You’re allowed to rest.

We’re springing forward  tonight. I don’t know if every country uses daylight savings but I doubt it. Daylight savings means that twice a year we set our clocks back an hour or forward an hour, depending on whether it’s the spring or fall one. So 7:00 becomes 8:00 when we go forward.

In other news, I made salmon for the first time. (My favorite fish.) It’s pretty easy. And for those of my followers who pray, please toss one up for my extended family. A bunch of them just got the nasty flu that’s been going around. Ugh. I was lucky to escape it so far and I want to keep it that way.

I was surprised by how many people responded to my last post about Burnout. I knew it was a big thing, I just didn’t think people were that interested in reading about it. I didn’t even give any tips for dealing with it.

Which is mostly because I don’t have that many. But other sources do and I’ve heard a few over the past few days that might help you out.

First, rest.

It’s the obvious one. But we neglect it shamefully. Don’t be “on” all the time. Today I deliberately didn’t do homework or that much physical labor. I slowed down, read, watched a movie or two, played games with my family, spent some time outside before it started raining, and spent my time with God.

Which is the second thing, though I know not everyone can or will implement that. But one christian to another, please, do this more. Unless you’re better at doing it then me, in which case I take my hat off to you. Of course being spiritual is not a contest of favorites or superiority, but it is something you have to do on purpose. I find the best way to just relax with God is to worship. Music is a great stress reducer when you pick the right songs, especially worship ones. Surprisingly, I’ve heard that even non Christians find christian music relaxing or fun. (I recommend Bethel, Hillsong, Jesus Culture, Laura Hacket, and Jason Upton, to name a few. I also like Switchfoot.)

If you don’t want to do that, then even listening to regular music, if it’s happy or upbeat or soothing, often helps me relax. It can take my mind off the things that bother me.

Third, and this is a big one, let it go at the end of the day.

I used to do that thing all the time where I’d go to bed and start thinking about everything I had to do the next day. Or about all the things I failed to do that day. And I mean everything from controlling my temper to doing a chore. Even blogging.

I actually thought it would help to plan things out. I might be more organized.

But, surprising no one I’m sure, that never worked. I would forget the plans I made by morning; but I would certainly stress myself out in the meantime. That effect lingers.

If you didn’t do everything you wanted, or needed to do, don’t lose sleep over it. Unless you have to turn something in by tomorrow and absolutely won’t have time in the morning (and I mean if you have to rush somewhere, not if you want to waste time watching a show or whatever,) I would say don’t do it. Just go to sleep. Do something fun with your spouse if you’re married. But let it go. You’ll work better after a good night’s rest anyway.

Another tip is to read. Read something you like, something you want to read. Something that takes you out of yourself for awhile. But avoid books about self help or goals when you’re trying to chill. They are guaranteed to make you feel like you’re not doing enough. There’s a time and place for that written kick in the pants, but an off day is not one of them.

And go outside for goodness sake. Find a safe park or a garden, or your own back yard. Don’t take any electronics. Or keep it in your pocket if you do. Just enjoy it.

Keep in mind screens are stressful. Especially white ones. But even TV can stress you out further or at the very least not do any good. Unless it’s a really good movie that you like, TV usually does nothing to relieve stress.

That’s about all I know. There’s always diet and exercise habits, but I’m not an authority on those. All I can suggest is fruit and pleasant walks.

And I was talking about what to don on off days in order to relax, not how to fix your life. Though a little rest can go a long way.

Most of all you need to give yourself permission to rest and detox. Even if you can’t afford pampering, and can’t set aside a whole day just to take it easy, you can set aside time on one day to do something for yourself. Remember that you deserve a little me-time just as much as your kids, family, or friends do.

It’s okay to need it, really. Don’t think you’re tough enough to go on without ever taking a break. It’s humble to rest.

Until next time–Natasha.

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Of Christmas Classics and Childhood Innocence.

Who doesn’t love old Christmas Classics?

Even though I realize now that there’s a lot of things in those movies that are not explained very well, I don’t think they have to be for the movie to be good.

Actually, I think they make it better.

If you’ve ever seen Frosty Returns, you might recall that Frosty tells one kid that “Some things just can’t be explained.”

And it’s true. I mean, can anyone really explain gravity? Can anyone decide what light is?

 

I don’t know about anyone else, but when I watch Frosty the Snowman now, the nostalgia makes me want to cry.

Because I’m sad for what we have lost.

I love the innocence of these old films. They have songs in them that would never make the cut now. Like the “If you sit on my lap today” Song from Santa Claus is coming to town.

That song is innocent. Whatever might be read into it now.

I am not saying by the way, that we should write songs like that for our modern movies. The problem with losing innocence is that once it’s gone, it’s gone.

You can never un-see or un-know what you know.

It’s impossible for me to forget the threats of terrorism, and drug abuse, and sex trafficking.

And that’s why I would like to encourage any parents our would be parents reading it that innocence is actually a very wise thing to preserve in your child.

It’s going out of fashion now.  The general attitude is that children will have to face reality sooner or later, and hiding it from them is stupid.

And parents who choose to shelter their kids rarely explain why in terms that make sense to those who hold the above view of it.

When parents say they don’t allow their kids to watch or listen to certain things, they usually justify it by saying those things are inappropriate.

But what does that mean? And in the day of gender confusion and school shootings, does that idea have any merit?

I think so.

