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Weekly Lessons #2

Another week, some more lessons.  I mean, can I just get a virtual high five for the two weeks of consistent(ish) posting?!  Self-fiving for sure.

Let’s get this show on the road then, shall we?  I’m sippin’ on this oat milk CBD latte and I am ready to get some words out.  Yes, I know.  I was surprised that somewhere in this area of Indiana had an oat milk CBD latte. Granted, it was a 30-minute drive from home but incredibly worth it.

– It is worth the work.

I don’t know what your “it” is.  I have a ton of them.  I don’t like calling them goals.  It feels, well, generic to call them goals.  I like calling them mountains.  “I conquered a mountain” sounds a whole hell of a lot more bad ass to me than “I accomplished a goal.” I have mountains ahead of me in almost every aspect of my life right now.  CrossFit brings about daily mountains with skills I haven’t figured out and weights I’ve yet to lift.  Man, training my energetic, stubborn pup is a big mountain.  Maintaining friendships and relationships while at a distance is one.  Working on continuing to build and nurture a happy, healthy romantic relationship through a deployment is a big one. Some, like deployment, have mountaintops that are a bit higher and more out of reach than others.  There are others, like grief, that vary in height and are followed by some valleys, that seem to keep coming across my path.

Oh, but how glorious is that mountaintop.  Even more glorious? Getting to soak in the view with others.  As I’ve mentioned before, I am working at an ABA clinic, primarily with kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  Some of these kiddos are non-verbal or minimally verbal.  Functional communication is my goal with these kids.  I want them to be able to tell others they hurt somewhere, they’re hungry, or they need to go to the bathroom.  One of the ways we are able to do this is through the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices.  ASHA.org defines AAC as including “all forms of communication (other than oral speech) that are used to express thoughts,
needs, wants, and ideas”.  There can be aided, a tool or device of sorts, or unaided, your facial expressions, gestures or signs.  I’ve been working with a handful of kiddos with an app on the iPad.  Simply put, they click an icon or variety of icons and the device speaks for them.

While that was a grossly simplified explanation of AAC devices, I’m hoping you’re with me here.  Because I’m only at this clinic for a relatively brief amount of time, I’m feeling some major self-inflicted pressure to do as much for these kids as possible while I’m here.  Now let me tell you, getting a device for a kid can be quite the process.  There is a lot of work to be done with insurance and that includes a decent-sized report that needs to be typed up.  Until this week, I had yet to be involved in getting a device for a child from start to finish. This week, we got the email that one of our kids’ devices was approved and on its way.  That box came and I could hardly control myself I was beyond excited.

Just as excited as I was? His BCBA.  She and I went out to our kid’s mother and explained that this device was just for her child.  Now, if you know me then you know that I am not to be tamed when I am excited about something and I’m never quite sure why others are not as excited as I am.  It was beyond enjoyable having someone else celebrate conquering this small mountain with me.  She and I stood on the mountaintop together, side by side, soaking up the view that this process gave us.  Man, was it beautiful and man, was it worth it.

I feel as though that’s a mountain that’s easier to conquer.  I have a harder time conquering my personal mountains.  I’m an obliger so this makes sense.  That’s one of the Four Tendencies, as described by Gretchen Rubin.  I am better at meeting expectations when others are counting on me but I have difficulties meeting inward expectations.  It’s helped me realize that I benefit from talking with someone about goals, plans, etc. I know what you’re thinking—it’s hard to believe I am a verbal processor who benefits from talking things out with others.  It’s helped me realize how I can be more successful in all areas of my life.

Also, if you haven’t taken then Four Tendencies Quiz, I highly recommend taking the quiz if you haven’t! Here is the link: https://quiz.gretchenrubin.com/

Oh man, I actually seem to have a natural segue in this blog! Go Dani, go!

– Self-discovery is a fun and weird and offensive and beautiful process.

I am super blessed to have a boyfriend that indulges me in all of this stuff.  The other day I asked him to take an enneagram test.  Any other enneagram fans out there? If so, let’s have coffee and go down that rabbit hole.

I did the enneagram assessment before I moved to North Carolina.  I discovered I was a 1. I was not surprised, really.  I figured I was.  It was fun seeing the different ways each of the nine personalities manifests themselves within me.  Some of them manifest themselves in healthier manners than others.  I know it can sound kind of self-helpy but I love these inward discovery things.

For example, let’s venture back to the Four Tendencies.  I am much more likely to hold myself to things or “excel” if I am surrounded by others.  My intrinsic motivation needs a kick in the ass sometimes.  It’s helped me learn that I do better when I have others to hold me accountable.  So, ya know, thank God for a boyfriend that shares a Google Doc with me so we can share every single workout we do with each other.

I think I enjoy these self-discovery tools as much as I do because it allows me to take a step back from a situation and evaluate the why.  Gosh, it’s incredibly important we identify a “why” to our behaviors.  Maybe I’ll keep bragging about the boyfriend.  Yeah, I’m going to do that.  (Hi, babe. Sorry, maybe I should’ve asked first but I think you knew this came with the territory of dating a writer.) I was chatting with a friend from Fayetteville, Syd, the other day on the phone.  She was asking about my relationship and how things were going despite the distance.  In essence, I told her it feels like such a healthy relationship.  He and I went through some life prior to meeting each other and with that has come massive amounts of growth from both of us.  I’ve noticed a pattern of sorts.  Emotions get high, days get long, and hearts become anxious, but after maybe a spiral or two, we’re able to take a step back and look at the “why”.  That doesn’t happen unless we know ourselves and what has happened in our lives that have molded and shaped us into the people we are.

Another thing “self-discovery” allowed me this week is the comfort to sit in my grief.  There is a fantastic Instagram account, @enneagramandcoffee, who posted something in June.  Deep into an Instagram stalking session I found it.  The title of the photo posted was “For those who are grieving” and has each enneagram type and the ways in which others can help them grieve.  Remember, I’m an enneagram 1.  Beside 1 is “Remind them that there’s nothing wrong with not feeling better yet.”  Whoa.  I read that, exhaled a shaky breath, and shed a few tears.  Man, that was powerful.  I believe it was just days before I was expressing to Mike that I was frustrated I was still grieving a loss that happened nearly seven years ago.  Bless his soul, he did remind me that it’s probably going to suck for forever and it’s okay to still be grieving.  Sometimes, though, we can seek validation for the ways we’re feeling from others that simply do not understand it because that’s just not how they’re wired.  Self-discovery allows us to validate ourselves in these situations.  How powerful is it to not need external validation but to be able to find it within our own hearts.

So, it is currently Sunday night and it has taken me over 24 hours to finish this blog post.  Oh well.  It’s being done before another week begins, right?  Ah, crap.  This is where I sum it all up in one sentence.  You would think by now I’d be ready for this part of the blog but I never am.  That’s what happens when you ramble and call it a blog post.  Well, here we go.  Climb all the mountains and soak up the views along the way.  Yeah, it’s okay to pat yourself on the back when you get to the top.  Also figure out who you are.  Get down in those messy corners you keep from everyone else.  It’s hard and it’s not always pretty but the better we know ourselves, the less likely we are to hide the pieces of us we aren’t quite sure of.  And how beautiful it is to be fully known by yourself.

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