Personality Speaking

Funny the things that pass through your mind when you are simply minding your own business, just having that first cup of coffee in the quiet pre-dawn hours.

This morning my mind decided to take to me to the far away place of my birth, and it asked me, “Would I be a different person if my parents had chosen a different name for me?”

Man, did my mind go wandering off along all the merry little byways upon thinking that thought.

My given name is Patricia, although I have only been called Patricia if I was in trouble. For all of my memories, I have just been Trish, which is a good thing because I am definitely not a Patricia. Patricia is ladylike and proper. Patricia is delicate, refined, calm. I am none of those things.

And this is where my mind went wandering. Had I been called Patricia, instead of Trish, would I be those things? Or if Patti ( most definitely with an i) had been my nickname, would I be a Patti – bubbly, outgoing, outrageous, a hugger? Would a Rose by any other name still be like our not so bright Golden Girl?

Originally my parents thought to name me Elizabeth. Who would I be with that name? Probably more like a Liz than Lizzie, but most certainly not a Betty.

I sometimes think that we are partly who we are because of our names. Certain names hold certain qualities within them and when those names are given, the person so named just has to have those qualities within them.

Take the name Debbie. I have never met a Debbie that I did not like. Debbie is sweet, a good friend, caring and fun. Debbie understands. Or Robert. Never met a Robert I didn’t like either. Robert is a joker who knows when to be serious. Robert is emotionally strong and sees below the surface of things. Bob? Different guy. Bob is still a joker, fun loving, friendly, warm. He’s a beer and BBQ guy.

Is my Will going to grow up and carry the strength of William? Or because we call him anything but William, will he grow up to be friendly, consistent, steady, the comic relief?

Then there is the family name influence. Is there a weight to that on our personalities? William is a family name – goes back generations on my side. Does having a family name put pressure on you? Is there an obligatory sense hiding deep down that says you must live up to the family name?

My middle is a family name. I never really cared for the name, though I loved the woman so much I gave the same middle name to my daughter to honor her. I’m not sure I ever felt a need to live up to grandma’s standards or even to be like her. But I will say that I do have her hardworking nature and I hope I’m as brave as she was.

Celebrities often like to name their children quite unusual names. Their names have no qualities associated with them, so how do they know who to be? Who will Apple and North and Blu Ivy grow up to be? I always feel sorry for these kids anyway. The uniqueness of their name alone tells you who they are – a child of the rich and famous – and forever they are trapped into being someone’s child instead of their own person. If you were to meet Moon Unit, you would immediately think, “oh yeah, Zappa’s kid”.

Names from the past are becoming popular again. Girls names like Grace, Emma, and Lily are filling up the kindergartens. All while Tiffany, Brittany, and Taylor are past being soccer moms and are soon to be grandparents. I’m guessing they won’t be called me-maw.

At the end of all these musings upon names, I have to say that I do believe the name you are given does somewhat define who you are. Maybe it’s because the people who chose your name have certain expectations for you and your life, or maybe it’s just one of those unexplainable phenomenon in the world. I also know that while being named John, Mary, Cecil, Dorothy, or Seven may contribute to who you are, it also doesn’t keep you from being who you want to be.

Grown-ups Need Villages, Too

The quote that “It takes a Village to Raise a Child”, popped into my mind today as I was thinking about my friends, my support people, and my family members. The people who are holding me up and holding me together in this time of separation and fear.

Thru all of this social distancing, I am clearly seeing the people in my life who are showing themselves to be my village. I am seeing them in those terms.  The people who have formed around me, to build and grow. The ones who are raising me up – teaching me to be a better, stronger person. A kinder person. A more positive person. They are showing me who they really are and who I hope to be more like.

My sister. My sister, the Textile Ranger*,  has always been a strong force in my village. The one who has been with me since the beginning, who made up bedtime stories for me and played paper dolls with me. A smart and talented woman, she is generous and funny and she always has a shoulder for me to cry on. We enjoy each other’s company and we share a common background, a history, so we understand each other. We have inside jokes. We appreciate each others creativity. She is still the one I turn to for advice and wisdom. She is still the one who listens to me and hears what I am saying. I respect and admire her. I am sometimes in awe of her. There is a peacefulness when I am with her.

