Monday, June 01, 2009


If you've been stumbling into CHEESE for a while for lack of anything more constructive to do, you already are aware my job title is that of a *Commitment Specialist*...that's right...I "commit" people as part of my employment. Practically speaking, I evaluate folks with an alleged mental illness (another favorite word of mine...alleged) who are behaving in a dangerous manner BECAUSE of that mental illness, and I make a legal decision/sign the court documents to *commit* them to a psychiatric hospital (or not). Hence the title, *Commitment Specialist*.

*Commitment* is a part of my every day work life and a task I do not assume lightly. Likewise, in my personal life, (again, if you've been paying any attention to your perusings on CHEESE at all!) I am all about *commitment* the point I develop anal spasms if I feel/perceive I am falling short of any particular *commitment* I have agreed to in my life. Sometimes I am known to grit and crawl my way through a *commitment* because of my inability to tolerate the tightening of my anus that comes upon me if I were to say "no" or "I can't do this or that now". After all, I was raised with a work and personal ethic (by a law-abiding, hard working, God-fearing, Midwestern mother!) to uphold my end of any bargain and to keep my goes against my grain (and my anus) to do anything otherwise. And I FEEL like a failure, or worse yet, a *liar* when I DO NOT follow through with my *commitments*.

Lately, it seems the Universe is hell bent on challenging my notions about *commitment*...and It's been doing so in highly educational ways (said with tongue in cheek) placing multiple commitment phobes (you know the type...the yes/no/maybe answer-ees!) and promise-breakers in my path as well as forcing ME to evaluate prior *commitments* I have made that must now change due to health reasons.

I try not to judge people, but I must admit I am an *action* oriented thinker and I tend to trust others based upon their actions instead of their words. One of my favorite sayings (and one I use in many trainings about communication...another *C* word) is, "Most people will not recall what you say, but they will ALWAYS remember what you do and how you made them feel." I believe this statement and I try to live by it (or another favorite saying, "Live by example"). And lately, I've been noticing I am feeling quite poorly about some of the ACTIONS others are taking around me and in my life...or, better put, INACTIONS!

Commitment phobes tend to be those types that will TELL you one thing, while DOING another. They are the people in your life who, when noticing YOU complete a particular project or task, say, "Oh, I was also thinking about doing that" which I want to reply, "BITE ME", or "If you took the time to THINK about doing this or that, why didn't you go ahead and take the time to ACT upon this or that?!?" Especially when the task at hand is unpopular or doesn't make me feel better to hear anyone say they THOUGHT about doing something, but didn't go ahead and do it and NOW are taking the time to watch me COMPLETE it! We all know these types...and let's hope you are not one of them because I don't want to have to vote you off the CHEESE island!! **Faint sound of Tiki torches being snuffed out for effect here**

Another group of people who annoy me (and I've had my fair share of run ins with this group of late) are those that *commit* to do something up front, then claim they have FORGOTTEN to follow through. I tend to go out and buy these folks a new, ball point pen and a pad of paper, and encourage them to WRITE THE EFFING THING DOWN so they don't "forget" next time...beyond that, I restrain myself from full facial slaps or knuckles to their noggins.

I feel short changed by people who don't follow through with their *commitments*, especially when that lack of follow through directly impacts my life (the REST of you are on your own!)...I feel disrespected and discounted...I sometimes feel hurt and often feel angry. I would really rather prefer someone NOT tell me they are going to do something or follow through with this or that rather than feel the fallout of their lack of *commitment*. And, if the above happens too often, I tend to be a true Leo (who is loyal at all costs until crossed!), bare my fangs, and disappear proudly into the jungle shaking my mane, never to answer the person's email/phone calls/or knocks at my door again. Harumpf!

So, you can just about imagine the depth of my conflicted feelings/thoughts I have been experiencing of late while making some important life decisions about what I CAN and NO LONGER can do in my work life as well as my personal life because of Multiple Sclerosis symptoms. It has been a long and arduous road down the path of accepting my MS is now prohibiting me from doing some of the things I used to do with ease...prohibiting me from following through on some of the *commitments* I have previously made and causing me to conserve my necessary energy just to complete basic tasks. MS has caused me to FEEL like one of the commitment phobes above, which has nearly caused my anus to bleed from all its spastic responsive tightening! (And, if you listen closely, you can probably just make out the far away sound of this anal retentive personality tightening up like the locks at Fort Knox!)

