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I keep seeing all these lists about things that [insert adjective here] people do/don’t do that makes them different than the [insert antonym of previous adjective here] don’t do/do. Always late to a party and looking to fit right in with everyone else… I figured I’d better join in so you could finally understand what makes me so amazing.
1. Write Regular Posts. Bloggers with Stubby Thumbs and ADHD don’t post on a regular basis. They realize there might be such thing as too much of a good thing and prefer to keep the world wanting and waiting.
2. Finish Everything They Start. From eating dinner, to dishes, to blog posts, to remodeling projects, to high school, to sentences, to lists, to wor…
3. Except for Books. Bloggers with Stubby Thumbs and ADHD finish every book they start. Even if it is not a good book. Even if it is The Brothers Karamazov and takes two years because they were probably a little young when they started it, but because they opened the cover they are committed. Even if they are still trying to get through Leviticus.
4. Remember What Inspired Them to Begin This Post in the First Place. Bloggers with Stubby Thumbs and ADHD know there was something they thought about that they don’t do… and it made them laugh just thinking about it… and then this blog post idea was born so they could write about it and share the laughter, and they thought to themselves, “I’d better get started on it right now before I forget the idea.” Following which they immediately open a new tab, start the post, and promptly forget what they were going to write about to begin with.
5. Know When to Pack it In. Bloggers with Stubby Thumbs and ADHD have a really hard time knowing when to say when. Maybe because they have a hard time with time itself. Sometimes there’s too much of it, but more frequently there’s too little.
6. Respond to Texts and Emails in a Timely Manner. Bloggers with Stubby Thumbs and ADHD respond all the time… in their heads. In fact, we respond over and over until the response is absolutely perfect. And then we arrive at our destination and get out of the car. Or step out of the shower and get ready for the day (oh my goodness! Q-tips. That’s why I walked in the bathroom three hours ago… oops! forgot again).
7. Keep a Calendar and Make Concrete Plans. Concrete plans are difficult for bloggers with Stubby Thumbs and ADHD… because there is a better than average chance that we already committed to something at whatever time/date you are requesting. And it’s happened often enough that we prefer to remain non-committal with all planning. I have a calendar. I have three or four of them. They are mostly blank, and yet I am always busy.
9. One Thing at a Time. “Um, what did you say?” Bloggers with Stubby Thumbs and ADHD say that a lot. I’m sorry, I was probably reading a photo caption, crafting a perfect email response in my head, and reliving some major or minor event and rewriting the ending to make it more complete. I totally forgot to listen to you. Again. Last week, my boss had to repeat himself multiple times because I could not stay focused on what he was saying past his first sentence. I told him as much, and he graciously repeated himself. Again. And then again. Each time his delivery got shorter… unfortunately, so did my attention span. I told him he should be more interesting. It was a rough week.
There is a story about adversity that gets passed around from time to time. Like many other tales, it is told and retold, and always a little differently by each storyteller. I tried to research it to find where it originated so I could credit the author, but most every site I encountered credits the ever-popular, multi-talented Unknown. Amazon has a Chinese version of the story available by Li Yu Ping.
As I was making eggs the other day, the story once again came to my mind…
A young woman sighed. Life was difficult. It seemed like each time she made progress, some new problem cropped up, and she was driven two steps back. She wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting. She was tired of hurting. She was tired of struggling to make it through another day. As she explained her feelings to her grandmother, she sighed again in resignation.
Her grandmother smiled knowingly and patted the young woman’s arm. She silently filled three pots with water and set them on the stove to heat. Before long, each of the pots was boiling rapidly. The young woman watched, too worn out to speak, as her grandmother added carrots to the first pot, eggs to the second, and ground coffee beans to the third pot of boiling water. After about twenty minutes, the old woman turned off the heat, and placed the contents of each pot in three separate dishes.
She placed the carrots in front of her granddaughter, “Tell me what you see.”
“Cooked carrots,” the girl replied, wrinkling her nose.
She placed the eggs in front of her granddaughter, “And here?”
“Eggs. Hardboiled eggs.”
The old woman set the final steaming dish on the counter, “What about this?”
The young woman took a deep breath and exhaled, “Coffee.”
“Look closer. Describe the carrots to me.”
“Hot. Orange. Mushy.”
Nodding, the grandmother said, “Crack the eggs for me.”
“They are hardboiled. Just like I said.”
The woman smiled, “Now taste the coffee.”