The way my parents handled the issue was never voluntarily bringing up any shocking behavior. But if I asked about it, they would explain. My dad often more than I wanted to hear. My mom usually more vaguely, because she didn’t like talking about the stuff herself.

My parents used both caution, timing, and natural curiosity to handle the problem of telling my siblings and I about the crud in the world. And that’s the key.

Now that I’m almost 20, I hope I will not be in for too many more moral shocks. (please Lord.) But I am glad that most of the ones I had came when I was over the age of 10.

I am glad I can remember a time when I did not know those things. And that I did not grow up hearing about them all the time. Or that if I did hear, I did not understand, so I cannot remember.

I am glad that I had many years of relative carefreeness.

Why? Because I had no suspicions. I still remember when I could watch a movie and not get the sexual innuendos. Wasn’t’ that great?

I mentioned in my Wonder Woman review that I had the experience later of being horrified to learn about how corrupt people can be. That’s not a fun experience, but I would urge anyone with children not to avoid it by letting their children in on everything without setting boundaries.

Obviously, adults don’t talk directly to children about this stuff (usually) but they let them watch or read things without screening them first. And it adds up.

I am glad to be horrified over sin. It does not make you weak. It is actually a good thing to be sickened by it. To a certain extent. It’s a godly quality. The Lord himself is horrified by sin.

Did you know that there are some sins God does not even imagine us doing? It’s true. It says in Jeremiah 19:5, 7:31, and 32:35 that the sin Israel was committing had not even entered his mind.

God then, is innocent.

You may ask how that’s even possible. And the reason I can think of ties back in to shielding children from corruption.

A pure mind cannot ever conceive the depths a corrupt, sick mind will stoop too. A good man cannot even imagine doing what an evil man does.

The best protection from corruption is to not know about it. Innocence in childhood can be a great foundation fro a strong moral character. Because a child is not ready to process e evil and sort it out from good. That’s why it is the parent’s job to feed them on good things.

I want to make it clear I do not mean parents should pretend evil isn’t real. Children will figure that out no matter how much you try to hie it. What I mean is, trying to give them the best you can and make sure what’s influencing their thinking is a pure as possible. Evil is always evil, and it’s always defeated.

(I recommend A Thomas Jefferson Education for more on how to ease children into knowing evils sometimes wins and preparing them for that harsh reality through their books and movies.)

We are told nowadays that children only grow up with concepts of good and evil because we teach them too. And we are advised to throw away responsibility and treat them like case experiments. Exposing them to all things and letting them decide.

but no matter how hard you pretend it’s otherwise, children will decide based on you. Whether they reject your morality, or imitate it. You will be their guideline. You are teaching them one way, whether you like it or not.

So, why not teach them good, noble things, while it’s up to you. Before friends and school have a stronger grip on them. (Though find the best school you can by all means. And encourage healthy friendships.)

I want innocence for my children because it’s the last part of life that remains a little linked to how things were mean to be. And a child who has that experience will be able to imagine better things more easily than one who only ever saw the darkness in the world.

Adulting?

Did I mention yet that I got laid off? No? Maybe?

Well now I have.

It’s not the first time, so I guess this isn’t a new experience for me entirely. At least I’m not as hopping mad as I was when it happened before. That was a whole other story.

I won’t really reflect too much on it here, since you’ve all probably had that happen to you.

Anyway, you know that new term going around the internet? “Adulting.” ?

At the store I worked at we actually had plaques and notebooks that said “Coffee then adulting.”

I wouldn’t have a clue what that meant (Other than the adult part) if I hadn’t seen a helpful YouTube video titled “No you are not adulting.” (Check it out, it’s on a cool channel.)

So, because I’m trying to enroll in college; waiting for my first tax return; wondering what new job I’m going to find; and hoping to get my driver’s license next week (if you pray, please throw one in for me;) I seem to be adulting.

I mean, I don’t like that term.

But I think I know why it was invented.

There’s a lot of people my age who don’t feel adequately prepared for adulthood, one minute you’re 17 and haven’t a responsibility in the world beyond school, which isn’t your choice anyway; and then boom! You turn 18 and you start wondering what the heck to do after you graduate. Or you might have just graduated, depending on when your birthday is. And suddenly careers or college is staring you right in the face.

If you don’t live in America, Canada, or some parts of Europe, and I know some of you who read this don’t, then I imagine it’s a little different. Maybe 17-18 isn’t the year everything changes for you. Which is fine and all, not every country has to have the same system. But in American especially, you can’t legally do most things till you’re 18. So it is a big deal.

 

However, just because I can do stuff now, doesn’t mean I want to.

I don’t want to pay taxes, but I won’t get much of a choice there. I don’t want to have more expenses than before.

And I think that’s where my generation is finding itself. When we were teens and kids we were told we could become anything. But we didn’t hear the people adding under their breath “but it will cost you a fortune.”

I’m speaking to someone right now.

For example, if I wanted to get certified to be a ASL interpreter, it will take me at least two years, maybe more, doing multiple classes. And classes other than Sign are required to finish.

And that’s an easy one. And cheap–er.

I think the truth is, we millennials missed the part in every story where the person has to hazard all they have, like Bassanio in Shakespeare, in order to win the prize.

The fact is, you never get time back. Money can be refunded, time never is. And older adults tend to think that millennials don’t take that into consideration.

Well, my theory is, they do and they’re scared to death.

