The other day I was thinking about life in general and what my various options for the near future might be. I love to write. It has always been my first passion. As long as I can remember, I have been reading and writing. When I was in grade school I would practice my spelling words over and over exceeding the expected amount of times as I was also trying to perfect my handwriting. I started keeping a daily journal when I was 13. Thank-God most of those were lost in a horrible storm over 15 years ago. I was tremendously unsophisticated when I was younger and other than trying to recall a few key events in my life with a date attached, I wouldn’t really find those journals useful. I’ll just have to use my memory.
Now, when I am trying to write, with a specific purpose in mind, I am not satisfied with my performance. I lack the focus and dedication it takes to complete the manuscript I would like to be working on. Long gone are the days of college writing where a topic and research were easily at hand and an A always returned on the paper. I am famous, to myself, for great starts that dwindle quickly as the wave of ideas rushing through my mind play themselves out and something happens; I’m not sure if it is just writer’s block or if, ultimately, I decide that it just ‘sounded’ like a good idea.
I started writing my blog so that I would develop the habit of writing every day or almost every day. I do enjoy the freedom of writing about ideas that are immediately pertinent to me. Writing in short doses allows me to run my idea out in full force until exhausted and then move on to the next ‘big’ idea. Publishing is nearly instant. Those are the perks.
I have been reading a number of blogs lately as well. There are many good writers out there and people who have these amazing blogs with pictures even. There are all sorts of wonderful, creative, colorful and appealing sites. I have also been looking at a number of different, supposed, online jobs and work from home opportunities. I tried a few and it began to all look futile as I saw the sheer number of people attempting to market various items and ‘opportunities’ through the internet. I began to wonder if I was just “a small fish in a big pond”, as the saying goes.
To top it off, one day last week, I had to go take an intelligence test. Many years ago when we studied these diagnostic tools in college, I quickly developed a loathing distaste for IQ and Personality Tests. Outdated, antiquated and biased. That is how I found these tools of my chosen profession. How could you just ask a bunch of questions and think you know anything about a person? All you really know is how they answered a set of questions on a certain day. These tests were standardized in order to keep the bias of the test administrator’s perceptions and thoughts at bay. Intentions may not always equal the intended outcome. It is a diagnostic tool, although it has been portrayed as something of a bench-mark for those that score in the highest levels at the 160 to 200 range. Those people are called geniuses or profoundly gifted; I really don’t think they are diagnosed as geniuses. Anyone scoring under 90 is diagnosed as mentally retarded or mentally disabled at varying degrees to a score of 1 which would be profound mental disability. From the perspective of seeing many people over the years embrace their diagnosis as an identity, I simply cannot condone these barbaric and uncivilized practices. I am not saying I am either one of these extremes, although I may have qualified on either end at different points in my life. I am only saying that a test does not dictate who I am as a person or a citizen of this country or as a child of God. It shouldn’t for any human being. I am ultimately no greater and no less than any other human being.
The test I took was the WAIS IV (4). Also known as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. “Wechsler believed that intelligence involved a number of different mental abilities, describing intelligence as, ‘the global capacity of a person to act purposefully, to think rationally, and to deal effectively with his environment’.” (; “History of Intelligence Testing: The History and Development of Modern IQ Testing” By Kendra Cherry) (I Googled that. See what you can find out with Google. I mean I love the guy that made Google.) (This is a free add encouraging people to Google facts they don’t know so they can find them out.)
One result that The Doctorate (pronounced Dr. to those who don’t know that he has a Doctorate Degree in Clinical Psychology and is not a Doctor that went to medical school) proudly announced to me was that I scored average in verbal comprehension skills (on the verbal comprehension Index); I knew instantly that this test was everything I always hated. I was really very pissed off. This sense of indignant irritation rose up in me and it threatened to overwhelm me. I cannot let a test or anyone else tell me who I am. Isn’t it hard enough already? Don’t we already have to wade through a tremendous amount of bull crap and insanity just to survive, let alone thrive?
Confidence or at least believing it is worth an attempt is what we need to have to overcome the many adversities of life and even success. Unprecedented success only happens to 5% of the population. YIKES!!! Without confidence it is very hard to go above all odds and accomplish the seemingly impossible. Did anyone ever do anything great without first having the confidence to even try? I decided to not let that effect what I believe. I know what the real purpose of that test was. I presume it didn’t make me out to be mentally incapacitated nor a genius, as I am still in my own home with my family and not locked up in some facility nor have I been propelled to star status by scoring a perfect 200 or above 200 which would have made me an ‘immeasurable’ genius whatever that is. I have decided to move forward from there. By the way, does anyone know who the president was during the Civil War? I think I got that one wrong. The correct answer should have been, “let me Google that…” and then answer with whatever my search turned up. There is one thing I can assure you of, if I don’t know the answer I can find out.
What we believe about ourselves is so intensely important. If I do not believe I can change the world, then how could I do it? If I don’t believe I can write a book that will become a best seller or at least a contender, then why would I write it in the first place? If I don’t believe I have a voice, then why would I ever speak out?
