Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Codependent People Rock!

A big shout out to all you fellow codependent people!! It’s time to blog a little about this tendency, which only can be found in REALLY awesome people! J
 First, I do NOT like labels. However, I fit this label to a T. If you look it up, you may see a photo of me smiling as I am trying to save the world, WHILE trying to keep everyone happy in the process. I have yet to figure out that cannot actually be done. That negative idea (the one that I cannot happily save the world and make sure everyone is happy) is depressing and deflating. (This is a red flag and prime example of a codependent’s thoughts!).
            If you look up the definition of Codependency on the internet, you may find something like this:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Codependency is a tendency to behave in overly passive or excessively caretaking ways that negatively impact one's relationships and quality of life. It also often involves putting one's needs at a lower priority than others while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others. Codependency may also be characterized by denial, low self-esteem, excessive compliance, and/or control patterns.
In simple terms, a codependent person is also known as “an enabler.” We are the people who you can ask to do anything, and we will do it PLUS something extra. We cannot say no without feeling guilty. We are the people who pick up the slack if someone else is not doing their job . . . therefore ENABLING them to BE a slacker. In the long run, everybody loses. The codependent person is exhausted and feels taken advantage of AND the other person does not learn how to handle his/her own problems. Only through problem solving can we become a responsible, accountable, competent person. If there is an enabler around, one may not reach this place of pride because they never had to or never got the chance.
What can I say? Our hearts were in the right places!!
I have recently decided to get a grip on this part of my life, which I THOUGHT was simply a part of my personality. On top of that, I thought it was one of my God-given gifts and that I SHOULD sacrificially do whatever I saw needing to be done. I thought I was doing the right thing by trying to do everything for everybody at my own expense . . . as though I was CALLED to do it. Granted, there is a fine line between the two, but that line got muted out somewhere along the path of my life and now they look very similar. I don’t always know where I stop and someone else starts, or visa versa. That’s bad for me and you, if you happen to be the “other person.”
So now, I am in the process of doing a study in order to find the healthy line. It has been a great/terrible experience and I will share bits and pieces of what I am learning as I go. (Keep in mind, I am NOT a counselor and don’t claim to be. You are on your own if you are a fellow codependent, heart-in-the-right-place-enabler. Seek your own counselor! . . . Look at me not doing that for you!! See how well I’m paying attention?!)
Basically, the process is nothing more than having healthy boundaries. Those boundaries are just as much for me as those I come in contact with throughout my day. So far, I stink at it and I am in the pre-school phase . . . but I shall graduate with honors!!
I heard that most everyone has a little bit of codependent traits, but who knows? I only know I do. In class, I have learned to stop focusing on what other people’s issues are (or what I think they may be,) and deal with the chic in the mirror.
Ahh, “Self-Reflection.” There is no polite, proper way to say this other than to simply say it. Self-reflection sucks. Pardon the spiciness; just giving a fair warning in case you are considering trying it. If you attempt to really look at yourself and get to know who you are, what you are doing and why . . . it is not always pretty. I describe it as, “Getting to know someone and finding out you really do not like her very much . . . and that person is yourself.”

The absolute CRAZIEST part of this Codependency concept was a real shocker for me. One of the primary characteristics of Codependency is

Monday, March 28, 2011

Texting, Facebook and Technology

As I think about technology, I am in awe of all that can be done. So many great things have been made available to us over the years and it appears that we have moved forward. Yet, we may be taking a few steps backwards in some important areas. The primary area of the backwards movement seems to be basic communication . . . the normal, verbal way.
Texting and Facebook (or "Social Networking") have become a way of life and communication to so many of us. Though I can see and do use the benefits myself, it has also distressed me to recognize the downside. Over the past few months, I have done a little experiment and taken a closer look at myself and others regarding communication.
I cannot help but wonder, “Is anyone going to be able to carry on a verbal conversation in a few years? What happened to direct eye contact when speaking? Are my children going to suffer some sort of damage to their eyes and thumbs from texting and such? Should I be concerned about the waves of whatever comes from cell phones because they ALWAYS have their phones near their bodies?”

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Purpose of This Blog

I will begin posting blogs (short stories/discussion, thought provoking things.) Some were written years ago, and some are recent. However, all are about life and stay on an inspiring, insightful level.
Please feel free to leave comments about your favorites. Hopefully, many will be able to relate to “Kasi.”
The most unique part about me as a writer is not so impressive, but may be inspiring to someone. I cannot type without looking at the keys. I have successfully written a 400+ page novel with that handicap! I author another blog, and have done so for quite some time, but not under my pen name. (If you happen to be one of those 200-ish readers and know my identity, shh please. No references to any name other than KASI.) Kasi is a name designed for the personal writings I publish. I am an average, middle aged, middle class woman with a hope of relating to many people on an approachable, diverse, meaningful level . . . men and women, young and young at heart.
My ultimate goal is to discover and unveil all God has called me to do, and do it to the best of my ability. Credit for the good goes only to Him.
At this point, I am not sure how often I will post or how many I will post at one time. Each blog is special to me and has taught me something which has brought me to the place I am now. However, I have not arrived to my destination . . . so I will write!
I invite you to join Kasi’s journey. Writing has blessed my life and I hope it will do the same for you as you read. God bless you.