The young woman blew on the hot liquid and smiled as she inhaled its deep aroma. She took a small sip, and looked back at her grandmother, waiting.
“Which one are you?”
The young woman was puzzled, “What do you mean?”
Her grandmother explained that each of the objects had faced the same adversity – the boiling water. And each had reacted differently.
The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to boiling water, it softened and became weak.
The egg was fragile; its thin outer shell providing protection to its liquid interior. However, after sitting in boiling water, its inside became hardened.
But the ground coffee beans were different. After being exposed to the boiling water, they had changed the water.
“So, which are you?” repeated the old woman, “Are you the carrot that seems strong, but when faced with pain and challenges, become soft and lose strength? Or are you the egg that starts with a soft and kind heart, but changes with the heat? Does your ‘shell’ look the same, but on the inside you are bitter and tough with a hardened heart? Or are you the coffee bean that changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain? When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor of the coffee bean. If you are like the bean, it is when things are at their most difficult that you get better and change the world around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, how do you react?”
The young woman carefully considered each item in front of her. She reflected on times when she had allowed the challenges in life to make her weak. She remembered quarrels and relationships which ended in a hard and bitter heart. And she thought of the times when she had risen above the trials and fears and struggles and bravely pressed forward. She recalled her strength.
She allowed a small smile to steal across her face, softening her worried expression.
This is an opinion. It is only an opinion. It’s mine. It is subject to change. It might be right. It might be wrong. But right or wrong is largely irrelevant. It’s my opinion. And it does not represent the view of anyone but me. It is the result of years of consideration, and experiences, and interactions, and many moments of confusion when what I felt internally did not align with what I comprehended externally. I am not writing it to convince those who disagree with me to change their minds, or to say they are wrong. I am writing to let those who may share my opinion know that they are not alone. Wherever you may fall on this particular topic, if you elect to comment, please be respectful of others.
Also, for those of my readers who may be under 18, this post will reference some situations for which you may not be emotionally and mentally prepared. Please consider carefully before reading.
To my homosexual friends: I want you to know, if/when you decide to get married, I won’t tolerate your marriage… I can’t. I’m sorry if that is what you want from me, but tolerance isn’t coming, and I think you should know.
I also think you should know this:
I support gay marriage. And I’m a Mormon.
Think those are tough statements to reconcile? You should try living in my head sometime. It’s pretty wild. Don’t plan on getting much sleep during your stay.
Impossible, you say? Heretical? A threat to my faith? Peril to my soul? A slippery slope? Nope. It really isn’t. I’ve made peace with myself on this one. My faith is stronger at this stage of my life than it ever has been. I feel confident that Jesus has already paid for my broken soul, for the mistakes I’ve already made, and for those I will make or am currently making (even this opinion if it turns out I’m way wrong).
So let’s get down to it, shall we?
Here’s the thing: call it “civil union” and most people are like, “Oh, okay… that’s cool. Not my bag, but whatever.” Use the “m” word, however, and suddenly everyone is all aghast like, “Whoa! Don’t you dare! God invented marriage and He is going to be massively offended and open up a serious can of wrath on you if you go messing with it.” Except that he didn’t actually invent “marriage.” Like most words, “marriage” is made up. By people. To describe things they experience. These particular people happened to speak some Anglo-French English precursor language during the 14th century (way after Adam and Eve). So, yeah, call it marriage if you’d like, and enjoy the legal and emotional benefits of committing your life to the one you love. Or you could call it pinochle. Or you can make up your own word like hofisdigglar. But I think if we are going to grant the same legal rights and privileges to two people making the same commitment to each other, then we might as well call a spade a spade and be done with it. [Or I suppose we could split hairs and have separate (but equal!) schools, facilities, and drinking fountains for the married and the unionized.]
As a Mormon, I also happen to believe this document to be inspired of God. It’s a good read. I recommend it.
Personally, I do not fully understand the life experience of others whose lives differ from mine as it pertains to the subject of gender identity and sexual orientation or any other topic really (which I believe covers every other person, living or dead). Or why some of us were born into this world one way, and others another (I theorize it has something to do with deeply personalized, unique life-experience course learning objectives). I can’t. Just as nobody else can fully understand my life experience… about gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other topic (the only exception being Jesus, of course. He totally gets it – but don’t ask me how – and I cannot wait for Him to explain it all because I know He’ll be really nice about it and not make me feel bad for not getting it immediately).