My background is an ugly one. I have always thought that my past, psychologically speaking, would qualify me for a one way ticket to the basement of a nut house in a strait-jacket biting off my own lips or on death row for being a serial killer. Now, that is graphic and I do apologize for that, but however, it remains a potentially realistic truth to me. It is, in fact, my greatest fear. That is why I can’t let the facts dictate my fate; I must be the captain of my own destiny. A point on the serial killer thing, I have never wanted to actually harm anyone… the thought is incomprehensible to me I believe that is why I hurt myself and not others. I was just making a broad assessment based on psychiatric practices. The FBI does not need to show up at my house. OKAY? Okay.
There were certain times in my life that I thought I would never make it through. There have been certain events that challenged me so completely that I was left feeling utterly lost. I have these oscillating times in my life. There are phases where I am going so strong that it seems nothing can stand in my way and periods of despair so deep that I have lost the will to live. I have prayed fervently for God to take me home, because I know I can’t’ commit suicide and I just don’t know how to move forward. For all the begging I have done in my life for help, there has never been anyone there except my mother, cheering me on and telling me that I am special and wonderful which makes her so very proud.
The psychiatric community, on the other hand, would label me as Bi-Polar, Depressed, suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. If I left my life up to them, it wouldn’t be any kind of life at all. It’s bad enough with the medications that I am on that make me really sick if I don’t take them. I managed to survive. This encouragement from my mother in spite of all the failures I saw in my life is how I survived multiple attempts to take my own life before becoming a Christian. Psychologists, Psychiatrists and Counselors are out of the budget most of the time. I paid $90.00 an hour, every week for 6 weeks and then every two weeks after that for 6 months one time for counseling. The lady was amazing and she seemed to be the only one that really ever helped. However, on top of that, I paid $95.00 a month to see a Psychiatrist. Then there were the medications which I paid cash for after I lost my insurance. Finally, the financial stress became too great for me to bear. Now I get the same substandard care I came to hate when I worked for county mental health. Things that make you go “hmmm”.
I would like to make an important point here, contrary to popular belief, discovering religion is not a cure nor is it an excuse for any behavior or rationale. Since becoming a Christian I have had many low times. Yet, I still survived many bouts of begging and pleading to God for Him to take me home, but I haven’t harmed myself in years. I actually just emerged from one of these times. I may have a harder time than some, but life in general is very tough, not for the faint at heart. I don’t know any follower of Christ that lives an easy life. Sometimes being a Christian can make things more difficult because you must choose between doing what is popular and doing what is right. Many times the journey is worth the battle. In the end I am stronger, smarter and more aware of many things that I hadn’t considered in the past. I will take the road with God, He walks with me there.
After spending the last year struggling, not well physically and staying 5 months in a homeless shelter, bed bugs and all, everything finally took a toll on me. Arriving back here to California in April I began feeling more depressed and in despair. My grandson was born since then which has helped tremendously. My outlook has improved, but I am still wondering what I will do with the next few months of my life. I know what I want to eventually do, open a homeless shelter of my own, but not knowing what to do next can be depressing. Especially when all my attempts to find a job have failed and I have interviewed and been rejected for a NUMBER of volunteer non-profit positions with an organization that would enable me to eventually pay to go back to school.
During this process I decided to start writing my blog. It helped me feel better to know I needed to get up and do something every day. I also started writing the initial information and program for the non-profit that I would have one day before I fully came out my depression. I also started my book. Yet, I remain distracted by poverty and life circumstances.
I have difficulties like everyone else. I have always been transparent about my struggles. I know the mistakes I have made. I have gone back and forth into Church, while people I know have remained faithful. I’ve had several relapses in my battle with alcohol and drugs, the latest being last year. I have been married three times and my two youngest children live with their fathers. I just got a call yesterday from my youngest son that his father and brother were mistreating him which has sent me into a tail-spin of what to do about this. I am not in the situation to take him back to live with me and it pains my soul to no end. To hear him crying is like a stab in the heart. Regret and guilt consume me for letting him go to live with his dad in the first place.
I watch my oldest son indulge in alcohol and smoking pot, which were the drugs of my choice. He offered me a margarita like three times last night. I finally told him, “I am a Nazarene. I don’t drink alcohol or do drugs”. He replied, “Then why do you drink coffee, eat sugar and smoke cigarettes? I thought people who say they are Nazarene don’t do those things?” He had a valid point. However, I know myself too well. One drink for me can lead to many and I have to abstain completely or it just goes from bad to worse. To top it off I missed a prayer meeting to take care of the baby so they could drink. That wasn’t a good enough reason for me to miss, obviously I NEED TO GO, but I had committed myself to it before I realized what day it was or what I was supposed to be doing.
