Double Trouble

For being a smart person, I really am quite dumb sometimes. Well, not like a dumdum. It just takes me longer than the average smart person to really come to grips with things. For example…

stock photo via photo library

An email arrived with the sentence “Thank you for your persistence.” which probably meant please stop bothering me. A co-worker told someone else in front of me: (paraphrased only mildly) “We love Kelly. She has a way of being mean but she does it with a smile and it makes it ok.” I’m not sure it was a compliment but it is true.

M’s – money, marriages, and messes. The radio show advised these are three things we should stay out of, as in other people’s. This radio show predominantly deals with other people’s messes so pot…kettle.

Not every email requires a reply. As I’m almost constantly (now) dealing with people from all walks of life, there are many different approaches: kind, understanding, firm, rude, hateful, dismissive, etc. You get the idea. This week I’m neck deep in an inspection that hasn’t happened since 2019. Read: before me. Somehow I tend to find myself in positions where once I’ve got my bearings, there’s a huge inspection or program audit and here I am with my hands in the air and a huge shrug. I shall prevail! Occasionally I have too much to do to reply. Other times it is best I don’t because angry Kel can only be quiet for so long. And I’m being pushed to the brink.

My sister accepted a job on the same installation where I’m employed. In fact, we’re in the same squadron. I should feel bad the base is now saturated with two people like us, but this could be fun. Someone asked if she is as wonderful as I am; her reply was “I’m better!” She’s got jokes.

Now we’re off to find the boss and explain in no uncertain terms why the grass is brown. Hello. Drought. Texas. Seriously?

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I ask you –

Thoughts on the three M’s? Do you agree?

Have you been inspected or audited at work lately?

On a scale of 1 to You’re Fired, how much trouble will my twin and I get into? 5. We have humor going for us.

Tell the Truth

Once upon a time…I would take my breakfast to work to eat there. But with the medication I take, I discovered how awful I felt before I even arrived because I had not eaten. Turns out I’m a much happier human when I’m fed.

fancy

Which brings me to this nugget of truth:

H.A.L.T

  • Hungry
  • Angry
  • Lonely
  • Tired

By evaluating the words we say, actions we take, and decisions we make keeping the acronym HALT in mind, I bet you can pinpoint where many conversations or big decision making situations in your life went wrong. What if you evaluated your own internal cues prior to reacting to stressors at work, home, or life in general? Taking care of our basic needs is paramount to successful interactions. Hanger is very real, as is allowing lack of sleep to encourage poor decisions. So, next time, before you react or make a snap judgment, try the HALT method. If you need a snack, go for it. If you need to sleep on a decision, do that. If you’re falling back into destructive behaviors, perhaps it’s time to call a friend who will listen.

Unrelated – as I draw closer to the start date (I have one of those now – September!) of my doctorate program, I recognize this will finally unlock the door to teaching higher education. Some may think it’s not even possible, but I’ve known I wanted to be a teacher since I was 5 yrs old. Really. Don’t ask me how. I just knew then and still know now in my heart and soul I was called to teach. In every career I’ve had I always find myself gravitating toward teaching positions, opportunities to teach others, or advancing my formal schooling with the intent to teach. Now, knowing what I know now, Higher Ed is very political. I get it. And even though my degree(s) are in Public Admin which cater to elected officials and city/state government jobs, it’s never been my intent to become an elected official. Way too empathic. However, I would take my chances at teaching at the university level.

I ran into a college friend a few weeks ago whom I hadn’t seen in person since 2007ish. She’s now a local principal and an adjunct professor at our alma mater. She had some interesting advice for anyone willing to tackle university-level students; it boiled down to the older they get, the more resistant they get. Let’s land this plane, shall we? Instantly I thought of the HALT method. What kind of service are we providing our youth (and ourselves) when getting older is synonymous with resistant? Absolutely rhetorical! I firmly believe we all have more to learn – there’s no end in sight. Honing your craft, sharing your skills, providing a sympathetic ear are just three simple steps. Imagine what could be done if you tried, if you made a conscious effort.

Perhaps this is where we get it very wrong. When the going gets tough, do the tough actually get going or do they get gone? Think about it.

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I ask you –

Know about good metaphors for deescalating stressful situations?

Do you consider yourself a resistant person? You can lie to me, but don’t lie to yourself.

Tell me something you are very good at (skill, hobby, whatever it is)! Baking cookies!

Tricky Conversations

“The start of doubt is the ending of trust.”

In financial terms, this means our generosity is directly linked to our ability to believe we have all we need. But money really isn’t ours anyway. Growing up extremely poor meant money was just a pipe dream. I learned its value very quickly. As a result, parts of my brain, I believe, are truly changed in response to a constant fear of living without. Money is a worrisome part of my life – even though I have no need to be worried. My needs are covered.

Photo by Alexander Suhorucov on Pexels.com

Recognizing these 36 years are all I know and I can’t compare it to something longer, the divisiveness in our country is saddening. There aren’t many people I know who can just “be” around others without talk of political affiliation, religion, or world news. I’m not saying these topics aren’t important; I am saying they don’t define a person and I don’t care to label someone because of it. As I recently sat in a room of people who “assumed” a few things about me, (more than assumed, it was crystal clear they intrinsically believed I was just by showing up) many words were being thrown around as commonplace.