I was raised during a time when it was common to hear that homosexuality is a choice. And for a time I believed it. Weird that it was only the homosexuals that got to choose, isn’t it? I know I certainly didn’t have a choice in my sexual orientation. I was born heterosexual to a fault. It didn’t take until the delicate and dramatic years when I hit puberty to know it, either. Nope. No consideration, no confusion, no conscious thought about the topic at all, in fact. And no outside circumstance or person was going to change or influence it. I loved boys from day one of preschool (maybe prior to that; my memory is hazy about breakfast yesterday, let alone that far back). I knew long before hormones in all their glory struck my idyllic little life and propelled me onto the emotional roller coaster of my teenaged and adult years. Heck, I still remember the day my dad was compelled to sit me down to have the “birds and the bees” talk when I was about five (awkward). And that wasn’t even spurred by the now legendary Adam Wilder bum-matching scandal of 1984*. So, I really do not have the faintest idea what same sex attraction feels like. I am not homophobic; I just don’t get it; I never have. I’ve been asked out by girls before; it never disgusted me or worried me or made me question or rethink my sexual orientation. Instead, I have always politely declined and felt complimented that I was such a universally attractive individual. It has never caused me any more (or less) discomfort than turning down a date from guys I was not interested in dating.
I’ve read the verses in the scriptures pertaining to “them that defile themselves with mankind” (1 Tim 1:10). I’ve read the commandment that “Thou shalt not lie with mankind…it is an abomination” (Lev 18:22). And who could forget the classic “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly…” (Rom 1:26-27)?
And you know what? I agree. And I bet my gay friends do, too. Because I’ve seen what those scriptures look like in practice, and what a society looks like where that happens. It is ugly. It is offensive. And I have little doubt that God is repulsed by such behavior. It destroys individuals. It destroys souls. It destroys families. And it destroys societies. It makes a mockery of religion. It makes a mockery of God’s gift of life. It makes a mockery of love.
There is a practice in Afghanistan called bacha bazi. It is widespread throughout the country, and although officials downplay it and participants hide it, it continues to occur with frightening regularity. Not everyone participates; many are disgusted by it, but everyone suffers for it. It is one more thing that is tearing that society apart. If you have the stomach for it, there is a Frontline documentary called The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan, which portrays and explains it well. But Afghanistan’s experience is not limited to this extreme form of pedophilia; there is also a commonly held belief that essentially says “women are for procreation and men are for recreation.” Men marry women who bear them children, but reserve their affections for other men. Question these same men on the topic of homosexuality and they will tell you that it is a sin worthy of death. Lest you think they are condemning themselves, they are not (at least not in their own minds). Because for them, the sin of homosexuality means falling in love with another of the same sex, not in using their bodies to satisfy lustful urges. Seems a little backwards, doesn’t it? Ironically, they consider loving another of the same sex to be disgusting and worthy of condemnation and death, but sex with another of the same gender is acceptable because it lacks the emotion of love.
It is easy for me to apply such practices as those common in Afghanistan to the scriptures above which seem to describe them with accuracy. And I could see how those same practices could have plagued Sodom and Gomorra. I’ve witnessed the reality of it. I’ve seen the boys and young men who accompany local leaders everywhere they go. I’ve seen the absence of feeling toward wives and the children they bear. I’ve seen an entire society largely absent of love; it is at war with itself and on a path to ultimate ruin. There are those within the society who recognize the danger. There are those who are working hard to overcome and change the destructiveness of some cultural practices. There are many, many people who do not engage in these practices, but there are still many that do. And there are those in denial about both the practices and their destructive effect. And virtually everyone suffers one way or another. [But hey, their divorce rate is lower than ours, so families are happily intact, as God intended, and we should seek to emulate them, right?]
Having witnessed the above, it is not easy for me to apply those same scriptures to people who are seeking to commit their lives to one another. I simply can’t do it. I don’t believe for a moment that heterosexuals have a monopoly on unconditional love, nor do I believe that homosexuals have a monopoly on lust and abhorrent sexual behavior. I just don’t. Which brings me back to my support of gay marriage. I think all people are capable of love, and I can think of no better place to learn to exercise love than in a marriage and family.
There is a lot of talk about tolerance these days. It’s rapidly becoming one of my least favorite words, and may end up on the “should” list. Now, I readily admit that I use the KJV of the Bible, so the translations may be different in other editions, but my scriptures do not say “Tolerate thy neighbor, as thyself”. My version uses the word love. It’s probably just a minor distinction, and may even be a typo because my version also has sinner spelled with 3 “n”s, but the last time I checked, words mean things.
