Tag Archives: Inspiration

June 2015 Goals

Several bloggers I’ve come across lately list their monthly goals on their blogs. Listing your goals for the month was also the first prompt in the 30 days of writing prompts for June on The SITS Girls. I won’t promise that I will write down my goals each month, but for June, I thought I’d give it a go.

1. Start my health psychology course and study for at least a few hours each week. I enrolled in this Open University course in May, but haven’t heard back from the institution’s educational department on getting me a place to study. This should not be an excuse, since I do have the textbooks, so I can study in my room too. I am resolving to study for at least a couple of hours each week during the month of June.

2. Practise yoga on at least three days each week. In May, I learned to do the sun salutation yoga series and I have been practising it regularly, but not as regularly as I’d like. Some weeks, I’ve practised for five days, but others, I didn’t practise at all. This needs to change. I can always practise more, but I need to practise at least three times each week.

3. Learn to use weights. I asked my husband for weights as a birthday present and he said he’ll buy me some provided I go to the fitness department and learn how to use them. I also want to practise using weights for a bit before I get my husband to buy them for me. If for no other reason, then it’s just to figure out what weight I need and to make sure I won’t give up within five minutes.

4. Lose at least 1kg. I was surprised when I went onto the scale today to find out that I hadn’t gained any weight in the past few weeks despite lots of French fries and candies and pizza and little exercise. Still, I still need to lose almost 15kg for a healthy BMI and have lost only a little over 2kg since being at my heaviest last March. I am starting in a weight loss challenge on a Dutch Facebook group today and hope this will motivate me to actually lose a bit of weight.

5. Nurture my creativity. This is a vague one, I know. I have felt a lot of inspiration for writing and art, but I have not put fingers to keyboard or started creating crafts or art much. I want to change this. Having started reading a book of poetry from a fellow survivor, I think I too can do this. What is holding me back is the fear of not being good enough, but who cares?

6. Read some inspirational writings. I have been browsing Kobo for inspiring books to download, but other than said book of poetry (which was free), I’ve hardly gotten to read anything. I plan on reading some inspirational books and may discover some inspiring blogs too. I plan on reflecting on what I read too.

Mami 2 Five
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My Grandma

One of the writing prompts for this week over at Mama’s Losin’ It is to write about your grandma and her hometown. My grandma was born in Hoogezand-Sappemeer in the province of Groningen in the Netherlands, but she moved to the province of Zealand when she was very young. During her adult life, she lived in Hilversum with my grandpa and their five children, of which my father is the oldest. In the 1970s, after my grandma had divorced my grandpa, she moved to Zeist in the province of Utrecht, where she became a social worker in a psychiatric institution. When I was hospitalized in 2007, my father told her and she was pretty pissed because, she reasoned, I’d never get out.

The above picture shows the knight’s castle of Zeist. My grandma lived close by there in a senior citizens’ group livign accommodation during most of my childhood. She was the initiator of this group living apartment block. A funny tale is that she spoke of her idea for a group living place to a local govenrment official from a a conservative political party (she is a left-winger) and the man said: “Oh dear lady, you sure could be wishing for that” in a condescending voice. At that point my grandma responded with: “Oh dear gentleman, I’m not a dear lady.” Because the living project was created after all and it was her idea, my grandma had first choice of apartments. She chose a beautiful apartment on the fourth floor.

My grandma was an avid traveler, reader particularly of French literature, and quilter. I imagine she’d be a great lifestyle blogger if she could use computers. She taught some Amish people to quilt when she was visiting their land in the 1990s. At age nearly 80, she still traveled to China an Mongolia. I do not know to what degree she’s currently able to pursue her hobbies, given that over the past few years, she’s gotten a little frail and has suffered memory loss.

My sister and I often visited my grandma for sleepovers when we were young. She would then take us on “expeditions” into town and into the countryside. She volunteered for Utrecht nature conservation and went to do activities (“activigeese” according to my sister), quilting to raise funds for the local park.

My grandma always was an active woman. To be very clear, she is still alive at 90, though I haven’t seen her in a few years, which is why I write about her in the past tense mostly. The last time I saw her was on my wedding in 2011. She was my chosen witness there. I still speak to her on the phone eveyr now and then, and really need to call her today to schedule a visit. Even now that she’s moved to a care home and is pretty obviously getting older, she still inspires me to continue to be as active as I can be.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Life with a Disability Isn’t Easy

I decided to buy a new eBook again and went with I’m Not Here to Inspire You by Rob J. Quinn, a collection of essays (most originally posted on his blog) on life with severe cerebral palsy. In the first essay, Quinn tackles the assumption among people with disabilities that life with disabilities is easy for other people.

I have seen this assumption, and held this assumption myself. Interestingly, I’ve seen it within the disability community too. When I disclosed my autism diagnosis on a blindness E-mail list, I was told that this need not keep me from living a productive life. Look at Temple Grandin! And since blindness by the philosophy of this group did not need to keep me from living a fulfilling life, there were no limits to me obtaining a Ph.D. Other than the fact that 95% of the non-disabled population don’t have a Ph.D., I might say.

We’d like to believe that all people need to do to achieve a productive life is ignore their limits. When you have a physical disability, these limits in the media are multiplied, and therefore the overcoming of them is a thousand times more inspiring. Reading these stories, sometimes actually endorsed by disability organizations, makes the ordinary disabled person look totally meek. I, for one, have never felt encouraged by Helen Keller or Temple Grandin, at least not by the inspiraporn that surrounds them. People with disabilities who live productive lives can offer valuable advice, but it’s not like their mere existence inspires me.

I remember reading a 1950s fictional book about a teen going blind and going to a special school. In it, one of his classmates, a totally blind boy, wants to run a shop when he’s older. People find him an inspiration, but he says something like: “If I want to run a shop when I’m older, I need to pour as much energy into it as my far-away uncle who sits on the government does.” This book dates from the 1950s as I said, when you could only become a telephone operator if you were blind and living in the Netherlands. However, what it signifies as that living a productive life with a disability is hard.

Like Quinn, I don’t mean this to discourage people with disabilities. However, I want to say that it’s not like a disability has no impact. It’s not like you can just ignore it and say “So what?” to eveyr hurdle and move on. Of course, keeping a positive attitude is better than to dwell on negativity, but it’s not like it will magically get you your dream job. Besides, keeping a positive attitude is not the same as never being frustrated.