Tag Archives: Success

Over: The Part of My Life I Consider Truly Over #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to day 15 in the #AtoZChallenge. I typed yesterday’s post rather quickly, so that a typeo ended up in the post title. Sorry for that. Today’s letter is O and I have once again chosen a prompt from the 397 journal writing prompts and ideas eBook. It is “Over” and asks me to write about what time of my life I consider truly over.

Last November, I celebrated ten years since my psychiatric crisis that got me admitted to the hospital. I resolved to look to the future from then on and have a positive outlook on life. Indeed, it is unlikely that I will ever be admitted back into a psychiatric hospital even if I land in a similar crisis to the one that got me admitted in 2007. Psychiatry has changed, after all. As such, I consider my psychiatric hospital life truly over.

That being said, the memory is still too fresh to truly close the chapter. So I’ll have to look back at another time in my life that I consider truly and well over. This is my time in high school.

I graduated from high school in 2005. This is thirteen years ago this year. Though I still can’t say I never remember my high school days anymore, I do consider this time of my life really over. I mean, even if I end up in an institution again – which is possible, even if it’s unlikely -, I will never go back to high school. I graduated that, so I won’t have to.

This is also the most recent “success story” in my life. Yeah, I know, leaving a mental institution after 9 1/2 years is a greater accoplishment, but that’s not “normal” success. My parents show pride in my having graduated from high school. They don’t show pride in my living with my husband.

Because of this, my high school days also are symbolic for my obeying my parents’ wishes for me. I don’t do that now. Letting go of my high school years means letting go of the need to meet up to my parents’ expectations. They are not realistic and besides, I don’t live for my parents. I live for myself.

Success

One of last year’s NaBlPoMo prompts for January challenges us to write about a time we were particularly successful at achieving your goals. Since I always made long lists of new yer’s and birthday goals each year, far too long to keep up with, I never succeeded at keeping my resolutions. That doesn’t mean I’ve never been successful. Today, I’m sharing some ways in which I’ve been successful in life.

1. Education. It may’ve been over ten years ago, but I am still proud of the fact that I earned a hig level high school diploma from a mainstream school. I am prouder now that I know most people don’t attach expectations of my current functioning to it. I mean, when I had just fallen apart in 2007, at every phone call to my family, if I wasn’t moaning about my crisis state, or even if I was, I’d be asked when I was going to find myself a job. Now that it’s pretty much known that I won’t find myself a job anytime soon, or most likely anytime, I can celebrate my successful education as the achievement it was. It shows that, deep down, I have some perseverance. Sometimes I credit my parents for this, but it was I who wrote in my journal, a month into high school, that I hated it but regardless I wanted to complete this level of education.

2. Blogging. I still have a blog post in the works about why blindness sucks sometimes, and one of the reasons is I can’t seem to compete on equal footing with sighted people in the visually-driven world of social media. The thing is, I am still a pretty successful blogger, because I’ve been able to keep up a blog for nearly 2 1/2 years now (and four years with my old one). I also get a fair bit of interaction from my blog. Most of all, I do what I love and I love what I do with regards to blogging. I don’t get more joy (or traffic) from posts that have pictures in them than from those that don’t. I think, in a sense, of course I am not a great blogger in the bigger scheme of things, but I’m much more successful now than I was with my old blog.

3. Relationships. I often credit my husband for our successful marriage, but of course, it comes from both direcitons. I can say that one of only a few borderline personality disorder traits I don’t have is disloyalty in relationships. It feels a bit narcissistic to chalk this up as a success, because ideally no-one is unfaithful. I could go on to chalk up the whole fact of my marriage as a success, but that sounds even worse. Then again, this whole post could be seen as a bit self-centered. Let me just say my husband is hugely successful at keeping me as his wife, too. Oh crap, that sounds horrible.

4. Little things in life. I remember once getting an assignment for reading comprehension in like fourth grade about a kid who was in regular education and his brother, a special ed kid with intellectual disabilities. It was said that this brother was successful if he tore a piece of paper. This is of course ahuge stereotype of people with intellectual disabilities, but I mean it to illustrate that success can be found in little things. Like my blogging success, my success in many other areas is relative. I can make coffee with some help. I can put my dry laundry into the closet. I can clean my desk if reminded of it. These could be seen as just as useless to a non-disabled person as tearing a piece of paper. So what?

In this category also fall the daily successes that people without disabilities should also be celebrating. For example, I spent fifteen minutes on the elliptical today and have been exercising four out of six days this year so far. Celebrating this daily success can help us stay focused on the positive and reach our long-term goals. What have you been successful at today?