My work posse. A varied lot, these three women who have come to mean so much to me. Each with their own unique character and attitude and style.  We started chatting thru texts every morning during this pandemic.  We joke, we laugh, we bitch …we check in with one another.  The truth is, we all had things going on before Covid-19 flipped our world upside down. Not just business stuff, but life stuff.  So we awaken each day to our new little pattern. Coffee, tea, and texting.  It’s something I look forward to – their perspectives, their humor, their positivity in this time when so much out there is just plain scary. I see something in each one of them that I would like to better emulate. Strength, energy, generosity, perseverance, joy. These are the types of women who unexpectedly walk into your life and just make you feel so blessed because they have.

Then of course, there is my BFF Jill**. Only her name isn’t really Jill – her name is Mama Jo. Friends for years, thru thick and thin. Since she moved out of Texas, we definitely don’t get to see each other very often. She is part of my long distance village.  Long phone calls, Facebook sightings…. Jo is the girl who teaches me how to be a friend. The one who is there at 3 in the morning, who goes out of her way to rescue you, who sits for hours in a hospital waiting room with you or in a hospital room for you because you live 1200 miles away and your dad is really sick.  I wish that everyone could have a friend like her.

Teachers.  The real ones, who under normal circumstances would be suffering my kid’s inattentiveness and charming attempts to not do his work in a regular school building.  This year, this thing that we are all trying to do online, these teachers are a huge part of my village.  And not just because of what they are doing for the kids, but because of the support they are giving to me and other frustrated parents everywhere.  We have three teachers here in the land of 6th grade.  They call me.  They email me.  They check on me. Am I doing ok? How is it going for me? Do we need anything? Is there anything they can do to help? I know very well that they are working harder than ever to keep us going, to keep teaching. I know they have their own families and are as equally affected by this quarantine as anyone.  But they have inserted themselves into my village and I could not be more appreciative.

We do not lose the need to learn and grow and be supported because we become adults.  We still need people to pick us up when we fall down, to help us become better as individuals,  to remind us of the good that is already within us.  Here and now, in the world we are living in, we need our villages more than ever. We need these people in our lives – the ones who listen and laugh and love and live through the daily ups and downs with us. 

Maybe we can’t be physically with them right now, but knowing they are right there makes getting through this time so much easier. 

*Deep in the Heart of Textiles, Textile Ranger’s Blog

**In case you want to see that commercial.

Anxiety Meet The Coronavirus

So much anxiety out there in the world today. This pandemic has caused even the calmest to freak out a little bit. I get it – it’s scary. Everyone should be concerned. Someone you know, a parent, a child, a friend, will probably contract this virus. And the unknowns of it make it all the more worrisome.

Never in my lifetime has government across the country asked us to “shelter in place”. Nor have I ever had to send my children to school on-line to keep them safe. I never before thought my job in the restaurant business as one that would be defined as essential. So many things from our normal world have changed so quickly. It is unnerving. It is anxiety causing.

By nature, I am an introvert, not very social, somewhat hermitty. I like time by myself and after dealing with the public or social gatherings, I need time by myself. Social distancing is not something I fear. But even for me, someone who works only part time and is self- capable, the disruptive force of the coronavirus on my limited contact with people is more than maddening. In full, I don’t know what I feel. Some loneliness? Some alone-ness? I am not worried about the virus as much as I am worried about the people being shut away from one another. At a time when we as people most need a comforting hug, it is not safe to give each other one. There are people who feel alone or lonely when the world is not turning on an axis of quickly spreading infection. How do they feel now? Do they have people to help them thru this? Do they feel as safe as they can feel? Is there someone who is reaching out? This is my anxiety. Is everyone being looked after? And the answer is no, not everyone.

