Factory Reset

Hi friends. There’s a reason for this heat wave we are experiencing; miracles happen and I’m finally dusting off and reviving my old blog. 🙂 This is because I’ve finally taken the time to get it to work properly again, feel in the mood to write, and actually have something to say. I’m also putting it down in writing so I can be accountable.

It’s a little late for New Year’s resolutions, but I don’t make those anyway. I’m usually good at sticking to commitments, but New Year’s Resolutions are some that I never stick to. I’ve got a New Year’s Factory Reset. I started 2021 off contracting COVID, and so I was too busy fighting for my life and worrying about my folks to care about anything else. But All good in Traceland now. 🙂 Except for my mind that needs a factory reset.

So here goes:

I’ve done some thinking about my life, yesterday, today and a confused tomorrow. When I compare how I am today to a few years back I realize how much I’ve drawn into my own shell and isolated myself. I think there could be two reasons:

Part of it has to do with the isolating effects of struggling with hearing loss. It’s easier to withdraw into yourself than to struggle to hear and to make yourself heard. Helen Keller said that when you lose your sight you lose touch with things, but when you lose your hearing you lose touch with people. That is really how it is.

The other reason I withdraw is due to my inability to be understood. After my dad died I felt like my world was ripped out from under me – I lost one of the handful of people who truly gets me. Whether I was right or wrong, he heard what I say, without pre-interpreting my meaning. I get so frustrated with the fact that no-one truly listens to me, but now I’m starting to wonder if the fault doesn’t lie with me. Perhaps I’m not assertive enough; or perhaps people smell the scent of someone who doesn’t feel worthy, and good enough to say anything that counts. Sometimes I try so hard to be heard that I find myself hoot-hooting at all the wrong places. I also tend to want to be right all the time; I can’t always be right 100% of the time, but I can’t always be wrong 100% of the time either. Somewhere there must be something of value that I can bring. Or maybe it’s none of that; maybe we’ve all become so busy that none of us have time to listen, and we’re trying to interpret each other’s words so we can get to the point sooner. Who knows? But with all the effort of trying to make myself understood, it’s easier to pull back. Problem is: I like talking.

But since I’ve become a leader at DeafBlind SA, I’ve decided that 2021 will be a year of change. It’s time to break down the shell and shine. Leaders are not timid back-seat drivers. Time for a factory reset. Here goes:

Reset Switch 1: I’m done living my life as an apology. I must learn to celebrate the good, accept that my faults are part of what makes me me, and just be myself. I can work on improving on my faults, but I don’t have to bash myself for them. I’ve been so afraid of possibly hurting or offending someone that I’ve suppressed my own individuality and lost touch with my own feelings, because maybe somewhere in my inferiority complex system, I’ve conditioned myself to believe that other people matter more than I do. Feelings are never meant to be bottled up and I’m slowly turning the lid and letting the gas come out. I know I’m not very balanced – I’m either too soft and I let people walk over me, or I’m extremely hard, bash my way forward with my hooter mouth, say what I want to say, and unintentionally hurt those I care about. At the moment I’m feeling fed-up, and I’m in hard mode; so I know I’ll probably make unintentional mess-ups that I will have to apologize for. I will apologize for my mistakes – not for being me. I am what I am – no excuses provided, no permission required.

Reset Switch 2: I’m going to live like hell – and do it my way. I quit my job 4 or 5 years ago at Blind SA and moved to the coast to be with my family. That was the most foolish thing I’ve ever done in my life, but I don’t regret it one bit. But I’m learning that finding a steady job is harder than threading a needle with your toes. So on the days where I feel like an extra burden, I’ve often Told God that He took the wrong person home. I should’ve gone in my Dad’s place. But in the beginning of the year when I got sick I went into a panic. So many people told me that because COVID seems to hit fat people harder, and because of my breathing issues, I won’t survive it. So my mind played tricks on me and I stressed, but I also realized how much I really want to live. And I fought like hell; I even came up with a ridiculous song that still makes me feel good when I sing it. I sat on the bed, so weak I could hardly bounce, and started singing “I ain’t going down, oonk, oonk, oonk …” Ridiculous! I can’t stop thanking God for bringing us through this. Anyway, I’m digressing I guess. Living like hell and doing it my way – this is what I plan to do: I need to stop taking on a thousand little streams that go nowhere. It’s starting to make me feel like I’m burning myself out, and there is no point to it. So I’m cutting back and focusing on the things I’m passionate about: My God, working towards getting some independence back (in other words doing something that brings in a steady income), helping do my bit to improve the lives of Deafblind and blind people, my knitting and music. If anything does not line up with those core things, I must learn to say no. Yeah, right – like that’s ever going to happen. 🙂

Part of my plan to force myself to open up and get out of my shell is … Hmm, this post is faaaarrr too long; I’ll tell you tomorrow. But I think it’s going to be awesome. When I eventually stop procrastinating and do it. See you tomorrow. 🙂

#AToZChallenge – Fitness

Meet the chick that hates the gym. That’s me. In my never-ending battle with my bulges (definitely plural), exercise feels worse than diet.

But not anymore. Well, I still hate the gym, but I’ve found some ways to enjoy exercise.