Personally, for all of my eighteenth year, I was feeling almost paralyzed from wondering what to do with my time. Looking back, I hope I didn’t waste it.

Well, I know I didn’t, because if I had had the chance to do more, I would have. When opportunity isn’t there, I don’t think it’s a waste to occupy yourself at home while you wait.

But now, it’s crunch time. I have to make some major changes in a couple months of time.

And I am not qualified to give all people, millennials or otherwise, my five tips for dealing with this period.

But I do have a little piece of advice.

One thing I do think I did right in the last year was choosing not to obsess over my lack of direction. I thought about it a lot. But in between times, I chose to keep reading, writing, and studying language. And pursuing activities outside myself. And learning to drive.

I believe that was a smart choice.

Another thing I believe I did right was committing my time into God’s hands. I may not see why I was in limbo for so long, but there was a reason, and there were moments of understanding. Like getting to go on another mission trip. I might not be able to do that again this year. (Here’s hoping.)

And don’t discount the little things. Getting to spend more time with my cousins, we have a bond now because of that, that I might have missed otherwise, and that’s a precious thing that time can’t wear away. Though it may take a back seat during some seasons.

And being there for my family. I hated being stuck at home so much, but the fact is, my family did need me. I may not feel like I do a lot, but even what I did was more than if I hadn’t been here. And I bring things to the family circle that nobody else does.

I don’t just say that to be cliche, it is true. I’ve observed it over time.

So it was a tough year, but I don’t believe any year spent seeking God is a bad one. No matter what bad things happened during it.

Heck, the Friday before my birthday I spent going to the second funeral of the year. IF that’s not symbolic of what I’ve been saying, I don’t know what is.

And all you 50+ folks have my sympathy for how much more frequent funerals must get as you and the people you know age.

But I don’t mean to be depressing.

Anyway, making the most of your time will make you feel better when you don’t have a clue where you are going next. I’ve still spent too many days sitting around doing nothing, even though I despise that attitude.

Adulting is not something you start to do when you’re 18, it’s something you learn to do over life. In fact, adulting is the wrong word for it.

It’s called growth.

That’s all for now, until next time–Natasha.

Boasting, binging, and beginning.

First of all, I apologize for not posting in several days. I’ve been out of commission.

But today I feel better, so here we go:

You know what I notice about technology? It’s a tough thing to break away from.

But what if our addiction to it isn’t just because its addictive (though it is as addictive as drugs.) What if we have more addicts in our culture simply because our values have altered so much that we encourage it?

That’s not really  a new idea, but I think the implications of it tend to go over our heads.

We can all agree that entertainment industries feed our addictions. They even have the audacity to boast in their commercials that they are “bingeworthy, you can’t miss it, you can’t go without it, it’s irresistible”… sounds familiar right?

What if I said that about my posts? You have to read this. (Hey, we get emails titled that don’t we?)

Well, I’m not kidding myself. No one has to read my stuff. No one is going to die if they don’t see my latest. Come on.

Frankly those commercials annoy the heck out of me.

But how little resistance there is to them now. Being an addict is even kind of cool now, in the meaningless way anything is cool nowadays. (Cool used to be a certain way of acting and thinking and dressing, now I’m not sure what it means except that you like something.)

People joke (READ:Brag) about binging on things that they can’t get enough of. And the rest of us laugh; ha ha, they have no self control, it’s hilarious!

I suppose it’s equally hilarious when it is deadly things like drugs and alcohol.

So what about technology? We’re proud of being addicted to that too. Well, I’m not.

I don’t mind loving a good show or movie, or finding usefulness in electronics, but that’s nothing to be proud of.

The pride isn’t obvious, most of us wouldn’t use that word at all; but what else would you call it?

Getting the latest version of whatever. Getting to a more difficult level of a video game. Getting so many likes or views on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, you name it.

Getting a bigger TV, getting a better car, getting those channels on TV that other people can’t get.

Being able to say you’ve seen every single episode of this show, or that you’ve seen this movie so many times in theaters.

Even being slightly embarrassed about how much you consume can be something to brag about….I’m not clear on why. It just is.

Because somehow, admitting it makes it okay. I may do nothing at all to rectify my problem, but at least I’m not deceiving myself.

Except I am. Many of us are. We think that just because our friends (both in person and online) don’t judge us for our weaknesses in addiction, that means it’s okay.

Which is like a colorblind person thinking they know the difference between yellow and pink, just because all their friends are blind.

That’s an unlikely example in the physical world, but when it comes to mental things, it’s all too common.

The fact is, all our friends are not likely to point out our problem because chances are we only make friends with people who have the very dame problem.

What would most Americans have in common with anyone who did not own a TV, or a smart phone, and preferred old fashioned entertainments and knew nothing about pop culture.

I don’t mean to generalize, there are Americans who don’t buy into all that stuff, but there’s precious few of us who don’t own a TV and struggle with this problem at some level.

What’s hard is even getting the younger generation to see it as a problem. They have grown up with their lives wrapped around technology and entertainment. They boast about how much of it they consume.

The older generation admits it’s a problem but often is too susceptible to it themselves and they don’t set a strong example.

In my family the problem tends to be that each person spends a portion of the day engaged in other activities, but we don’t do it at the same time. One person’s play hour might be another’s work hour, so we distract each other without meaning to.

In some ways, having a designated room for TV and another for study and work is a better arrangement, but too often it becomes an excuse for isolation.

