Monday, April 26, 2010

Word Power

"Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world"
~ Buddha

I often write about my belief in the power of words and their ability to connect people on an emotional level. Words do, indeed, have the power to hurt, anger, destroy and, conversely, to heal, uplift and unite.

Throughout the years, writing has been the greatest therapy I've ever known. For me, putting thought to paper (erm... screen?!), is utterly cathartic. It allows me to think aloud without actually... well... articulating out loud. It has enabled me to explore thoughts and analyze feelings and situations in ways that, were they stuck inside my head, may never really have been brought to light in any meaningful way. It's opened my eyes to patterns of behavior, both in myself and others, and allowed me to weigh options and make decisions in a most deliberate manner rather than relying on reactive response.

I was recently asked why it is I don't write more Hissy Fits and thought, perhaps, I should explain it here instead of elsewhere.

While I may not post here as often as some might expect given my obvious propensity to write, the fact is that there are countless Hissy Fits that reside in "The Mighty Draft Box". These are pieces that will likely never be seen by another pair of peepers. They are often just a few sentences or even a simple splash of words, filled with raw emotion that range from sugary sweet and sky high happy to streams of anger, frustration, sadness, resentment... sometimes all of the above and everything inbetween... and are often directed at specific nouns of both the proper and common varieties.

The fact is, though, that in the draft box is where they must stay. It's not that I don't acknowledge the events behind these thoughts, it's just that giving them a life of their own serves no purpose other than to stoke some fires that, in general, are better left to smolder and die.

That is not to say that my writing is all hearts and flowers, for as any Hissy Fits reader knows, it's certainly not. It's just that I believe that the true power of words lies much less in their ability to separate, accuse or hinder than in their ability to connect, build up and inspire.

And so you see, it's not that I don't write more, it's that, at the end of the day, while this space is, indeed, about me, I am acutely aware of the intellectual and emotional sparks that can and do reside in words and I want the effect of my own words to be that they leave each person they reach thinking slightly bigger thoughts, wondering more than knowing, changed just a little for the better and maybe, just maybe, a bit more inspired than before happening upon the power of my words.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


An oldie but a goodie from my other blog:

So in my line of work (the real job, not the hobby), there are certain cases that leave an indelible mark on your soul. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about Hadley. Hadley was a kid with a severe disability with whom I had the pleasure of working. Hadley was special to me not only because she had an incredible spirit, but also because of her parents. They were amazing advocates who did two things that changed the lives of a significant number of children in their town and, really, across the country.

First, Hadley's father, after determining that it is unfun to have to medicate a child with nasty tasting drugs day in and day out, developed a little something called FlavRX. You know, when you go to the pharmacy and get to order your kid's medicine in specific flavors? Yup, that was him, and done solely for the love of his daughter but with a far reaching impact.

Second, Hadley's mother was on a mission to make Hadley's life as "normal" as possible. One of her huge frustrations was that her daughter couldn't play like other kids. Not to be deterred, this mom had an idea. What if she created a playground that was completely accessible for children who are differently abled? Thus, the idea of Hadley's Park was born. Hadley's mother was able to get some pretty major sponsors to step forward, including McDonald's Children's Charities and Playmobil, to create a theme-play park where, literally, all children could play. There's no use in trying to describe it as, really, you have to experience it first hand. It covers a huge amount of land and has larger than life interactive Playmobil structures (a fort, a castle, a ship) as well as many other fun things like a racing strip for bikes, big wheels, scooter, wheel chairs, walkers, or maybe just a pair of fresh legs. All of the equipment, including the climbing areas, is wheelchair accessible. The signs that tell about each area include the descriptions in braille. There are ASL blocks with which kids can practice signing the alphabet, there are swings to support all kinds of kids, even those with the lowest of muscle tone. Hadley's park opened many years ago and my children and I were blessed enough to log countless hours there when we lived close by. Ultimately, several other playgrounds were built in the National Capital Area and beyond using Hadley's park as a model. Today, parks like this exist in many places... though really, there ought to be more.

Not too long ago, right on the edge of Centennial Olympic Park, an "All Children" playground was dedicated. It's small, but it's there, and it's a start. It's rewarding for me to see that causes I've taken up or been inspired by through my work expanding. This is one of my favorite things to stand behind and I hope the trend continues.

I'd like to think that people strive for inclusion, though, sadly, I know this is not always the case. The fact is that the reward of inclusivity is far greater than that which comes (or, frankly, doesn't ever come) from being exclusionary. Hadley's parents had the means to figure out a "taste good" medicine mask at home as well as to create a perfect playground for her right in their own backyard, but instead, they chose to do these things for all the children in their town and beyond.

I guess it's all about how you view your circumstances in relation to the world at large and realizing that regardless of what you're going through, there are others who have been there or will be there... for really, life is a shared experience.

Friday, April 9, 2010

There Will Be an Answer

And so it came to pass today that I found myself surrounded by various people who are involved in the care and keeping of one cranky, albeit sassy, princess. I assure you, this is not an enviable position in which to find oneself, for me or for them.

It's exciting times for these folks when someone like me comes in while "active" and with out of the box symptomatology. I vaguely remember a flurry of activity and an injection as well as Ms. WhyNPsAreSometimesWayBetterThanDocs (AKA: The Angel) pulling out her cell phone and placing a call to a new rheumy she had just had lunch with to personally make me an appointment for next week and asking one of her assistants to phone Dr. RollsHerEyesAtMe and Dr. LooksAtMyMushyBrainz to give them an update and state her plan of action... and trust me, it was a statement, she never once was seeking their opinions.

As Ms. MightAsWellBeAVampire was sucking me dry to fill up vial #5, The Angel leaned over to me and whispered, "There's something here. I know it. You just need someone to connect the dots now. This time, we will get it figured out, and there WILL be an answer."

Let it be.