Not only has it been a painful process on my metaphoric a$$, this has also been a painful emotional process...I am, after all, a DO-ER and much of my self-worth and sense of achievement has come from being the "go to gal" in both my work and at play. I have ALWAYS been the one to *get the job done* and I am a respected professional because of it (yes, dear coworkers reading KNOW this is true, so shudup already! LOL). Being a *committed* individual is who I identity...and it saddens me to gaze in the mirror and now not recognize the face of the person staring back at me. I am having to come to grips with an ever-changing persona and belief about myself, paring down my *commitments*, and having to say "no" because of my body when my heart is screaming "yes!"

I try very hard each day to practice positive inner talk and remind myself I am STILL the same person and STILL a valued coworker, friend, companion, sister, etc...just the same person with LESS ability to juggle all of the flaming batons I USED to keep up in the air (didn't want to use the "balls" analogy here because I KNOW some of you would run with that picture of me keeping my "balls" in the air...GMTA!), but I'm STILL a juggler. And I try to remind myself the QUALITY of my work and personal interactions are STILL the same, just done at a bit of a slower pace or less often. I must say to myself out loud sometimes that I am "not a bad person because I didn't do" yadda yadda. I am not lazy, I am not irresponsible, and I am not *wrong* for saying "no" to certain challenges and CHOOSING an easier course to follow.

On good days like today, I am at peace with these changes...

"The giving up of personality traits, well-established patterns of behavior, ideologies, and even whole life styles...these are major forms of giving up that are required if one is to travel very far on the journey of life."

~~M. Scott Peck~~


Webster said...

Bravo to being at peace with what is. Maybe that's what that little hummingbird was telling you yesterday. To surrender.

Spaz Attack said...

Ah yes BC... you've just paraphrased my own physical and emotional journey of the past 3 1/2 years. Major life change of quitting my pressure cooking job -- was that too soon? At the time I felt I had to; my neuro felt I needed to (my brain and spine MRIs showed lite up lesions looking like strings of Christmas lights), and yet I wish I had taken a leave of absence first. However, the reality is that I'm NOT the same person and was killing myself at work trying to juggle the flaming batons while going above and beyond to keep my committments at home and work.
Now, about wading through a bog of deep depression, mourning my loss of personal identity and most of all my extraordinary ability to push myself/energy I guess I can mimic ya Brainsplat by repeating your words: On good days I am at peace.
However, I disagree with M. Scott Peck about giving up of "personality traits" and such is "required if one is to travel far ont he journey of life." What a bunch of crap! Yeah...I'm more sympathic to the needs of others, however, I don't think living with a chronic, progressive disease that has FORCED me to give up traits is making my journey through life any better.
I'm still compulsive about starting projects, making and setting goals...and finding my MS forces me to put things off to another day difficult to accept to say the least.
In spite of that I DO tell myself to quit my belly aching because people worldwide are suffering tremendously through starvation, economic tragadies, etc.
Actually, writing my feelings here makes me sound like a really depressing person to be around. In person I LOVE joking around and hearing people laugh.
Did you hear the one about the Blond in Texas calling an airlines to ask how long the flight would take from Texas to New YOrk?

"Just a minute," said the airline worker in an attempt to put her on hold.

"Oh, thanks so much," said the Blond as she hung up.

Living Day to Day with Multiple Sclerosis said...

Well Put Brain Cheese!!!! However you really need to learn to control the anal spasms. I can only imagine how that must feel.

Miss Chris said...

Your post are always so interesting...

harkoo said...

You don't need to feel less than...if you have to place new boundaries on what you can do....You have MS and are trying to survive.....Joyce

Denver Refashionista said...

I can really relate to this post. When I was first coming to terms with the physical limits placed on me by MS, the hardest part was mental. I was so afraid to commit to anything for fear I might have to flake. I try to always honor my commitments so the idea of not doing that makes me nuts.

Herrad said...

Hi Braincheese,

Difficult coming to terms with somehing like MS.



pUNKrOCKfairy said...

When my husband and I first started dating I heard him telling another guy that he'd like to build a deck onto his house because there was nowhere to hangout outside. And I thought to myself, "How many times have I heard a man say he'd like to do a project on the house that he never actually completes?" Well, the next weekend he started AND FINISHED our deck. He even suckered my lazy-ass brother into helping him! That was when I mentally moved him from the "Guy I like to fool around with" column to the "Guy I have to keep all to myself forever and ever" column.

Commitment, in all it's incarnations, is worth getting all fired up about.

Webster said...

Come on over to my place and pick up the "My Wonderful Favourite" award. It's there for you.