I know I harp on about this subject a lot, but part of the reason is that I mself notice that if I’m not regularly reminded of the dangers of screen addiction, I start slipping into it and not bothering to fight it.

So I’ll end with a few tips for at least cutting back on it, though eliminating it completely is something I haven’t figured out yet.

  1. Don’t be constant: It sounds like weird advice, but one thing to do is to limit what you watch in a day. One TV program, one movie. My mom used to give us time limits for how long we could use the computer for a movie or game. Sometimes I hold off watching anything until a certain time of day, and then only one thing. (It’s too easy now to just passively sit while someone else puts on something unfortunately, but if you live alone  or with less people that’s not such a problem.)
  2. Just don’t: Kids and teens will usually give into the temptation without much resistance; not because they are by nature more susceptible to addiction, but because they tend to go along with what adults are doing, and make poor choices when left to themselves. Humanity in general is not apt to make wise choices as it is. But with no one to watch us, we tend to do worse. So just don’t let your kids have access to technology except when it’s necessary or it’s a special occasion.

 

That’s about all I’ve got. Self control in this area is particularly difficult due to how often we are tempted. Total abstinence seems to be the only guarantee for never slipping.

But since perfection is not what we can expect, limitations are a good place to begin.

I don’t give up hope of conquering this addiction, but I admit it is hard and the hardest part is realizing it’s a problem. It just doesn’t feel like a problem most of the time.

Anyway, here’s hoping, until next time–Natasha.

Stressing it.

I am normally a healthy person, but a trip to the doctor the other day informed me that I have  higher stress level than before. Causing me tension headaches, neck-aches, and back pains all over.

It sucks because stress is a vicious cycle. You stress until you get symptoms; then you stress about getting those symptoms; so of course you do; and so on.

Since my family moved, I’ve had one difficulty after another and I guess the new job was just the icing on the cake. Maybe the straw that breaks the camel’s back would a be a better analogy, cakes are supposed to be fun.

Actually, back when I was not saved, I had stress symptoms all the time. Only I have a feeling the doctors would have sent me straight to a psychologist, who in turn probably couldn’t have done anything, because my fears were irrational, and pretty far beyond what most psychologists would be able to handle.

I don’t mean any disrespect to them, but no one without a spiritual understanding of things could have understood my fears. To them it would be all mental, but it wasn’t.

Anyway, as I’ve shared before, I would feel sick to my stomach, shaky, and cramp up. I don’t recall getting headaches then, but now that I put more weight on my neck and back it makes sense that the tension is settling there.

I am not now one to stress out on purpose. Maybe some of you can relate, you don’t feel like you’re stressed, but you feel the signs of it. Maybe we’re just disconnected from our emotions. I’ve never been the best at knowing what I felt unless it was fear.

And my fear isn’t like it used to be. When I was a kid, my fear was right up in my face. Now that I know better, fear tends to hide from me so that I’m barely aware I’m feeling it until something pushes me tot he breaking point.

The last mission trip I went on, I had no idea just how much stress and fear I was feeling until I had an upsetting exchange with another person there. Then it just set off a wave of sickness and panic. Ugh, I hate even remembering it. But I didn’t have any serious ailments while I was there.

So my question is, still, why am I stressing out?

I know why.

I’m afraid to fail.

Maybe I want to prove something to people who’ve said I couldn’t make it in the real world. Maybe if I get sick and can’t bear up under the load, they will think they were right, or I at least miss my chance.

Maybe deep down, I have doubts about how well I’ll make it out there in the real world. Even if strictly speaking, I’ve been in the real world all my life.

I’m also afraid to succeed. Most of us are. That’s because if success comes, we have to live up to it, and improve even more. If you already doubt you can handle level one, how will you be during level 2, 3, 4…?

But what all of us are really doing by thinking this way is submitting to the mindset that we grew into. Most of us didn’t have great family backgrounds growing up, even if you’re like me and had an exceptionally good family, they still weren’t perfect. Neglect happens in some areas, if only because circumstances often prevent certain needs from being met. My social life suffers now from distance and a lack of transportation. That’s no one’s fault, but it still causes a gap in my life.

Maybe for you it was higher education because your family could barely pay rent or buy food.

Maybe it was isolation because everyone was super busy and you didn’t have friends for whatever reason. (I think it’s luck more than anything else sometimes.)

You fill in the blank, we all had something.

And that something gave us a box that we call our comfort zone.

Mine involves using my mind more than my body, and relying more on my ability to figure out problems than to deal with people. I can fake being a good epople person, but beneath it all, I’m just an introvert trying to act like I enjoy doing this.

Which is not to say it’s a total act. I do sometimes like talking to people, making connections, and helping them. But it wouldn’t be my choice if I had another, you see what I’m saying?

My work exhausts me emotionally and physically. Yet I need more hours if I want to make enough money to even pay tuition for one year, or buy a car, or whatever.

This is just my own little problems. You all can think of dozens more of your own. We all have cares that we sometimes worry aobut.

Yet, hard as it is to admit, worry is a choice. And we can choose something else.

For me, it’s faith. Do I believe God will fulfill the work He has started?

If that sounds too churchy and like empty repetition, then I would just say it like this:

God hired me, so to speak. (We are his fellow workers, Ephesians says.) He is not looking to fire anyone, but to promote them. So why would He stop coaching me till I’m learned how to do what He wants me to do?

God is a better boss than any mere mortal, because He doesn’t need you to make His company run, He just just needs you to fill one spot in it.  No pressure.