I used to do Pilates, and it made me feel really good at myself, especially when I realized I’m more supple than I thought was possible.

I’ve recently started doing water aerobics, and I’m loving that too.

So I guess it’s helping me realize what an amazing thing my body is, making me feel good about myself, and helping shape my thinking as well as my muscles. Maybe a trimmer and slimmer me is not such an impossible feat after all. 🙂

Excitement

Excitement is what I feel more and more each day. That’s because yours truly is going on a holiday.

What makes it even more exciting is that it is to a place I’ve never been before.

The other thing I’m looking forward to about my holiday is the friends I’ll meet, and the music that will be made. OK, let’s be a bit more specific about the music part.

So music is a very big part of blindy culture, and when a bunch of us get together the sound that comes out of that I reckon is close to angelic.

The last time I went on holiday was not long before my dad passed away. I never thought I would smile again after he died, but now I’m shaking up my feathers and getting ready for good times. 🙂

#AToZChallenge – Dreams

There is a saying that sticks with me and I can’t remember who said it originally. I also can’t remember the proper wording, but here goes. The successful man is the one who dreams while he is awake.

To me it talks of making your dreams happen. For this recipe to work, you need some good planning and goal-setting skills – there-in lies the challenge for me. Setting goals and sticking to them is not always my strong suit.

But every journey starts the day you take your first step. My ex-landlady always had a motto: “How do you eat an elephant? Bit by bit.” If you take on the challenge of making your dreams come true, one step at a time is maybe a good place to start.

And then another important thing is” Don’t give up!

Can you think of others?

#AToZChallenge – Colours

As a blind person who has been that way since birth, I’ve often been asked how I perceive colours since I’ve never seen them before.

I have no idea what colours look like, but I’ve built my own perceptions based on other people’s descriptions.

For instance, I picture blue as cold and I associate it with the clear blue water of a mountain pool, or the ocean. And trust me, if you’ve ever swam in a mountain pool before, you’ll know that it is breath-robbingly whole-body-numbingly cold.

I associate yellow with brightness, warmth and sunlight. For that reason it’s also my favourite colour. I’ve also been told it looks good on me.

Colour-matching when I get dressed: I usually go the safe route. I try to buy colours that can go with anything. And whenever in doubt: Wear my black pants. That way, I know I’m presentable. 🙂

There are also other methods that you can use to colour-code your clothing. Many blind people use differently shaped buttons that you sew on somewhere on the inside of your clothes. For example: Squares are black, hearts are blue, etc. So where there is a will, there is a way.

A little myth about blindness is that we only see black. I often hear this one. I guess it is a way that sighted people try to identify what it is like to be blind. But I do actually not see black all the time – although I couldn’t tell you what it is that I see. I have seen total black before on a really dark night, but what I see is not totally black.

Maybe it’s because I have a little bit of perception of light and dark. So there’s something to wrap and scratch your brain about.

Binge-Blogger

Binge-blogger – that’s me.

I remember with fondness a friend I met on a chat site that used to nag and nag me to write. I think I need another friend like that. He inspired me and made me enjoy writing, even though at times I felt I wanted to use my fly-swatter on him.

My problem: I write only when I get the inspiration. And then sometimes when I do get the inspiration, I don’t think people want to read the topic of my choice so into the dustbin goes my words.

I want to be a better blogger. The spirit is willing, but the butt needs to be kicked into action.

#AToZChallenge – Anything

The niche my blog fits in – anything. I write about anything that tickles me at the time. Or am I too lazy to pick a theme?

I don’t know if I am lazy or not, but I’ve often hated that pesky word “Anything”, although I use it quite conveniently.

For instance, picture this: We’re at a party, and I have to make some music. So my trusty instrument gets whipped out, and I am put on the spot. “Play something for us please.” “What should I play?” “Anything.” At that point my brain goes stupid and I can’t think of a single thing to play. My opinion: “anything” is a brain freezer. Whenever he’s in the room, all decision-making flies out the window.

Another time, we had a guy living with us. He asked my brother and I to make him a cup of coffee. “How many sugars,” I asked him. “I don’t mind. Anything,” he replied. My brother sighed in frustration, complaining that he does that every time. We then decided to put sixteen teaspoons of sugar in his coffee. We just added and added until we got tired. Well, let’s just say that: After that we got very specific instructions about how the coffee should be made.

Today I’m turfing “anything” for something. I’m doing something – I’m deciding:

To pick up my socks and blog!

To follow the challenge I signed up for even though I’m a week late. 🙂

Someone Worth Dying For

After my little bit of self-discovery I wrote about in my previous post, I decided to look for God. I decided to separate myself from all the things I enjoy doing – playing games, watching cricket, et cetera until I finally understand how God sees my worth, not just hearing it and feeling good when I hear it, but engraving it in my heart. I said I won’t let go until He teaches me. And he did – He kind of turned Trasles on her head.

So I found this amazing book on godly confidence – confidence that God made you the way He did for a reason, that you are where He wants you, and that you are loved just the way you are. The foundation of this confidence is humility and total dependence on God. Anyway, it’s worth a read if you’ve got insecurity issues like me. The book: You Aren’t Worthless – Unlock the Truth to Godly Confidence by Christin N Spencer. It’s not a self-help book, but it helps paint a picture of how precious we are in our Maker’s sight.

