Rolling Bookbags, the Pope, and Pie Make for a Hard Day with Good Lessons

Earlier on Facebook, I posted a few lessons that I learned today…

  • I can’t complain about insensitive posts about the Pope if I giggle at the older students and their rolling backpacks (I know…so silly of me).

-This, of course, goes much deeper than a simple, rolling backpack. I believe that laughter is one of the best medicines because it always makes you feel better to some measure. However, when that laughter comes at someone’s expense (even if your intentions are not mean), it just isn’t right to laugh. I have no idea if the other student would find my observation about her backpack funny or not, but it isn’t right of me to assume that she would. She may already feel out of place for being an older student and anxious about needing (assuming there is a need) a rolling backpack. It didn’t occur to me that while minor in offense, my thought could, nonetheless, be offensive and the easier it becomes for me to get a giggle at someone else’s expense, the easier it becomes to let the offensiveness grow in the future. Make sense?

I didn’t realize my wrong until I saw all the posts on FB that took advantage of the ailing health of an old man (Pope Benedict resigning his position due to ailing health) as an opportunity to make a joke. I was not mad about the jokes, but I did find them insensitive…then my light bulb went on over the rolling backpack. This is a lesson that I will have to work on for some time because, let’s face it…in our society, we can be so liberal in our allowance to laugh at others that it becomes intrinsic and we laugh before we really consider what we are laughing at its impact. Luckily, I am not usually a mean-hearted person, so while it will take time to break that intrinsic reaction, I don’t think it will take a terrible amount of work…just constant self-reminding that I can think better of, and for people.

  • I can expect others to be better if I am expecting, and working toward, the same expectation of myself. No one needs my issues any more than I need theirs. Double standard, Redhead! That is no good for anyone.

-Firstly, let me state for the world and God above…I AM NOT PERFECT, I HAVE NEVER FELT I WAS PERFECT, AND I KNOW I WILL NEVER BE PERFECT. Ok…now that that disclaimer is outta the way…I have made, and will make, a million and one mistakes (well, maybe a billion and one!) in my life. I cannot undo my past, and cannot control my future. However, I can actively seek professional help, information, and life skills that will make me a better person from one day to the next. Heck…that is why I have been in psychiatric hospitals, had more than a few psychiatrists, had more than a few therapists, taken over 35 different medications in 20 years, and lived for four months in D.C. away from my family. In the many years that I have been ill, having recognized that I CANNOT get better on my own, I have tenaciously sought professional help, information, and life skills that will make me a better person tomorrow compared to the person I am today. While the healing process has waxed and waned at times, I have never given up on bettering myself for myself and the people who love me. That being said…that gives me the right to expect the people around me to do the same…seek to be a better person from one day to the next. Of course, it is their choice to get any sort of help they may need but it is also my choice to acknowledge that while flawed, I am genuinely trying to get better, and I can, without guilt, step away from people who do not want the same for themselves if they are negatively affecting my life. And I admit, this is a double edged sword because others have the right to step away from me if I am dragging them down. My hope would be that anyone who I do this to will at least give me credit for the incredible effort I have put into, and will continue to put into getting better. Lord knows I can be a bummer when I am depressed (which is why I “disappear” from people’s lives in long periods of depression-trying not to slough off onto them that which is causing me so much difficulty), and I know that people have problems enough of their own and do not need mine. But I am authentically trying to get better, and I hope that earns me a few inches. =)

  • A piece of pie makes concepts 1-2 easier to swallow!

-Taking a “time-out” and having a piece of pie all by myself (well, actually it was a salad and sweet tea followed by coffee and pie!) does a girl a lot of good. Firstly, I HATE eating alone in a restaurant. In fact, I enjoy most things so much more when I can share the experience with a kindred spirit. Therefore, when I realized I had the desire and ability (anxiety not telling me that I should be embarrassed and uncomfortable to not have a companion) to sit down at good ol’ Bob Evans and enjoy a piece of Lemon Supreme Pie all by myself, I knew I needed to practice that “being alone and comfortable with it” skill, let alone take time out to reflect on a roller-coaster day. So…yes…there are times when food has a positive, self-medicating sort of role in one’s life…at least that is what I am going to tell myself. =)

So…that is it, I guess. I’m as flawed as they come, and I know it. But I am getting better due to a lot of hard work and reality checks. We can all be better tomorrow if we work on being so today.

No matter what problems you are dealing with, we want to help you find a reason to keep living. By calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime  24/7.


The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide.

To fully achieve its mission, AFSP engages in the following Five Core Strategies:

  • Fund scientific research
  • Offer educational programs for professionals
  • Educate the public about mood disorders and suicide prevention
  • Promote policies and legislation that impact suicide and prevention
  • Provide programs and resources for survivors of suicide loss and people at risk, and involve them in the work of the Foundation

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