No pressure. That’s a thing I’ve been thinking about quite a bit.

Well, talking helps.

Until next time–Natasha.

Bouncing back.

A little update on my personal life. I have started working, yessiree, I have found a job at a department store.

Otherwise known as (ominous drum roll) …retail.

I ask every single person who’s worked retail to forgive me for thinking it was simple and easy.

Two days, I’ve done it for two days, for a four hour shift, and I already know this is going to be hard.

And I’m doing seasonal. So it’s about to get really crazy.

I’m  a young person, but I was sore after putting stuff on shelves for a couple hours. My hat would be off to anyone who does that all day long.

Or to those who work (gulp) harder jobs for a even longer.

I guess necessity is the mother of stamina. Even though I have voluntarily done hard work, needing a paycheck really makes you stick to it. Even when you feel cruddy, as I have been. I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here. I bet all of you guys have already had this experience.

The one thing I can’t claim to have superior understanding of is having a job. This is my third, but my first set up like a regular position that most people would even think of as a job.

Though I maintain that dealing with parents and children every week is just as challenging in it’s own way. My babysitting position was at least as complicated as retail, even if it was less physically demanding (in some ways.)

Anyway, so this is all pretty new.

I don’t even know if I’m good at it yet, and neither do my bosses. Two days doesn’t tell you that. But I’m not terrible, so there’s that consolation.

By the by, if i sound pessimistic, that’s just my sarcastic sense of humor. I’m actually not a pessimist. I try not to be.

I’m wavering between hoping I’ll exceed all expectations, and feeling certain I’ll blow them.

Maybe you guys are in a place like that right now. Or you have been, certainly, in the past.

I’ve had to except that while academically I soar, when it comes to just plain work, I have to learn with as much trouble as anyone.

I may be a smart worker, but that doesn’t mean I automatically know how everything should be done, or even how I can do it. I didn’t learn to ride a back faster than the average person, I’m not learning how to drive any faster, I don’t have exceptional sports skills.

I actually have a terrible time opening a combination lock because I never went to a high school that used one.

If you’re also a person who tends to be really good at a lot of things, and just average in others, you can probably relate. There is usually a balance.

every now and then we hear about those Leonardo Da Vinci and Thomas Jefferson types who are all around good at pretty much everything. (Not fair.) But the rest of us tend to fall into one of three broad groups:

Academic. Physical. Or Relational (being a people person).

I wish I was a better people person, or that I had a natural aptitude for being fit. But I’m a mix, just like most people.

I am lucky enough to have co workers who were nice enough to help me out, and to have been involved in sports only with a positive team.

But maybe you don’t have such positivity around you, and if so, I’d just like this post to encourage you to keep improving and not beat yourself up for making (let’s be honest) dumb mistakes. We all make them.

It’s not because we’re dumb (hopefully.)

My theory is, sensible people make dumb mistakes simply because when you learn something new, you cannot take it all in at once and retain it. The dumb mistakes happen when something slips your mind. Like when you can’t remember that one word that would you perfectly understood in a conversation.

Basically those who do not do it all right the first tie learn the most about themselves, so bounce back.

I do get frustrated and embarrassed when I do something wrong, but I can’t let myself stay there because I have to improve. Why would I do something (willingly) if I was not going to do it wholeheartedly and with effort?

We have to at least try.

At the end of the day, if you hate what you’re doing, do something else. But if it’s just hard, I’m not willing to say I’m defeated.

(The most important motivation for me is actually that I asked God for this, and now I have to do it in a way that would glorify Him, or else I’d be an ungrateful brat. To be honest, for me, that is often more important than doing a good job just because I should, which I am not sure is a virtue. But whatever works.)

That’s all for now, until next time–Natasha.

 

A lesson we should heed

Some of you bloggers out there know that awkward moment when you read the first post you ever did (next to your “about me” page,) and its been two years.

Yep, I finally reread the “My passion” post.

I was afraid it’d be really immature sounding, but aside from a few things, and grammar mistakes, I actually am pretty satisfied with it still.

It just goes to show when you set a theme for yourself, you tend to stick to it, subconsciously.

I am one of those fortunate people who can merely think that they need to wake up early tomorrow, and then they’ll do it automatically before the alarm goes off. (I hate being woken by an alarm, so I wake up naturally as a subconscious defense, in my opinion.)

I think a blog theme is kind of like that. Even while yo’re unaware of it, your thoughts are veering in that direction.

I do think it was a smart decision to let go of my today’s truth: ending. It was kind of corny.

Anyway, that’s all in retrospect.

I am just glad that I have no regrets aobut starting this blog after two years and a quarter.

How many things do we start in life and then wish we hadn’t? or we wish we waited longer?

I could name a few off the top of my head.

I can’t write long today because I have to get to the DMV and retake the Written test. Fun I know.

But I really think five years from now I’m going to be glad it took me so many tries to get something as simple as a Driver’s License. It’ll be such an encouragement to my children to hear that their mom flunked something that many times. (I’ll probably be that mom who had all those impressive sounding accomplishments to tell about, but if I’m wise, I’ll make sure to tell them about my failures too.)

I can’t tell you how much better it made me feel to know other adults I know failed the first time…not the second and third I grant you, though my Grandma knew someone once who failed over and over again because of some dumb equipment on the test.

Anyway, like I said, I have to go soon. But those are my thoughts for the day. Trial and Error is my motto at this point.

