I’ve Never Had a Broken Bone

Monkey bars are a double-edged sword – they delight children because they’re fun and challenging, yet they seem to unanimously be the greatest source of pain on any play structure.  When I was a kid, everything on the playground was old, made of steel and scorching hot in the summer time or frigid icicles in winter.  These days they’re more sophisticated, multidirectional, and command a different type of curiosity than they once did.  Nonetheless, they have a mystique that draws kids to them.  Rain or shine, winter or summer, strong enough or not, kids do them…and not always well.

And she broke her wrist that day…BADLY.  The end of her left radius bone fractured and ended up on the other side of her wrist.  They had to start a central line to sedate her then manipulate it back into place and her arm ended up in the most giant, hard splint I’ve ever seen.  My daughter was a trooper the entire time, with minimal crying and only occasional whimpers.  She wanted to feel better and not be in pain, as is typical of children and not always typical of adults.

And it didn’t break her.  It didn’t break her mind and it didn’t break her spirit.  She put on pretty dresses and was still her lovely self.  She sat out during outdoor recess and PE class reading books with a friend.  She was forced to miss tap and ballet dance classes to avoid unnecessary stress on her wrist.  That was a hard sacrifice for a passionate, artistic little lady.  Soon enough, her split became a long hard cast with silver Sharpie signatures from classmates and family.  Over time the signatures faded, as did her pain.

And six weeks later the final x-rays told the story – when the cast was cut off with the tiny saw we learned that her wrist bone had phenomenally healed, a bit ahead of schedule.  Smiles all around led to a three week soft splint, which led to a happy seven-year-old little girl dancing and running and jumping once again.  I couldn’t praise her enough.  We couldn’t praise her enough.  The sacrifices she made were real and I think even she knew it.  Her diligence and patience and heart of gold made me cherish her that much more.

I’ve never had a broken bone.  And if I ever do, I can only hope I’ll be able to live like she did.

A lot can happen in a week…

Synthesis.  Synergy.  Individuality.  Tears.  Righteousness.  Pain.  Gratitude.  Fun.  Pride.  Nostalgic.

I traveled to Anaheim, California, to attend the OpenEduation2017 conference there, where I also had the honor of being a presenter.  As I was able to share the experience with my husband and daughter who had the time of their lives wandering around Disneyland as I participated in the conference, we took some roads less traveled to get there.  We took a connecting flight via Seattle to get to Los Angeles.  It was no surprise to me that I felt an immense sort of homecoming there.  Although he and I have only been to Seattle one time prior for an overnight well before our daughter was even a thought, I felt connected to the vibe there and remembered the brief time that we lived in the neighboring state of Oregon.  I remembered the beginnings of our nomadic existence, where we lived for food and embraced ourselves as “down to earth.”  Our lunch was expensive but delish and we told our daughter of the brief previous time we’d spent there.  Despite all of the years in between, there was a joy that didn’t feel any different.

After landing in Los Angeles, we drove down to San Diego and spent the following day eating In-N-Out Burger and Santana’s Mexican seemingly on a loop.  We visited the old neighborhood where we used to live, remembered stories and told them to our daughter and generally laughed a whole lot.  Our bellies were full, so our laughter was explosive and our bellies begged us for mercy.  We sighed a lot, as we got stuck in a fair bit of traffic no matter where we went; but when we arrived at the San Diego Zoo and spent a day in awe of what we saw, it reminded us of the time we’d spent there before knowing that one day we’d be parents and have to bring our child there at least one in a lifetime, no matter what.  Well this was that day and there were so many new exhibits to see – just when you thought that zoo couldn’t get any better, it did!  And, to see that the entire area was a tribute to Africa made me a bit emotional inside.  I daresay their tribute couldn’t be much better than what it was, yet they were still doing construction as we walked through.  Maybe one day we’ll see the end result.  In the meantime, we’ll have this bucket of memories to carry us.

