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Kansas City MO 64131

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THANKFUL FRIDAY

Cindy Maddera

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For many people, this was the first full week back to work since before Christmas. On Wednesday, when my department went down to the cafeteria for tea, one colleague said “Man, working more than two days a week is a killer.” We all laughed and nodded our heads in agreement. I dived into the week as if I had not had any time off. Everything was back to routine with Tuesday night therapy, teaching Wednesday night, back to the elliptical and the stationary bike and back on a more consistent yoga practice. I will admit it’s been very much like jumping into a cold swimming pool.

When I was a kid, I’d be the first one into the pool and the last one out. As soon as there was just the tiniest glimpse of Spring, I would set in on my dad to get the swimming pool open. The swimming pool had a solar blanket that basically looked like a giant sheet of bubble wrap and was supposed to use the sun to heat the pool. It was not an efficient water heater, but my argument was that Dad could at least pull the winter cover off the pool and replace it with the solar blanket. The same could be said for the end of the season too. I would make Dad hold off winterizing the pool for as long as possible. I’m surprised he didn’t winterize the pool while I was still swimming around in it. My lips and fingertips would be blue, my teeth chattering, but I would insist that I was not cold. The shock of first entering the water always wore off and my body got used to the temperature. Also, my love of swimming and being in the water outweighed everything else.

I don’t do much swimming these days. Mostly because nine out ten times after visiting a public swimming pool, I come down with a sinus infection, stomach bug, a UTI or a skin rash from too much chlorine. I still love being in the water though and could spend hours splashing around in a lagoon. I am far from as tolerant of cold temperatures now that I am a grown up, but I feel like those childhood days was good training for my future. There have been several times when I’ve been shoved into the cold waters of life. I had a choice. I could drown or I could get out of the water. Even though sometimes the water was colder and almost more unbearable than other times, I stayed. I let myself get used to the water. I let myself get used to whatever the new normal ends up being.

I never eased into the pool. I always cannonballed my way into the water. I jumped in every time knowing full well that the temperature of the water was going to take my breath away.

We brave bee stings and all. We don’t dive, we cannonball. And we splash our eyes full of chemicals just so there’s none left for little girls.

We never know what lessons from our childhoods are going to prepare us for life.

VALUABLE LESSONS

Cindy Maddera

This week I have learned valuable lessons from trying to speak rationally to a person who doesn't want to be spoken to rationally. They've come for a fight and expect nothing else. They want to sling arrows. So I have let them sling their arrows. I've let them call me a cunt and a condescending bitch. I've let them tell me that I am 'loathed'. I am sure they feel justified in their anger and their feelings are valid feelings. Whether you are mad, sad or happy, feelings are valid. It is how you react to those feelings that truly matters. I choose to react differently than some. That's my choice. I don't have room in my life for hatefulness. My reaction is to step away and remove it from my life. 

I recognize also, that I have made mistakes. Butting in to get others to stop butting in is like two wrongs that do not make a right. If I hadn't done that, I wouldn't have unleashed this person's true feelings about me. I don't know if that's better or worse, but I do recognize my part in all of it. That's a hard lesson. Like sticking your hand in the beehive for a honey comb and expecting to not get stung. It is hard to admit that I should have never reached out in the first place. I didn't pause to consider the consequences or that it would inspire and incite so much vileness. I just don't think of those things. I just don't expect people to behave so hatefully. That is another fault, expecting others to behave the way you would behave. That's not fair to the other person particularly when they are reacting in a way they chose for themselves. My choice is not better than their's. Just different. I apologize for inciting.

All of this sounds vague and cryptic, I know. It's just that writing all of it down is therapeutic and helps me. I know only to share the bare minimum out of respect. Writing it all down takes it out of the space in my head where can clog things up. It helps me remove the things that do not serve me out the way so that I can replace it with things that do.