And parents, please tell your kids the things you used to suck at and got better, it’s super inspirational.

Kids, ask your parents. It’s very enlightening.

And I just have to say the cliche:

“If at first you don’t succeed, blame modern technology–I mean, try, try again.

Tis a lesson we should heed, try, try again.”

–Natasha.

How to have a super relationship-4

I hope I am not wearying anyone of this topic, I could probably go on about it for hours.

But I promise this is the last installment.

This last thing I want to look at about the two couples in question is what gives each of them the foundation they have/

I’ll start with Batman and Wonder Woman this time because they have the more common kind of relationship.

What attracted these two to each other?

Despite the flaws I’ve covered in the previous three posts, we can all agree both these superheroes are good people. we don’t hear much on Wonder Woman’ side, but we do hear Batman once explain some of his reasons for liking her. She’d a remarkable woman, he says; she’s a devoted friend, she’s…standing right behind him, isn’t she?

Awkward.

But there we have it, she’s loyal and devoted to her relationships. Just the opposite of him in some ways, and opposites attract.

But like also attracts like. They are both selfless when it comes to saving other people. they both care about the good of mankind, and they both enjoy being in the League.

This is where most relationships start from. Two people meet and find thy like the same things and so they spend time together  and eventually it may turn romantic. OR it may not. But I always found there to be plenty of chemistry between Bruce and Diana.

They both esteem each other. Just like most healthy couples at least start off as seeing only good in the other person.

So why is Batman afraid to move forward? Because of trust.

This is where we see that trust cannot really be built just on another person’s merits. You could be mother Teresa levels of kind and unselfish, and someone might refuse to really trust you because you are still human and they don’t trust people.

I have seen this in my own life and the people around me. Trust is earned but it is also a choice.

And the choice must be made even when we allow for the other person sometimes letting us down. Trusting human beings is in essence saying “I know you aren’t perfect, but I know you well enough to know you’ll be as good as you can be, so I will trust you because I trust you overall character, and not just by your individual actions.”

Clearly people sometimes trust the wrong person because of this, that’s where they mistake the overall character to be better than it is.

However, I submit to you that the obstacle in Batman’s case is different.

He doesn’t trust anyone (as superman fondly admits in episode one.) This is not their fault. It is because he has unresolved issues in his life.

Ladies and gents, you will not have a healthy relationship for long if you do not resolve your issues either before entering it, or at some point early on. (I do not mean you cannot fix it later, but it is better to do it sooner.)

The problem here is that Wonder Woman wants to move forward before either of them have really faced their deep issues with themselves and the world. She has made some steps forward in t he course of being in the League, but he has made baby steps, or none at all in some areas.

Ladies especially may want to do this. But plenty of men will do it to. Only they fear commitment because they know they aren’t ready and so the relationship often ends after appearing to be getting serious.

But is Batman right to use issues as an excuse not to be together?

Let’s return to Scott and Barda:

The important thing about both of them, and the path I admire Kirby for taking, is that both their journey’s start apart from each other.

In the Fourth world, people who still have a shred of conscience and self awareness are referred to as having the Divine Spark. We know Scott has it from the get go, but what is less obvious is that Barda had it too.

Barda’s journey to escaping Apokalips actually began with Auralie, the weakest of the girls in her force, but one she had a particular fondness for that she never showed to any of the others. Barda disobeyed the laws of Apokalips while trying to protect Auralie and was ready to disobey them again when she found out she had been tortured to death. That marked the first moment when she and Scott actually had one mind, and thought hey were not a team yet, they stopped being suspicious of each other.

Scott’s journey began with Himon, the e one free mind on Apokalips.

more importantly still, Scott went to Earth without Barda and continued learning about freedom and goodness until she arrived. Barda in tur mad her choice to complete her training, which came in handy later, and then broke free herself of its grip.

Barda began to hate the system because of her friend, not because of Scott. Though he was the reason she continued to move forward.

These two are not independent of each other, but the y are not codependent on each other either. Barda did not need Scott to leave Apokalips, and he did not need her. They only come together after both making several independent decisions.

My point here is to show that Barda and Scott both work to become the person that is right for each other, before they even know they’ll be together. Barda makes sure to please Scott even before she thinks of them as a couple, because she esteems him. Scott tries to keep Barda healthy and happy even just as his friend because he is grateful to her.

If they had not been committed to doing what they thought right before hand, they could not have suited each other so well.

To be honest, the principle of “Become the person who the person you want is looking for” is one I have yet to hear talked about outside of Church, but it applies just as much to people who are not religious as to people who are.

Like attracts like. Sluts attract whores, criminals attract criminals, nutjobs attract other nutjobs. And good people attract each other.

Very rarely will any of us be Scott and Barda in every way when we meet out spouse, but we can at least be them in this way. It’s not really about getting someone to fall in love with you. It’s about the kind of person you are.

Resolve your issues now, and when you meet the one for you, you’ll have a super good relationship on your side, and not a super dysfunctional one.

But one more thing:

I still ship Wonder Woman and Batman for this reason; broken, messed up people are the only people you’re ever going to meet. Though they may be very healthy, they will always have some weak points.

And we cannot let that stop us from loving deeply and trusting other people, because we share this earth with them, and we need each other.

I would tell Batman he needs to try, and I would tell Wonder Woman she needs to be humble about letting him work his way forward, and always be striving to be a better person herself.