And until I get word that it’s a typo or that a correction has been released (as the spelling of sinner has been), I’m going to stick with the whole “love” thing over tolerance. I love my gay friends. And if they want to commit themselves to one another and experience the joys and pains and growth that accompany love and marriage for a lifetime, then it won’t be my vote that stands in their way.
And if loving (and marrying) another human – which also happens to result in the natural consequence of being unable to procreate and fulfill the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth – is the “worst” thing someone ever does in their lifetime… then I’m going to be impressed, try a little harder myself to do better, and leave it to Jesus to sit down and issue whatever correction is required, if it is, in fact, required.
Like I said, maybe I am wrong on this one, but my brain simply cannot put the two realities I’ve witnessed in the same category together. One so clearly driven by lust and the desire to possess and use another, and the other so clearly driven by a desire to love and take care of another. Sure, if I were to “choose” to love another of the same sex, it would be a choice… but it wouldn’t be the rational or natural choice for me because well, heterosexual little me would definitely be violating my nature. And if a child who has never reached sexual maturity knows from the beginning that they are heterosexual, then I believe another may know they are homosexual. Puberty merely complicates the matter and adds all kinds of powers and forces that can be difficult to master for anyone. It is the misuse and abuse of those powers and forces that leads to destructive outcomes (see Afghanistan).
I know what it feels like to love someone and not be married to them… but at least marriage is still possible for me (however improbable it may be). I can only imagine how devastating it would be to have no hope at all. People aren’t meant to traverse this life alone; we need each other to become our best selves.
So my homosexual friends: I want you to know, if/when you decide to get married, I won’t tolerate your marriage…
I will celebrate it, just as I know you’d celebrate mine.
*The “scandal” was actually the interruption of a perfectly innocent (if deeply flawed) scientific experiment. We were testing the hypothesis that boys’ bottoms were bigger than girls. We did not take the time establish a control group, and the sample size was far too small to yield conclusive results. We failed to take into consideration factors such as age, race, diet, height, or weight. Sadly, the results were never recorded, and it is not possible to replicate the data.
Last night was amazing. You felt it, too, didn’t you? I know you did. I could see it in your adorable, crooked pirate face as you sang. I realized, almost instantly, how perfect you and I are for one another. Any man who is confident enough to wear white shoes with black pants after Labor Day is clearly a man I can love as I also wear white shoes with black pants. Mine are running shoes with yoga pants, but it’s still all about the performance. And the performance is magnificent.
It seems a little sudden, I know, and certainly imbalanced for only one of us to recognize the specific source of the transcendent love that exists between us. I knew instantly that it was you, and while I’m certain you felt the connection, it would have been nearly impossible for you to pick my face out from the crowded sea. And so I decided to write to you, so you would know.
When you sang “She Moved Through the Fair” and mentioned how you wanted to sing it someday at your our wedding, I was touched. You see, next weekend is the Sarasota Renaissance Fair… and I have been recruiting friends to accompany me there. Coincidence? Hardly. To be honest, a wedding is just not something that was important to me, but when you expressed your dreams, it became important to me, because it is important to you. That’s just the kind of woman I am.
All the great artists and performers have relied on red-headed muses to create their most beautiful work. Here I am, ready to inspire you to new heights. I have no interest in competing for the spotlight; I am only interested in supporting you in your dreams, as I know you will support and inspire me in my goals and dreams.
Although the more I think about it, a love this perfect seems unfair, doesn’t it? Can you imagine the incredible offspring we would inevitably create? We would have multi-talented, beautiful, inspiring, magical unicorn babies. This fallen world could never truly appreciate such incredible and magnificent beauty. And perhaps the world would be better served if we found less perfect unions. Of course, I would never presume to make a decision of such magnitude without your input, my love. Let us get together in person to discuss the way forward. I’ll await your reply.
I had a life-altering experience a few months back. I cleaned out my indoor storage closet. The second sentence really does not support the first sentence very well, does it? But it’s true. Cleaning out my storage closet was a serious life-changing event for me. Plus, my closet looks fantastic now and everything is accessible.
I’m not sure this is the post to go into all the details of that redefining moment… or if there will ever be a time to go into it on TST. It happened, and the course of my life has been forever altered by the events of that week. I’m sure TST has been and will be affected by the aftershocks.