Pink Is a Color

There’s a lot of pooha against girls wearing pink lately. Apparently, dressing girls in pink is limiting their future success. Blimey. As the author of Parenting Highs and Lows says, pink is a color. No feminist in their right mind would say that having black skin limits people’s future success, even though in our still pretty racist society, it does. And I know you can change what clothes you wear and not what color your skin is, but so what?

In my opinion, firstly, this is holding girls and women accoutnable for the stereotypes created by society. When I was still active in feminist circles, I learned that making the minority feel responsible for defeating society’s steretotypes, is discrimination. Besides, if girls should not wear pink because it limits their future success, this is only perpetuating the idea that girls wearing pink should not be successful. This is ultimately counterproductive.

I haven’t even touched on what it is that girls are being unsuccessful in when they’ve been wearing pink. It is said to be limiting their careers. As if the only successful women are those who have a career outside the home. This is the mostly male, White, able-bodied society’s norm of success, and women’s rights include the right not to conform to this norm. The so-called feminists who are encouraging people to stop dressing girls in pink because it limits their ability to conform to the societal notion of success, are merely perpetuating the stereotypes they’re meaning to defeat.

Now I for one am not a big fan of pink. I never quite liked the color. I also do not agree with the idea that girls should wear pink, or that real girls or boys wear any color or even sort of clothes in particular. That’s stereotypical. People of any gender should be allowed to wear whatever they want, and if that is perceived to limit their ability to do whatever they want in life, that’s discrimination. Blaming the person being discriminated against, is allowing the discrimination to continue.

Deriving Quality of Life from Success

Everyone defines success differently, as a post on Single Mother Ahoy! illustrates. The author starts out by measuring her success through her child’s achievements. As a childless woman, I will not measure my success by parenthood – even though I do esteem successful mothers higher than myself. That may be because they dominate the blogosphere, and my blog is one of a few things I use to measure my success by.

Success is not necessarily the same as quality of life, though it is related. For non-disabled people, it often is the same. At least, all the research I read defining quality of life for disabled people – and I assume the research is written from a non-disabled perspective -, determines quality of life through success. More so, it defines quality of life by success in areas important to non-disabled people. Common examples of measures of quality of life are employment, independent living and a long-term relationship. By these standards, my quality of life is fair, having achieved one of these three.

I understand people derive their quality of life from societal success. After all, we compare ourselves to others, and others are mostly non-disabled, middle- to upper-class people.

Then again, quality of life does not need to be derived from success in the workforce or on the relationship market. That doesn’t mean that quality of life and success are not related, as I said. I derive quality of life from writing for my blog, and I’m pretty sure I’d feel a lot worse about myself if I got no views or comments and a lot better if I got more than I get now. I actually believe that even the most severely disabled people derive quality of life from success. Only they and I measure success differently than non-disabled people do.

That being said, even non-disabled people probably derive part of their quality of life from relatively small successes. I refuse to believe I’m the only blogger who feels their writing contributes to their quality of life even though they don’t earn anything through it and even though they’re not receiving tons of views. I refuse to believe I’m the only crafter who crafts only for the joy of it and the community that interacting with fellow crafters brings. Honestly, these small joys are much more important to me than my high-level high school diploma ever was or a job ever will be.

Let God Make Something of Your Life

I just read this devotional on following Jesus in a world that expects leadership. We need to let Jesus make something of our lives and to follow His example.

At first, I was a bit annoyed at the presumption that we do not need to make something of our lives, but let Jesus do so. Are we going back to blaming God for our choices and everything that happens to us? But then I read on and saw what following means: accepting Jesus as our leader and following His example. Of course, the author of this devotional includes all the worthwhile things Jesus did. Some atheists around me are going to point out that Jesus set a poor example if we have to believe every word of the Bible literally. I don’t take the Bible literally, and I believe Jesus was a great leader in His time. Being both human and God, He lived a life on Earth influenced by the times. He did things we disapprove of too during His human life, and the authors of the Bible (FYI: I do not believe God wrote the Bible, He just inspired it) made their own interpretatios of His actions. Those of us, includign myself, who understand God to be loving and graceful, need to extent the same to other humans. We take Jesus as an example, not in every little thing He did, but in the greater values that He promoted. That’s where I disagree with the “follow the leader” analogy.

We also must keep in contact with God thorugh Jesus, and let Him make something of our lives. As I said, this is not a passive waiting process. It is active: God has a purpose for us but we need to let Him work in us and follow what we learn that way to make this happen. We need to actively accept the gift of God, not passively assume it will unfold itself someday.