Blessed, Not Cursed

It was Sunday afternoon in late February '08 and I had offered to take my youngest daughter on a Mom/Daughter date to a local shopping mall. We had not done this alone very many times due to her age, as well as the fact that we were seldom without her older sister. We had it all planned out by about ten that morning.
We decided to go to church and then I would take her to the big mall. It would begin with our lunch date at a relatively nice restaurant just inside the mall entrance. I was fortunately given a $30 gift card as a Christmas gift and could not think of a better way to spend it than with my little girl!
The next stop would be at her favorite store where she had a $100 gift card from Christmas.
We were both thrilled with our plans. She was overjoyed about all the things she could buy with that much money and I was elated to reap the joys of providing my child with the pleasure of a nice meal as well as getting something new. I was thankful for the gift cards. Without them, we would NOT be planning such a day. I did not even have one dollar in my wallet.

We were a little late to church, about thirty minutes actually, but I was determined I was NOT going to miss again. I can probably count on both hands how many times I had attended a service in the past six months. After a couple of very deep heart to heart talks with my oldest daughter in the past week, it became obvious I needed to get that changed back to the way it had been and should have remained. I have taken her most every Sunday and Wednesday, but I drop her off and go back to get her. For some reason, every part of going to church has been one of the hardest things to get past since my separation and divorce.
Getting ready without a whole family and then traveling there without a Dad driving our car was unnatural. Walking in as the leader/head of my family instead of on the arm of the leader/head of the family made me feel like part of me was missing. I tried to smile confidently as the faces came into view displaying looks of concern, questions, sadness and some who were just curious. I did not enjoy escorting myself to my own seat or sitting in the congregation feeling like a zebra in the midst of a field of horses. All of the married couples were magnified, they were EVERYWHERE. As I saw a husband with his arm around his wife, and the wife content under the shelter of his arm, I felt unprotected.
I noticed how comfortable and normal everyone else appeared . . . It is still a bit uncomfortable and painful. It very well may be, but it was time to suck it up and get over it. Life was going on, my kids were learning by my example and I needed the benefits of scheduled, group “God/Jesus time” every week. I decided I had given myself enough time. I explained, not excused, my actions to my daughter and promised her I would get through my struggles and get back on track.
That is exactly what I did, and it went pretty well. I sat way up in the balcony . . . in the last row . . . but all the same, I WAS sitting in church. I attempted to be invisible and hoped no one would notice me and my uncomforableness (if that is even a word.) I took my oldest daughter to the early service and came back home to get ready with my youngest.
She had been sick, so that was a tempting excuse to delay my entrance back into this uncomfortable situation. However, she was better. I had to be brave. I decided to make a big change in attempt to make some part of the situation feel a little different and hopefully easier. We decided not to wear dresses like we always did; instead, we dressed casually. We found a good parking spot, sat up in a hidden place in the balcony and really enjoyed the sermon. After it was over, we headed straight for the mall.
            It surprisingly rained on the drive there, but we were still pumped up about our afternoon. We parked near the entrance of the “gift certificate restaurant,” which was coincidentally located near her “gift certificate store.”

There was a five minute wait before we could be seated, so my little girl and I sat on the bench in front of the restaurant near the entrance to the jam-packed mall. We both quickly fell silent in awe as our eyes were over stimulated with the commotion and activity swarming in front of us. There were so many people, all within the same space, but all remaining in their own private world.
We saw young people, old people, small people and large people. Some were wearing smiles and others had irritable frowns; some talking while walking, others silently moving across the floor. There were lots of strollers and a few wheelchairs rolling in front of us as though it was some sort of street. It was obvious some people were clearly “regulars” to the mall scene by the way they fit in so comfortably, while others were noticeably on a special treat outing.
I noticed people walking alone, and then . . . those who were there as a family. I fell into a trance.
There they were: the mom, dad and kids, all walking together . . . just like we had always done. They were living MY life, the one I had always known and now it was gone. I looked at them and saw their life. It was not fair. I began to feel the pain and feel sorry for myself as well as my children. My heart and mind focused on my deep loss and a harsh reality arose. I am now a single mom.
I resentfully wondered if the families even appreciated what they had. These people did not even realize how fortunate they were and how good they had it.


I am startled back to reality by a woman’s soft, gentle voice.