Immediately, I felt a connection when we arrived in Anaheim for the convention.  I was proud of not only being bold enough to ask to attend the conference, but for creating a presentation worthy of an audience.  And I knew, once I stepped into the first keynote’s session, that the people in the room were for me and for each other.  Our attendees were beautifully diverse, educated, dedicated, and personable without going overboard.  It was like going on a first date that you quickly determined you wanted to be a second one.  I felt at home.  I felt inspired.  I felt emotional – I shed a precious few tears. I felt both righteous and humble.  This group, this conference, this vibe is a coin that I didn’t feel the need to flip.  I knew I was down.  I had spur of the moment conversations with folks from all over and if we didn’t actually hug or shake hands face-to-face, we did silently and graciously at a distance without hesitation.  Our keynotes were thoughtful.  Our session presenters were fearless.  The food was fantastic.  The venue was beautiful.  And…Disneyland was right down the street!  Work was good.  Life was good.  Gratitude is but a word for how I felt enjoying such precious time creating memories with my husband and little girl as well as with a professional family.  #privilege

I can only hope that going to Madrid (one day, maybe) in real life would be as overwhelmingly positive as my time spent presenting in the Hyatt’s Madrid conference room would be.  At 3pm on Friday the 13th, the last day of the conference, I gave a 25 minute presentation entitled Creative Career Readiness: OER that teach the Intangible to 17 conference attendees.  I engaged them and got their creative minds going, which are the two things I was really hoping to do.  My presentation was based largely on a hypothetical and they could see why I would pose such thoughts.  I walked out of that room fulfilled and ever hopeful that my time as an educator, writer, and creative thinker will continue reflect my capacity as a leader and commanding skills as a public speaker.  This is where I’m good, really good.

Synthesis.  Synergy.  Individuality.  Tears.  Righteousness.  Pain.  Gratitude.  Fun.  Pride.  Nostalgic.

I’m forever grateful that a lot can happen in a week.

Perception is not reality!

Believe it or not, perception is not reality.  Period.  Rather, my perception is my reality. Whatever I perceive to be is what’s true for me.  A perception is a perception.  It creates our lens, which then creates what we believe to be reality.  It should go without saying that just because we perceive something to be true doesn’t make it true — just because we perceive something a certain way doesn’t mean that it actually is that way.  Although it should go without saying, it still needs to be said sometimes and I find it personally necessary to do so.

Perception is not reality.  A perception is a perception.  My perception is my reality.  Your is, too.  We spend so much time worrying about the perceptions of others and even more time taking in how we perceive others that I think we forget that perceptions are just that, and they shouldn’t matter as much we think they seem to matter.  Because one day we’re going to find out that what we perceived to be true that one time isn’t true and that our perceptions misinformed.

When I taught my first college course, Introduction to Communication, this lesson on perceptions is one that I shared with my students.  I felt compelled to explain to them that the old cliche, “Perception is reality,” has no place in my lexicon and it shouldn’t have any place in theirs.  It’s short-sighted and at one point in time had it’s place in the world.  I felt very strongly that we shouldn’t be teaching Millennials that what they perceive is what’s true and what’s real and what ought to be.  I simply couldn’t do that.  I couldn’t give them cause to perceive someone one time and get it wrong forever.  That’s where bias lives forever for the better and for the worse.  I couldn’t give them a reason to never challenge what they’ve perceived, ever, because it’s reality.

So many times I’ve been misperceived (as have you) where things others perceived about me simply weren’t true and weren’t even remotely true.  I can think of several significant instances where I’ve suffered as a consequence of attitudes or behaviors I didn’t exhibit.  If I’m not that person, there wasn’t a crime therefore there shouldn’t be a punishment.  Yet, somehow I was perceived otherwise.  How can that be?

Perception is not reality.  Period.  But my perception is my reality.  Whatever I perceive to be is what’s true for me.  Merely perceiving something to be true doesn’t make it true.  I think we all know that.  But lately it seems like we need a reminder.