I know that what I can do is to purposefully stay in contact with my friends and family thru phone calls, texts and emails. I can reach out to the anxious and try to lessen their fears or make them laugh or just listen. I can support them with my love. And doing that takes away the extreme-ness of our distancing for me as well. We are all still here. We are together. We are just not in the same room.

A Girl Should Have Some Fantasy

I am a baseball fan. I love everything about the game including ridiculous and extremely trivial statistics, jokes about pitchers, and hating the guy who left your team just for more money.  I love the Cinderella teams and the just called-up rookie who hits his first ever major league home run.  I love dollar hot dog night and I love how the game of baseball relates to life.

For years there has been this Fantasy Baseball thing. Guys I knew who loved baseball, but frequently took it way too seriously and too personally, would talk about it.   They would discuss their drafts and their aces and their injured players. They would wear me out with the talk of their fake teams.  When I wondered if Yu Darvish would recover from his Tommy John surgery and play again for real for my beloved Texas Rangers, they were worried about his draft position when he did return.  When Prince Fielder re-injured his neck and was forced to retire from baseball, I cried a little bit. My friends in Fantasy, worried who they could find to replace him on their “team”.  I really didn’t understand the whole thing.

Until now.

This year, I decided it was time for a little fantasy of my own.  I got together with my grown son, who was also a first time player.  Together, with the help of the ESPN app, we figured out how to draft our teams.  It was SO MUCH FUN!  Well, it was fun when we got the player we were going for and not getting him stolen out from under us by some unknown, and therefore hideous, player-thief.

After drafting our first teams, the adrenaline was rushing.  But wait…we didn’t get Elvis on that team.  Oh, I really wanted Elvis.  And what about Kershaw?  Some player-thief got him.  It would be nice to draft Kershaw.  I wish we had known more about drafting.  I wish we had had the first pick.  Hey, why don’t we both get one more team? I think we could do two teams.

Cut to 7 weeks into the season. The grown child has 25 teams.  That’s the limit for free play teams.  In my rookie season, I am managing 20 teams of my own.  Elvis Andrus is on about 6 of them and I managed to sneak in and get Clayton Kershaw on 2. Every day I check out my teams.  Which ones are winning, which ones are not.  Can I find a better hitting 2nd baseman?

My loyalty to my favorite players has gone to the wayside in this game.  With only 25 active players allowed on your team, the ballplayers you love for their heart and hustle, get dropped when their batting averages drop.  If a pitcher isn’t throwing strikes and getting me points, I search for someone who can.  I found this guy Jose Berrios.  He pitches for the Minnesota Twins.  I like him a lot.  He has gotten me points.

When your favorites are doing well, hitting home runs and adding up RBI’s, it’s awesome! When pitchers are hurling K’s and maintaining that low ERA, it’s awesome.  Until you get that alert.  Alert: Cole Hamels placed on the 10 day disabled list (DL) with oblique strain.  What?!?!  He can’t play for 10 days?  The reality is he will be out for 8 weeks or more.  Aaaaccckk!  You cannot find someone to replace him.  Oh, you will find someone to fill in his slot while he rehabs, but it won’t be the same.  Your fantasy team, your ALL star team, won’t be the same.  They didn’t tell me this would happen.  They didn’t tell me about DTD (day-to-day) listings either – when your very best starter may or may not start because he may or may not have a minor injury.  And Mondays!  They didn’t tell me about Mondays, when NObody plays because in Major League Baseball almost everybody has off on Monday.  Or they have Thursday off.  Mondays and Thursdays – terrible days for fantasy.

But here is the great thing about Fantasy Baseball.  You can draft the leagues best players, the future hall of famers, the hot new rookie (Aaron Judge), the latest call-up from the minors.  You can check your team every day and make adjustments to your daily line-ups or you can leave it alone and just believe your team, the one you hand selected, will come out ahead.  You can follow your favorites and keep up with their stats.  You can add to the conversation around the water cooler or at your local bar.  And you can take your love of the game with you wherever you go.  It’s not just a “guy” thing.  If you are a girl who loves baseball, then you should have some Fantasy.