Excuse me Miss. I could not help but notice you and your little girl sitting together. She looks just like you. It took my mind back to a place my heart will never forget. I just wanted to tell you to hold tightly to these moments with your precious child, they are memories you will always treasure. I loved when I was in your shoes and I would love to experience it all over again, just one more time. I know that can not happen and I am not angered or envious to see the two of you . . . in fact it warms my heart to be reminded what I have experienced and the love I have felt and know is real. I lost my daughter a year ago. Everyone said she looked just like me too. I am sorry for staring.
I was simply remembering . . . and just wanted you to know what you have . . . right here on this bench.

I sat in silence.
I had focused on what I did not have and envied someone else’s blessing and gift of a moment. Maybe, I was even a bit angry. I had completely overlooked what I did have and had lost my gratefulness. It is a truth that no matter what, someone will always have it better than you . . . and you will always have it better than someone else.
Little did I know, as I sat seeing someone else in a place I wished I could be, another set of eyes was viewing me in the same light. To her, I “had it all.”
She was right. I would not trade that moment and memory with my child for anything. I took my daughter shopping, hand in hand, with a smile on my face and thankfulness in my heart. I was not wishing I was anyone else. I was just happy to be me.

Kasi M. Bryon
© 2008

A Tribute to Chiggers

This one is for you, my sweet friend, you know who you are. I have written your request: “A Chigger Dissertation.” Let’s talk about chiggers.
First and foremost, as irritating as they are, I must say, I love that name/word: “chiggers.” It has a neat ring to it and it is even a bit funny to hear and say.
I have never given chiggers a lot of thought, in fact, I know no one who has given them much thought. I have recently, however, had reason to think about this little creature who is so tiny he . . . or she . . . or it (does it even have a gender?) is not able to be seen with the human eye. That is small!
At one time I wrote a few questions I have that I would love to ask God, and a little chigger would fall into one of the categories. The question was, “What is the purpose of annoying little things like fleas, ticks, lice and chiggers?”
They seem to have no function or ability other than to be a bother, kind of like the appendix. It is small and has no known purpose for survival as an organ other than to rupture and make us sick or even kill us. Therefore, I can not help but wonder; why did God go to the trouble of creating these things?
Well, I have an answer, my fellow confused people, maybe not the correct answer, but one that could be the answer! All these things are small and we see them as insignificant. They are annoying and beneath us. We are bigger, smarter and more powerful . . . Or, so we think. I suspect a chigger’s purpose is God’s little way of teaching us to have respect for the little things.


You see, I went for a visit to see my friend in, of all places, Chicago, Illinois. Not the wilderness, but Chicago. We did not go hiking or do any landscaping. In fact, I did not even walk through her grass. I arrived and left by walking on the concrete drive/sidewalk and into the house, never through a chigger environment. When we got the kids to bed, we did sit outside at night, but on the deck.
During this visit, I became stricken with painful, annoying, itching spots all over my body. There were a few at first then a total of over forty, only on my feet and legs. Soon, they were on my back and arms . . . even on my hands, and of all places . . . my fingers!
“MISERY . . . I am in MISERY!”
They made an itch, a deep, intense itch that overtook my body and brain. I had to scratch harder, until it hurt, simply to reach a level of relief and satisfaction. The bites even bled and actually scarred my skin. At one point, I felt a bit sick, as though I had a poison in my body injected by whatever had attacked me.
I had not seen a bug/insect on me and never dreamed the bites would be from chiggers because of the part of the country I was staying. Then, my friend developed a similar problem. We soon heard that indeed, restaurants had closed their outdoor seating due to . . . chiggers.
NOW we were in a conversation. Our lives had been affected, our comfort had been interrupted, our skin had the look of leprosy, and we were scratching ourselves like dogs.
Dignity is difficult to have at this point; we are desperate for a cure. I began to research chiggers because no one seemed to know much about them.
Were we targets of attack or were we a tasty feast? Was their intention to inflict pain and injury, or were they hungry? I heard they burrow into our skin. I heard they stick a little straw in our skin. I heard that clear nail polish will kill them.
I needed answers . . . I needed the truth!
What is up with this annoying little insect? In fact, I am not sure it is even big enough to be called an insect, and I think its title is a “mite.”
I agree with that word: M-I-T-E, another spelling, M-I-G-H-T.
Its meaning: “Great power and physical strength.”
Yes, the mite has “might.”
I now acknowledge its power and strength. I respect you, tiny chigger . . . You are my inspiration, my guru.
Let us learn from a little chigger. It can not speak or even be seen, but it is a great teacher. I see this all now, God, loud and clear . . . gotcha.
Small does not mean weak, large does not mean powerful. I want to be like a chigger; not in a bad, annoying way, but in a different way.