The chapter that got to me was the one about the love that defines us – the most epic love story ever told. It’s a story of a Prince that put everything on the line for me (and you), not knowing if I would even want it, without knowing if I’d ever love Him back. Like one of those cartoon characters that does something outrageously radical to save the one he loves. And you know what the scary bit is? I’ve been a Christian for over 20 odd years, and heard this how many times. But I guess in the dark spaces of my mind where I hide the thoughts I don’t want even God to see, I didn’t believe I was someone worth dying for. But it’s like in that moment God spoke me a love-letter and the message was fresh and new, dropping into my heart. In that moment I fell in love with Jesus a second time – harder than the first time.

And though I’ve still got a long way to go to to being confident in God’s reason for making me the way He made me, the fact that I am precious is finally sinking in. I don’t have to understand why I am the way I am; I just have to trust God and believe. He is not a man that lies. Some days believing this is harder than other days, especially when I’m so clumsy and make my epic mess-ups, but it’s a conscious effort I make every day – watching my thoughts and believing what He says of me.

Here’s a song that I listen to a lot that helps me:

I am finally starting to get it – I am someone worth dying for.

Woman of Worth

At the church I belong to, a couple of us had it on our heart to get a women’s conference going which would happen on Women’s Day, the 9th of August.

The theme that we came up with, was “Women of Worth”. It already spoke to me, because I do struggle with feelings of worthlessness – not being good enough, beautiful enough, perfect enough.

So when praying about the general point of this conference, we had 4 topics for speakers to use:

As a woman of worth I am:
• Known by name;
• Beautiful;
• Valuable; and
• Created as beloved with Christ in me.

I was going to do one of the talks, and we let the other speakers pick their topics. I was quietly laughing to myself, saying: “Just imagine I end up with the beautiful topic.” Which is exactly what happened.

Putting this talk together was a challenge, and when I presented it, it felt like God was ministering to me more than anyone else in the room.

Anyway, a couple of months down the line, we were doing the R12 programme in our church, and one of the sessions was about not thinking more (or less) highly of yourself than you should. I couldn’t be at that particular session, but when I got home, I read the devotional I got, and got a fat fright. God challenged me and reminded me about my little talk on Women’s Day, and asked me when I am planning to do something about my low self-esteem? (By the way, I hate that word; I might tell you why some time.) In my mind’s eye, I had a picture of me standing in the middle of a cloudburst. The rain was coming down in torrents, but I was so heavily insulated by my water-proof, soundproof, smell-proof raincoat that I didn’t even know it was raining. God showed me that the rain was all the love that gets showered on me every day by God and by people who love me, and the rain coat is the distorted picture of my own worth that I have built up over the years.

So I realized that day that yes, it feels really great to hear that I am loved, made for a purpose, known by name, and all the good stuff. But the challenge for me: How can I get it to stick and drop from my ears to my heart?

But wait: Have I gotten morbid? No, this is a good story. You’ll just have to wait for the next instalment to see if I’m telling the truth or not. 🙂

The Bug that Bit Me

Hey Everybody

Everytime I write I seem to write about taking up writing again. Why’s that?

Anyway, I’ve been bitten by the writing bug, and I have some stuff in me that wants to come out. So you might see a little Trasles magic on your screen in future. So let’s see. 🙂

Since the last time my droopy-eyed blog had some pen love, quite a bit has happened. I’ve put my life coach stuff on hold, since I struggle to believe some of the things that are being taught to me. Seems a bit flaky to me. The only thing that has grabbed my interest and attention in this whole business is the concept of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming). Maybe some day I’ll tell you why.

On the work front, I’ve done some primary school music teaching, and that was such huge fun! I still help that school out from time to time when they prepare for choir festivals and musicals, and it’s great.

When the music teaching contract expired, I was given an amazing opportunity to start doing massage therapy and reflexology at a retirement village, and I absolutely love it. I may or may not have mentioned before that I’m a qualified reflexologist and massage therapist. I saved up and studied for it when I was still a proofreader and at that time I was very dissatisfied and frustrated with my job. Today I’m glad I did. My little business is called Rejuven8 Me.

On a personal note, my dad was diagnosed with bladder cancer, and last year he died – not of cancer, but of septicaemia. The day he died it felt like my world was ripped out from under me, and I no longer had a home to go to. I thought after that that I’d never ever play a note of music again – yet I played at his funeral, which to me was the most beautiful one I ever attended. My dad was the strongest man I know, and to me he will always be my hero.

In terms of my walk with God: It was a long road to healing, and He’s never left my side. I agree completely with Psalm 68 verse 5 that God is a father to the fatherless. He really is. But I don’t want to say too much; I’ve got a lot to tell about what’s happening in my walk with God, so I’ll save it for future posts.

Anyway, the bug has bitten. See you soon. Oh yes, and Asta has asked me if she can complete her A to Z challenge she started. Think she only got to H before we stopped blogging. Let’s see what she comes up with. 🙂