But what I would tell all of you is that it is better still if you have a perfect God in you life who can never fail you. Because then, as the saying goes, you can let man be man, if you let God be God.

(And by the way, Barda and Scott have an equivalent of that known as the Source.)

All right, I’m finally done with this, until next time–Natasha.

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How to have a super relationship-3

Part three here we come:

So, I covered the foundation, the way they handle each other’s values, and disagreements. I didn’t exhaust any one of these subjects by any means, but I touched on them.

Now we come to the worst part: Fighting.

Fights are not the same as disagreements. Disagreements can be unemotional, but fights, for the purpose of this post, will be classified as the times we actually hurt each other deeply.

Barda and Scott have only one real fight on record, as I mentioned in the previous post. From what I understand, they split after Barda complains that Scott is ignoring her needs because he is so caught up in what he does, even when it’s a good thing, that her feelings are put on the back burner.

At first I discredited this. How could someone so unselfish as Barda complain about this?

But then I realized, with a little help from my sister, that it is actually a pretty rational fight to expect of them.

Barda and Scott both have traumatic backgrounds in which they were never taught that they deserve any love. (Note the word deserve.) Both of them believed that for a long time.

For the first few years of their marriage, I’d venture to say, they didn’t have a problem because both of them believe the other to be worthy of love and preference more than themselves, they would pour into each other so much that they would never stop to ask if they deserved more.

But… I could easily see Scott, who is always the absent minded professor type at the best of times, getting caught up in helping other people. (I think maybe it was even with the Justice League) and thinking that his wife would be fine. She’d never made demands on him before. (How many men get caught in this trap?)

Meanwhile, Barda suddenly finds he’s not home, or not paying her much attention when he is, and since she has few other interests to occupy her time, she starts to resent that.

You can imagine the rest as easily as I can.

So they separate for awhile though I don’t think they ever think of divorce. There’s no two people more suited for each other. They could never find anyone else just like the other person.

I imagine they reunited after both realizing that they are better off with each other if only for a few minutes a day, than apart forever.

AS far as I know, they have no further problems beyond small disagreements that are bound to happen and are forgotten the next day.

The important thing about this story is to ask what changed? You probably got my hint. They started thinking about what they deserved. In other words, Pride.

Normally you would not find more humble people that Scott and Barda. They are willing to give everyone a fair chance, to take in people they know have emoitonal issues and try to help them, and to bear with each other’s own weaknesses.

Barda is convinced Scott is the better person, but I think he considers her to be the most loyal of the two.

So what could have caused them to change? Simple, they came to expect one thing, and when they didn’t have it, they felt threatened and started to demand it.

I have a feeling Scott was probably surprised when his beloved bride started resenting wheat she’d always supported in the past.

There’s another issue too, Barda started trying to be a regular housewife before that time. She’s not so unsuited to it, but to someone like her, staying at home keeping house has to sting when her husband is out doing what she used to do all the time.

No one’s making her stay at home, she put limits on herself.

That’s where we find trouble so often. We decided how far we can go and no further, then we blame our spouse or our other family for our unhappiness.

Bard and Scott work it out in the end because they have true love and common sense on their side. But our other couple suffers from almost the same problem.

Wonder Woman is a Princess, as Batman points out to her, and he is a rich kid with many issues. Though his excuse is lame, his point is not necessarily without merit.

These two are not ready for emoitonal intimacy.

I think the ladies will all agree with me when I say Wonder Woman would be in for some shocks if she were to get close to any man, let alone Batman.

She’s from an all female island, and she has guy friends, but she doesn’t really get why men are they way they are sometimes she complains about it.

I relate becuase I am typically surrounded by women myself and I don’t claim to really get men. I know that’s an obstacle I have to overcome, but she is in blissfu lignorance of that fact.

Batman onthe other hand is the DArk Knight for a reason. He has his allegiance (Gotham) and he prowls around on his metal steed looking for anyone in distress.

I want you to try to picture these two sharing their turf.

If you can’t laugh at that, you’ve probably never watched either of t hem in action.

Oh my gosh, what a nightmare. Batman’s worst nightmare in fact.

I think men often overlook this when they get married or get into a serious dating relationship. Women want to be a part of your whole life. They want to feel like you value their company in whatever you do.

Men tend to want to separate their lives into categories. Work. Batmanning it. Home.

I will not say either is entirely wrong. Standing alone is necessary, so is getting help.

Batman would probably feel like his criminals and his city are his personal property, and the guys in the League, or the other girls, would never dream of swinging around Gotham without his consent (like Batgirl.) But Wonder Woman would naturally expect to be able to help him out.

I know that was speculation, but there was plenty of evidence for it on the show. Often Batman will hold her back from interfering in a situation where he feels like it’s someone’s personal call. He also did it with Robin on the Animated Batman Show. Batman believe you’ve got to stand on your own sometimes, and that makes perfect sense.

Diana probably never fought a single battle without a whole crowd watching, ready to step in if something went totally wrong. She might understand giving someone breathing room, but utterly leaving them to themselves, she’d probably find that a bit hard. Though she’s been known to take on problems single handedly, she tends to do that from a belief that she is totally over-capable of beating them.

Scott and Barda had perfect teamwork because they never made any bones about dong things together, unless there was a good reason to split, then they allowed it without making a fuss. The one exception being what I mentioned above.

Pride. It gets us every time. If there’s one thing Batman and Wonder Woman both have in abundance, it’s pride.