I refer to the “before” project as my Clown Closet of Doom… and I really wish now that I’d had the foresight to take pictures of the closet before it was emptied for cleaning. But who really thinks to themselves that cleaning out a closet is going to be so earth-shattering that you’ll want pictures detailing each step? The reason it is called the Clown Closet of Doom is because the room itself measures six feet by five feet and has nine foot ceilings. Quick, someone do the math and tell me what the area of the CCoD is… 270 cubic feet. Thank you, Self. 270 cubic feet. Maximum. And I didn’t use all the available space. Mostly because I couldn’t stack things that high, nor did I use all the available floor space. I would say there were a good two feet of clearance (if not three in many places), so we’ll deduct 2.5 feet off the overall height and call it good. That gives us an adjusted 195 cubic feet of storage space. 195 cubic feet… and yet, somehow, when I removed all the items from the offending closet, it took up more than 900 square feet of my condo. Like the car full of clowns at the circus, box after box after box was unloaded into my condo until it looked like this:
In the end, I donated six boxes of “stuff” to the local thrift store… and threw out (recycled) 15 empty boxes. 15. And I still managed to keep 12. Clown Closet. I’m telling you. The culling process is no joke, either. You would not believe how difficult it was to throw out my “Intensive French” notebooks from college (the first time I went). Why? I don’t know. It’s not like I am going to revisit my homework one day if I want to learn French. No, I am going to take another class and build another notebook. Or else I’m not, but apart from the times I sort boxes, I could safely say that I will probably never look in the direction of that notebook again. But convincing myself of that was not for the faint of heart… in the end, I won, and the French notebook hit the garbage pile. Math notebooks on the other hand are worth keeping. I still refer back to them… but they have a home on my bookshelf and not in the closet.
As I was cleaning out my closet, I came across a poem co-authored by the lead singer of Royal Bliss in middle school. We attended the same middle and high schools, although he was actually the same age as my sister. This is not that poem. This is one of their songs. And it’s awesome. You could totally press play and jam out while you read the rest of this post.
Of course, if you are going to reorganize a closet, it helps to have a plan. My goal: I wanted each and every box accessible with little to no effort. The solution: build some shelves. I googled a few ideas, combined some stuff, and created my schematic (feel free to use it because it is brilliant). I wanted larger totes on the bottom shelves for heavier items, or things I still have entirely too much of (military memorabilia). I am way too lazy to add it all up to tell you how much you need in total for your project. I had it memorized for a while, but then I didn’t take the time to write this post for three months, and I’ve long since forgotten. But the measurements are all there if you can decipher them. But really, this is your world, so you can build it however you want.
You also need some tools/materials. I opted to build my shelves out of PVC. I used 1 1/4″ pipe because I wanted it to be super sturdy. And I went for the heavy duty PVC (did you know they come in different weights?) I decided to use hand cutters because my hands are weak and I wanted the workout (seriously). If you go that way, you might also want gloves. Unless you prefer blisters. It’s entirely a preference thing. I went for both. I tried the blisters first because I wasn’t sure, and then I tried gloves. I think I prefer the glove method a little more. And you know, you need a measuring tape and a blue Sharpie. And a rubber mallet.
Oh, and connectors. Don’t forget to grab enough of those bad boys. I designed my shelf so the cross connectors always have an exposed side for later expansion (oh yeah, already planning for the upgrade option for when I inevitably accumulate more stuff).
Then you start measuring and cutting. I think they say measure seven or eight or nine times and cut two. And then you assemble. I didn’t do all my cuts at once (weak, sissy girl hands needed a break), so I just cut and built as I felt like it. The assembly part reminded me of my younger brother’s Pipeworks. Those were the coolest toys. Someone please tell me why they don’t make them anymore.
And here we have added a happy little box:
And like any great how-to is made, I got lazy with the camera, and I am going to skip straight to the final product photo:
Check it out! I can access anything I need with ease. And the closet is no longer filled with doom. Or clowns. (Please note: This is not actually the final iteration… it’s clear those totes are all empty because my OCD insisted that I label them with the label maker as I filled them.)
I built a second shelf (which I am also way too lazy to go photograph now since I thought I already did three months ago, but apparently not because it’s not in the shelf project album). The second shelf was actually a half of the first shelf and has space for five more totes/boxes. There are two on it currently. And a box containing a carpet I shipped to myself from Afghanistan. And a birthday present for a friend.