I see the legacy my father left for his children; all but one of 9 children have had alcohol abuse issues and also drugs. One is in San Quentin Prison for life I believe and I don’t know why exactly. My father went to his grave an alcoholic. He drank until the very last day when he was admitted to the hospital for something more serious, I believe in the end it was Prostate Cancer, but I will never know for sure. Regret and guilt attempt to take a further hold on me for what I have left so far to my children. But, I refuse to yield to their power and I move forward.
Life has not been easy and poor decisions have ruled the last 30 years of my life. I have made some really good decisions in the recent past and one of those has been to keep going on matter what.
Since 1997, the one thing that has remained constant is my relationship with God. That has pulled me through every single time. I believe that it was God’s love for me that ultimately did not allow me to die the many times I tried to end my own life. I was an atheist or agnostic for the most part and a New Age Spiritualist for a good 10 years. I didn’t give Him the time of day let alone allow the possibility of His existence in my own mind. When I realized He loved me, yes little old me so very much and I missed it I cried tears of joy and sorrow at the same time. I have never regretted that decision. The greatest question of all is that if I am not here for some great reason, some purpose greater than my own being, then why am I here? Why have I endured such a grueling life?
I have come to realize that what I believe is infinitely far more important than what the world would want me to believe or what some test would label me as. For all the hardship and pain that I have endured through the years I can say it has made me stronger, more sensitive to others and more compassionate.
My last boss told me I was too compassionate. It enraged me and made me intensely hate her. I could not stand the fact that I was angry and hated her. I was in constant conflict. But, if that were true, if I am too compassionate, then it didn’t matter whether or not the woman who was dying of end stage colon cancer got to go stay with her daughter and grandchildren during her last few months on this Earth. It also didn’t matter that the woman who was being abused by the man she lived with finally got help. It was only by my continual insistence on it. I worked tirelessly and the doctors at the hospital ended up hating to hear my name. The agreement to hospitalize her was made a couple of months later after I had already gone on stress leave the first time.
If those two women could say what it meant to them, I don’t think either one would say that I was too compassionate or worked too hard to help them. The woman that eventually went to the hospital may hate me. However, the real possibility of her dying or being killed was avoided. Her mother was finally allowed to feel the relief of knowing that her daughter was getting proper care. Everyone said she was just a drug addict and a prostitute. But, I saw a daughter, a mother and a woman that was very ill no matter what anyone else thought. I will never know. I am sorry that Dawn Milton believed that about me. I am not sorry that I did what it took to make what seemed right happen. I never will be. That was worth more than any dollar amount that would have been collected for my services. It turns out that doing the right thing can’t always be billed to insurance. That ended up being a big deal. The day I returned from stress leave I was written up. Yeah, those are times I don’t care to repeat. By the way, when I finally quit the county, I got a letter letting me know that for the last 6 to 9 years, there was a person in accounting that had stolen many people’s identities and had used them to gain credit. I worked for that unit just over a year. You mean she never got written up? Things that make you go, ‘hmmm”.
So, after considering all of these events over the last couple of weeks, I decided that I am A Big Fish in a Big Pond. There may be other big fish, but the pond is big enough for us all. Everyone has their talents; their gifts from God. That makes each and every one of us valuable and indispensable in this world. We each have something to give and it is ours to find out what that something is.
I will never let anyone tell me I am average at anything. My life has never been average and it never will be. I plan to replace as many non-average bad events that have happened to me with as many above average good events as I can. I believe that should be my compensation for living through what I have lived through. I plan to go for each and every dream in my heart and to make a difference in this world and keep making a difference until the day I die. I have come to this commitment with much thought, tears, joy and revelation.
So, to ‘The Doctorate’ who sits in a chair all day, he can keep giving his outdated tests. I rudely reminded him that he went to school for a very long time, 9 years, to just be giving these tests all day. I could have given myself that test and any other person that needed it. Can I say, it doesn’t take a genius to give you and IQ test? What I said to him was, “It seems like someone with that much education should be doing so much more”. Oh wow, when I write that out it seems even ruder than when I said it. Well, I would apologize to him but I will never see him again. I know he has worked hard to get where he is and is more than qualified to make the amount of money he does. He is an older man and he seems to enjoy his job, it doesn’t seem stressful. I am sure that he will do that as long as he can and many more will sit in the chair that I sat in. If that makes him happy, I am happy for him. His test however, can take a flying leap into oblivion exactly where it belongs.
I am A Big Fish In A Big Pond!
I have opportunities, ideas and worth! I am infinitely valuable to God! I am the apple of His eye! He has given me a life with a plan and a purpose! I have a voice! I have a story to tell! I have a gift for writing! My grammar may not be perfect all the time, but I know enough to know that it makes sense in the end. I am who I say I am, not what the world tries to tell me about who I am. I will never lead a life of quiet desperation and I will not go to my grave with my song still in me. (In opposition to the quote, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them” – Henry David Thoreau) I will lead a life that is full, intentional and purposeful. That is not positive thinking it is survival!
I am A Big Fish In A Big Pond!
NOTE: Editing and grammar correction by the girl with the average score in verbal comprehension skills and Crayola Crayon in RED. (I couldn’t find my pen!)