This may have made it sound like I don’t ship these two at all, or like I expect people to e perfect. But I don’t. I’ll get to that in part for.

Au revoir–Natasha.

How to have a super relationship-2

Continueing on from where I left off…

So, our two power couples are a lot alike and very different.

One couple is operating out of a place of mutual trust and admiration, the other out of a place of mutual attraction but no commitment.

I don’t think I really need to say which of these is more common to us.

Scott and Barda actually have the most functional relationship of any supers I know.

I’m going to highlight a few instances that show more differences between the two and also some examples we could do well to heed.

First of all, when Scott and Barda are reunited, Scott is right in the middle of a battle with this spirit-demon thing that causes panic and hallucinations in mortals. Scott is protected against falling for it, but the demon, Bedlam, is determined to have him killed through the panic. Scott ad to figure out how to escape without hurting the people who are only temporarily out of their minds.

Barda shows up prepared to kick the crud out of all and any who are threatening Scott, and Scott greets her only by warning her not to interfere because he promised to have no help in this.

Now, I know if I was received that way after crossing galaxies to fight some demon creature with a sick mind, I’d be kind of put out if that was my hello.

But Barda is totally calm. And later when Bedlam accuses Scott of using her help, she says outright “I would risk my life for Scott, but I would never make him go back on his word.”

If you can not see how romantic that is, you need help. If a man were to say that to me I would be like “Oh yeah, you are awesome!”

This is the first principle I want to bring up: In a healthy relationship, the other person will not only respect your values, but they will support them even when it hurts them to do so. They will stick up for you.

I’ll tell you guys right now, if I met a couple who believed entirely the opposite of me, I would still respect them more if they stood up for each other out of loyalty and honor then if they caved under pressure and agreed with me.

How do our other subjects handle this?

I think one of the most notable examples was in Maid of Honor. To Batman’s credit, he does not totally disregard Wonder Woman’s perspective.

Both of them have instincts about the villain and the political situation of the plot, and both of them end up being mostly right. But Diana nearly costs them the mission when she recklessly crashed Audrey’s wedding without waiting to hear Batman’s plan. batman doesn’t think the less of her, but it’s important to observe that they don’t solve anything till they start working together as a unit and not just as two concerned parties.

See, even if two people in a relationship are both right, it doesn’t do any good if they cant work together. That’s what makes the real bond between them. Diana makes a classic beginner’s mistake of thinking she can handle it on her own. But her passion clouds her judgement and almost gets her killed and loses her friendship with Audrey. Batman’s cooler headed approach works out better.

But in all fairness, he was wrong in suspecting Audrey and her father and Diana set him straight on that. SO when they come together at the end, you can see they’ve made progress and whenever the two team up after that there’s a certain understanding between them that doesn’t exist between the other members.

Onto another example: Disagreements.

I have yet to read any real disagreement between Scott and Barda, I’ve heard that they have one really bad fight during the course of the comics, and I’ll deal with that later. For now I’ll talk about how they resolve their different points of view.

there are multiple times when Scott prefers to settle things peaceable and through reason or through cunning, while Barda prefers to just crush the problem with her mega-rod.

I would say at least 50-60% of the time, Scott’s way is what prevails. After Barda arrives he establishes his role as the leader of the house by right of arriving first (which is fair, he knows more about Earth than her) and tells her that they will all act as friends. “The strong don’t rule here.” Barda may not see the sense of this, but she accepts it out of respect for him. She never actually tries to harm Oberon or any of Scott’s “Guests” again.

Barda could be the poster girl for feminism, a thing which if often joked about in the comics itself, but she chooses to let Scott lead most of the time because she trusts his judgment. (Remember, mutual trust is what their relationship is built on.)

But, sometimes it goes the other way.

When the people Granny Goodness sends after them start attacking more and more often, Barda does not hesitate to physically drive them off. When she and Scott return to Apokalips, Scott wants to do things his way, but Barda decides there’s been enough of that. Scott lets her have free reign when he sees she’s determined.

This is important, Scott is not looking to tame her.

There is a difference between tempering you’re love interest and taming them. We all need tempering, we all need more control over some areas and more sharpness in others. But true love will celebrate the strengths of the beloved, and when it is right, allow them to go full throttle with them.

Scott enjoys Barda’s toughness, and that it=s what makes it so darn irresistible to love these two. Even before they are romantic, they enjoy each other’s personalities and character’s and learn to respect them.

On the other hand, our other couple does things a bit different.

I would not dump on them just to prove a point. Wonder Womana nd BAtman both enjoy each other too. But that happens to them is that because of that trust thing, they hit a wall.

Batman and Wonder Woman often take two different approaches, and when they disagree they don’t spend time trying to understand the other. Nor do they submit to the other even when it would be wisest to just pick a way and stick to it.

When they do argue, which is only once in my memory, they both push for their own way. Batman does this by blocking out everything but his own reasoning and laying that down in a very insensitive manner. (Guys, you know you do this. It’s ok, girls do it too.) Wonder Woman does it by not really hearing what’s behind his words, or if so she does not speak to it, but just keeps pressing for her own way.

These two deeply care about each other but nether knows how to express it in the best way to the other. The real problem is that Batman at least is determined not to try. Again, Wonder Woman is less at fault for being willing to go there.

Okay, wow, that took a lot longer than I expected. I hope you’re still interested because there’s more to go into in part three.

–Natasha.