As I helplessly sit with my body covered in obvious signs of the presence of something I never even saw, I acknowledge the little things DO indeed exist and can be very powerful. The chiggers have left their mark, made their power and presence known to me and all who see my skin.
I am also “small;” a small person in size, but also in the world. I am like many who think her existence can not possibly be profound enough to affect a life. I like that even the most powerful, wealthy man or woman can be brought to his/her knees by a small, insignificant, tiny CHIGGER.
There is coincidentally no known cure for chiggers other than time.
That is right, your massive amounts of money and intelligence will do you no good at the hands of a tiny chigger. They do stick a little straw-like thing in you. It is used it to take what they want and inject what they want to and from your body, and then they go about their merry way. Intensifying its host’s helplessness, this little inserted straw can not be seen by the human eye or be removed if we wanted to try. We have to wait until our bodies break it down and absorb it before the itch goes away.
The crazier part is that chiggers get to us by accident. Their preferred host is a reptile or bird. (According to one article.) They search for the soft, thinner skin areas to get their little mission accomplished, which happen to be the most sensitive, WORST places to be itching! Even more amazing, is that the discomfort typically does not begin until about three hours after they have done their deed.
Chiggers are not like ticks who attach themselves to us and we get the satisfaction of discovering them, plucking them out and putting them to death by the rewarding means of a match or drowning them in alcohol. Oh no, a chigger can be easily swiped off . . . if you only knew it was on you to begin with!


This is how I see myself, and you . . . and every other human person. We are indeed small, insignificant creatures; but that does not mean we are not capable of affecting someone’s life in a profound way. Granted, our purpose is not to make them itch, (though there are people I would like to inflict a good dose of itching every now and then. But I must leave that job to my little chigger friends.) My job, as small as I am in this big world, is to make my presence and existence known by going out and doing what God created me to do and leave people with the knowledge and memory that I was and am here for a purpose.
We can all say with a smile, “I am who God made me.”
I have a legacy to leave and so do you. When I think of a chigger, I think of SEVERE itching and truly KNOW what they do with their time and their life. What will people think of when they hear my name or think of me?
I hope it is as memorable, only in a good way, as when I think of a CHIGGER!

Kasi M. Bryon
© 2008

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Abilities Reside Within DISABILITIES

Today I shall begin blogging. What better way than to talk about one of my favorite people? She is a young lady who has touched and changed my life. Her name is Denise.
Denise entered my life when I was about fourteen years old. She is my cousin and is adopted. I have one biological aunt, (Denise's mother) who happens to be the most amazing lady God ever created. She is everything I could ever want to be and has been a true mentor about all that matters in life. She lives by example and teaches what is important to all who are willing to see and learn; yet, she is the epitome of humbleness. She is a complex woman on the inside, yet a simple woman by appearance on the outside. There is no question in my mind about where my aunt will spend eternity. Those are the kind of people I desire to be around. She and my uncle have been loving parents to numerous kids by fostering and adopting many children with special needs over the past twenty-four years, in addition to their two biological children.
They had an unexpected, late-in-life pregnancy about twenty-five years ago. We were all thrilled, but saddened when it tragically ended in miscarriage. However, a rainbow soon appeared after the storm. Not long after their loss, they received an invitation from an agency to foster a child. God led them to accept, and the first arrival was Denise.
           This child was the most beautiful baby by anyone’s description. She looked like a perfectly sculpted, flawless China doll, always smiling. She seemed to be a healthy baby and would have no problems in the adoption process. Our family bonded with Denise immediately, and losing her began to be a painful reality.
Fortunately, (for us) there was a holdup in the adoption process. During that time, my aunt and uncle noticed a few physical delays around the time Denise was six months old. After testing, it was discovered that she had Cerebral Palsy. (CP) Only time would tell to what degree the disability would affect her life. The families who were in place to adopt her decided that the disability would be more than they could handle, thank God. It was not more than my aunt and uncle could handle. When she was nine months old, I was allowed to attend the formal adoption ceremony as she became an official part of our family. We all fit together just as salt and pepper, literally. Our family is Caucasian, she is African American. Now we do not see skin color; only love and family. As Nicole C. Mullen says in her song, “Black, White, Tan:”

All the colors of the rainbow are in her family tree
Woven all together in a paisley tapestry
She holds real tightly to her parents' hands
Baby loves that woman, baby loves that man
And her soul gives a smile 'cause she understands
Our love is black, white, tan

Everyone is precious in the Father's sight
It don't matter red or yellow, black or white
He just loves ya 'cause He loves ya
I tell you this is true
You are not the color and the color is not you
So hold real tightly to your Daddy's hands
'Cause he loves that woman, He loves that man
And let your soul give a smile 'cause you understand
That love is black, white, tan”
Nicole C. Mullen

Today, Denise is twenty-four. She has no mental disabilities, but many physical ones. Here is an insight of my perception regarding her, her life and our day . . .