Wednesday, August 03, 2005


As many of you know (as is evident in my previous post), I’ve had a bit of a hard time dealing with reality lately. Mostly the ugly side, but still. My therapist (the most recent, whom I still consider “my therapist” because he was the first therapist to “get me”), said that I needed to stop trying to tailor reality to my expectations and, rather, “reframe” my perceptions of reality so as to better grasp its implications.–the cornerstone of cognitive therapy for those in the know. And for those who know me, name something “cognitive” and I’m down wid’it.

So here’s to reframing.

1. Because children are abused, it does not follow that the world is going to hell in a hand basket. It is a tragedy, it is not the end of all that is good in the world. (Though, and this is where I get tripped up, I don’t know how one can see good when such injustices are being waged).

Scorecard: First reframing attempt: FAILURE

2. Because Bush is president, it does not follow that the citizens of the United States are a bunch of dumb asses. Okay, this one is going well, nearly half of us voted against the prick.

Scorecard: Second reframing attempt: A WILD SUCCESS

3. Because I am bored, it does not follow that I should pack all of my belongings and move to a different state immediately. (Though why the hell not?)

Which leads to 4.

4. Because I own a bunch of stupid properties, have a “good” job, a family including a dog, blather, blather, blather.

Scorecard for Third and Forth reframing attempt: NOT A TOTAL FAILURE, BUT SURELY NOT A SUCCESS, YEILDING WHAT COULD BE CONSIDERED “A WASH”, as my father would say.

Okay, I had like 5 other things on my list I had planned on reframing, but it’s late-ish and I don’t feel as though I’m experiencing much success so I’m gonna call it a night. Maybe you folks should give it a try and let me know how you fare.


Blogger Nothing said...

Reality is a strange thing... I find it a little much

8:05 PM  
Blogger Amy McWeasel said...

Agreed, AWS. I like to joke that I prefer my reality in tiny, bite-size pieces, but it's not really a joke.

Aerenchyma: You strike me as the kind of person who is at her best when she's being challenged in some way. Maybe your current environment is not mentally challenging or stimulating enough, so the idea of pulling up stakes and heading off for somewhere new is more appealing than it would normally be? Maybe you're just not the kind of person to put down roots for the long range?

I must confess, I've got more than my fair share of wanderlust lately. I like the experience of shedding one life like a snakeskin and beginning anew someplace fresh. One contributing factor to my desire to go is that I feel I "can't"; there is this chain of people who bind me here: as long as the Young Sir lives with his mother, Tony will be here...and as long as I want a life with Tony, I must be here. So while I *can* go any time I want, circumstances dictate that I *can't*. The appearance of a lack of choice drives me wild.

So yeah, I like the idea of reframing my perceptions of reality, but I'm not so good with that.

Also, I'd love to have a face-to-face discussion about your feelings about having Ubs join your life. I find myself torn between wanting an Ubs of my own and wanting to stay insulated from the rawness you wrote about earlier. Let me know if you're down wid'it, cracka!

6:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading through your posts last night, I went home and thought about how I know the "ugly" side of my parents, and that I love and accept them anyway. It wasn't always easy.

I recently saw a posting on the Portland Mayors website about creating a task force to improve Portland's livability (I think life is pretty good here, but there is room for improvement!) and I wonderered how I could get on that task force - it sounded good to me, a new challenge, meet new people. And then I stopped myself. I'm president of the board of a small arts organization, and THAT's a lot of work, and there is a lot that needs to be done to stabilize the organization if it is to continue. I realized that I wanted to do something different rather than really face some of the stuff I have to do ... because I might fail. I've also been really thinking through what my capabilities are ... I am ALWAYS surprised when people think well of me, if I could only believe that about myself, how far could I go?

And then sometimes I want to pick up and move to Montana, or maybe Alaska.

So, yes, I am trying to think differently about myself. This started at the beginning of the summer when I had a conversation with a friend about what advice would I give a younger version of myself, and I said "I would tell 20 year old me to stop beating herself up and have more confidence!" So I am trying to apply that to 39 year old me, and it's hard. It's feels like being close to cliff.

How's that for a confession ...

Arasin, the troublemaker

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait, I don't get what the reframing you want to try here is:
>>4. Because I own a bunch of stupid properties, have a “good” job, a family including a dog, blather, blather, blather.<<<

You're saying conventional wisdom says you have it pretty good but you want to reframe that and see those differently? Or you see stability as boring but you want to reframe and see it as a plus?

Me, I say reframe away if it means you'll move across the country closer to us in portland! And seriously, reframing is such a hot new buzzword (NYT Magazine had a cover story on political reframing a few wks ago) but its core is the same basic common sense advice we've all known for years: you can't change other people or events, you can only change your reactions to them. Easier said than done, of course!


11:36 AM  
Blogger Aerenchyma said...

The reframing is supposed to go something like this:

SK is late AGAIN. I'm annoyed and think that he doesn't respect me nor my time.

SK is late AGAIN. I realize that part of what I love about him is ability to lose himself in time, abandon reality for his project at hand, be attentive to the moment. I sigh and appreciate that.

Again, not so good at it.

Arasin-I'm super glad you're being as kind to your 39 year old self as you would have been to your 20 year old self. Hard work it is, to be gentle with ourselves.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Aerenchyma said...

Oh and AWS, you are very much among good company.

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

C'mon!!! Get over yourself! Things happen in the world that you can't control....things happen in your city that you can't control...things happen in your life that you can't control! Stop thinking so much and just live. Just live your life and enjoy what you can. You only get one shot at life, if your lucky it will last 80 years if your not you will be dead tomorrow. So stop thinking about things you have no control over and just enjoy each day. Enjoy your husband and son because when it comes down to it.....that's all you have and they are the best things to have.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Aerenchyma said...

Well Anon, you know Socrates (a big fan I am) said..."The unexamined life is not worth living." I'm of the same mind, my unexamined friend.


6:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are two more quotes of his...

Beware the barrenness of a busy life.

By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you'll become happy; if you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.

7:15 AM  

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