My intent was to listen. But when I was referred to as “them”, my unapologetic voice made its presence known. I am a me. Sadly, the person who I was responding to wouldn’t even look me in the eye. Zero acknowledgement. What I believe is not an ideology, as it was stated. An ideology is a belief system that underpins a political or economic theory. Political or economic. Faith (or religion as some may say) is not an ideology. I can clearly state my belief system and why it’s there; therefore, moot point. I believe we were created to protect life, but I also served to protect one’s choice.

Disclaimer: Fully realizing my readers were not there and it’s hard to describe the room dynamics whilst being very protective of the participants, I do my best to be inclusive and respectful. I think my point in sharing this experience here is to say you don’t know what someone is going through or where they’ve been. Conversations in the workplace, especially in the federal government, are tricky right now. Everyone wants to be heard. But, at the end of the day, we all remove whatever uniform we wear and we’re simply us. I stand behind my statement ‘You don’t really know what you’ll do until you’re in that moment.’ Either way, it’s not my right to judge and I’m incredibly thankful for this truth.

Lastly, please do some research on which amendments are which before you embarrass yourself. And…vote! Change starts with you.

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I ask you –

Have you had tough conversations lately?

Are you registered to vote?

Hope you have had a safe and restful weekend!

Talk It Out

“Because of grace, everything in your story has purpose. Even the dark parts. Especially the dark parts. Your brokenness is what allows the light to get in.” “Our lives are built by the voices we hear. It’s why they matter.”

Credit for the quotes above belong to separate devotionals. The intent is similar. What we hear, what we read, what we tell ourselves shapes the narrative in our minds. Our ‘self talk’ is perhaps even more important than what others tell us! Think about it. Haha no pun intended. Goals, dreams, aspirations begin in the mind. Ours!

The past two weeks have been particularly difficult in my own little world. For starters, I was completely out of commission one day for allergy-related breathing issues, then there was the seemingly neverending jaunt of dance performance rehearsals and end-of-year school activities. Then I accidentally took a double dose of daily medication which really made for an interesting day. I don’t remember most of it.

tea time

As hard as I’ve tried to be gentle with myself and manage my own expectations of what life should look like, my tank has been running on E. This is why… it’s called Running on Fumes. But I think I’m completely past E. There’s strangers pushing the truck from the intersection at this point. Beep, beep! My cycle is messed up, my hormones are out of whack, and I’m alternately exhausted or can’t asleep. Classic signs of burnout.

So how do we fix it? Maybe just by saying I’m done. The world with its political everything and life with its constant battles. I need some time to reset, recharge, relax. But not from blogging. It’s beyond time to fill up the tank. Side note: who can afford to do that now?! I can. You can. We all can. Sometimes we choose not to which sounds worse than paying for it.

I’m using this four-day weekend to catch up on things that make me happy – like Tom Cruise, long runs, and meal prepping. And muffins. aka cupcakes without icing

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I ask you –

Are you on proverbial E?

What do you do to “fill your tank”?

Average gas prices where you live! $3.89

Resiliency Revolution

Occasionally I accept as a compliment what people say when it fact it isn’t. That’s a you problem! For example, someone in my office stated “You’re always doing something.” I saw them smile as the words exited their mouth so, naturally, I thought it was a good statement. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. I have no idea. But it got me thinking – am I doing too much?

Credit: mytherapistsays via Instagram

My predominant belief is I should/like to give my time and effort to select things. In the Navy, we were encouraged to participate in everything. The problem here is you can’t give even 60% of yourself to 10 obligations. Hello, short stick. I chose (and often got dirty looks) for giving my time to 2-3 collateral duties. Those duties deserved my attention. Fast forward to the Air Force, the duties are called additional duties yet the volun-told status is still in effect. This is why… I take the initiative to cultivate and choose my own additional duties.

Introducing the Resilience Training Assistant (RTA). After a very involved two-day, interactive, emotional course, they felt I was qualified for certification. Yippee! I recognize resilience is a military buzzword; however, it is something I truly believe in because it can be used to reframe the culture of mental health stigma, as well as foster the conversations between military personnel both up and down the chain of command and within all branches. Yes, I know that’s a lot to ask. At the time of viewing the list of qualified personnel on base (nearly 40 people), I only recognized 2 of the names. TWO. Clearly there’s a problem because it means I didn’t know them from resiliency efforts, but from other duties.

Super incredible classmates!

The next hurdle is attending the Master Resilience Trainer (MRT) course at Maxwell AFB. Genuinely looking forward to a TDY. In the meantime, there’s a huge need to provide this curriculum to squadrons, groups, and all personnel. My vision is to ensure the word resiliency doesn’t go the way of other buzzwords, aka out of sight/out of mind. I want people to talk to each other when they’re hurting, when they’re struggling, when they need help. Billions of dollars a year are spent on (I’ll say it) completely useless things – why aren’t we spending money and time on changing culture instead? It costs nothing to empower others.

“If you’re self-aware enough to be self-deprecating, your IQ must be high!” – Will Lannon

We’re going to spark a revolution!

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I ask you –

Have you ever heard of Resiliency Training?

What are some buzzwords in your profession?

Tell me about a time you participated in a culture-changing curriculum!