapel button says, I (heart) KCK.   A candy dish held dozens, shared at some previous event at a local college.   I do love KCK so I took a couple and wear one on my semi dress up denim jacket with the carryall pockets.

“If you love it, why are you shopping here, not spending your money in KCK?”

Rudeness and attitude oozed from the woman just ahead in the grocery line.

I could not have heard correctly.  People don’t get all wonky over a tiny lapel button supporting  community, a place where my siblings and I flourished with that village concept.

“Pardon me?”

Surely I had not heard correctly.

My mom would never allow “What?” as a response.  When the old fight or flight reaction kicks in, Mom’s rule tend to over-ride.

“You people make me sick.”  Intentionally loud and obviously set to put me in my place, she was ramping up for Down With Do-Gooders speech, the all-show-and-no-do-speech, the put your money on your button speech.

OK.  What?  Incredulous silence?  Defense of what needed no defense? A litany of the great things about my home place?  How about the extreme single finger response?

A very wise and quiet spoken grocery checker handled the situation with two short questions.

“Do you live in KCK?”, she asked.

“Well, of course, I do.    That stupid button is so lame.  If this old lady loves the place so much, she should spend her money in KCK.”

“Forgive me, but aren’t you and this lady in the same check out line, in the same grocery store, a store NOT in KCK?”

A moment, a quick breath moment, and her single finger salute confirmed that being so immersed in anger is a state of mind devoid of logic or reasonable thought.  This  woman raised her defiant finger and left convinced that she had won, had put us in our place.

Wonder how long ago the failure of her village began?

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Respect

Some months ago, many blogs had my standard disclaimer:  This is a ramble, a mind trip with no planned destination.  Today is a ramble.

A wandering mind comes to so many odd junctures.  A word, a phrase turns torrent without conscious effort.  Old and seemingly solid belief systems get cracked or discarded during the wonder.

Cleaning, sorting, discarding years is inviting awe at the depth of Bob’s talents and interests.  Not only did his light stay under a barrel, but he covered the barrel with camouflage.    What he knew and what he loved, were ours alone.  He gave an amazing clarity to the concept of not caring what others thought or knew of him.  Self-Respect did not require public validation .

As Mark, my oldest son, reminds me, “Mom, you got your happily ever after.  How many people can say that? You can!”

Right.  I did get the happily ever but now I have the after. I am grateful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mental Illness

or simply mentally different? As is my habit, be warned–a ramble is fermenting.

Quirks keep us interesting.  Lock-step thinking is boring and leads to lemming behavior.

A recent conversation with my daughter-in-law centered on a  seminar about our genetic make-up having been altered by generations of behavior and attitude.  It is logical, but I never gave that possibility a thought.  To me, DNA was our physical being, not our prejudices and manners.  If the seminar ideas are true, the Mars vs. Venus concept has been honing for centuries.  The ‘ah-ha’ possibilities are endless if we examine the Women’s Movements, Integration, Political Parties, and the ugliness of attitude.

And what of mental illness?

If DNA gave me blue eyes and cracked fingernails, did it give me a gullible nature and a tendency to try for solutions to whatever is askew?  Is being called a Pollyanna a characteristic as embedded as matching my DNA with my siblings?

All of us have someone in our lives that is different, odd or really off any definition of normal.  We shake our head at the perspective they have of life  and their place in our world.  “She/he could change if the desire for change is strong.  Why doesn’t she/he get help?’  Doesn’t our attitude border on cruelty?

If you ever smoked or discovered that your drinking habits were no longer social, you know the struggle to change.  How many New Year resolutions centered on weight and exercise–year after year after year?  How much more are these habits within personal control than are deep depressions, bi-polar, the menu of mental illnesses?

Pharmacology of treating mental illness changes the brain using chemicals to calm the manic and level the depressive.  Talk therapy examines attitudes and life experiences with the hope of facilitating change.   These tools are miracles helping to make life a blessing rather than a constant burden.

This ramble will run over itself, probably going in circles, because I am more frustrated than knowledgeable.   But how do we help those we care about, those we love, when their burden is so impossibly heavy?  How do we reach deeply enough into their depression to offer any balance?  How do we even broach ‘depression’ when their pain obstructs so much?

Baditude

Often the mind forms the body frame affecting the walk, the talk, the attitude. The world view from the beholder creates the attitude, moving through each life with manners that project hostility, enthusiasm, resignation, love, rejection, humor and perhaps deception. Often the display changes when the interacting group changes. With friends there might be openness that is totally suppressed in the work place.

Shelves bulge with theories of why and how we become…what influences and shapes attitude. Professional women and men study nature vs. nurture. I have no qualifications to analyze the ‘why’ of attitude.
Qualifications aside, I think that trust must certainly be a measure. Who and what has formed the shield that protects sensitivity and displays in attitude? Where is the sense of safety, the trust that allows openness? Probably most important is the question of balancing and prioritizing the influences.
Maybe “Baditude” isn’t an in-your-face display of mucking against the world. Maybe it is a display of “the world, on far too many levels, has mucked with trust.