I’m finally going to try to adhere to my earlier stated concept. I’m going to try to make sure that six posts of six different natures are each posted here at 7:30am PST, Monday thru Friday, with Saturday off.
Why am I going to try and do this? It’s not necessarily for the sake of creating a decent, appealing blog here. That’s part of it. But it’s a bit deeper than that.
People who have been diagnosed with mental health conditions are often regarded as unstable, incompetent, or insane. It is generally held that we are flaky, unpredictable, and unreliable. We can’t hold down jobs, and people can’t tell which way we’re going next, or where we are going to land — if we are going to land. So, naturally, I would like to do my best to dispel that stigma.
So far, however, I can’t help but feel that all I am doing is proving them right. My Tuesday Tuneup often shows up on Wednesday — if not Thursday, or even Monday. There is no consistency whatsoever as to the times that any of the posts show up. I don’t always take Saturdays off, and in fact the Friday piano video often gets postponed till Saturday or later. Frequently, I disappear for a few days (while probably in a depressed funk), and then try to “make up for lost time” by, for example, posting the Wednesday speech, the Thursday “blog of substance,” and maybe even the Friday piano video all on the same day, which might even be Sunday.
The point is, no consistency.
How can I possibly dispel the notion that those of us who have diagnosed mental health conditions are unstable, inconsistent flakes if I don’t get it together and bring some order to the table?
Well, obviously, I can’t. But that doesn’t mean I might not be — er – biting off more than I can chew. Still, I’m going to give it the ol’ college try, one more time. You will see this post tomorrow at 7:30am PST, rain or shine. The mail must go through, and the show must go on.
There’s even more to it than this.
People with mental health conditions are often very talented, vibrant people when given their chance to shine. To meet me in real life, I might not be the most charismatic fellow on the face of the planet, but I do have some specific talents in certain key areas. My writing isn’t all that bad, for one thing. It’s good enough to have been published this past year, anyway, for the first time in my life. You can’t say I’m a bad piano player, and I’m told I’m a pretty good speaker — although admittedly, it’s a lot easier to make a speech in my dining room using the voice recorder app on my lady friend’s smartphone than it would be to stand behind a podium and boldly address the multitudes.
However, somebody whom I respected once told me this:
“You act as though all these talents of yours make up for all your bad qualities.”
While that’s certainly debatable (if not hurtful), I can see where she was coming from. The particular skills of expertise do not make up for bad qualities in other areas. I’ve even said it myself, in so many words. We live in a society that values competence, and devalues moral integrity. And I hate to say it, but I’m pretty sure the person who said that to me felt that I was morally lax.
But there’s another facet to all of this. While skillful expertise cannot compensate for moral turpitude, it can compensate for the lack of expertise in other areas. I am horribly incompetent when it comes to most jobs, because my mind is largely incapable of panoramic focus. I can only focus myopically. If there is more than one thing I need to keep my mind on for any significant period of time, my mind will fail me. I will screw up. It will be noticeable and frustrating to my coworkers, and I like-as-not will be fired.
They call this Severe ADHD and Dyslexia. Other aspects of my personality have been dubbed Bipolar One and Hypomanic. Throw in a little PTSD, and the O.G.’s pretty much a mess.
Given all that, to cut to the quick, why should I not be focusing on the things that I can do? I’ve spent most of my life trying to excel at things at which I suck, just because they happen to be the things that make money in this world. But now I’m an Old Guy, and I’m on Social Security, and why not just take some time to show the world what I’m really made of?
In fact, if I don’t do so, I would feel like I’m shirking a calling of mine. Yes, a calling – of which this post is a part.
My disability landed me in a gutter for damn near twelve years, where none of these special gifts I have to offer were given the chance to shine. While my ascent from that gutter to a decent apartment in another part of the world was rapid, sudden, unanticipated, and miraculous, that ascent would be meaningless if I didn’t do something with it. For I am no less disabled, no less “incompetent,” than I was when I was sleeping under a bridge.
The difference is not in my personality. The difference is that I have been granted favorable circumstances in life, in such a form that the gifts with which I hope to bless you actually are given a chance to shine.
And that alone is the essence of my Statement to the World. Not every homeless person is a worthless, low-life scum bag. In fact, none of them are — because no person on Earth needs to be saddled with that tag. Every person is redeemable and salvageable, for our Father in Heaven desires that none will be consigned to perdition, but that all will be preserved and saved. So, if I don’t hide my light under a bushel, and I don’t let it shine before humanity, then people will not glorify the Maker of All Things — and yet, that’s what life’s all about. (It’s also 2 Peter 3:9, Matthew 5:16, and Ecclesiastes 12:13 in a nutshell — and the reason I know this is because I just looked ’em up.)
So I’ll give it a go. If you’re reading these words, it means it’s 7:30am PST or after. If you’re not, you’re not. Wish me luck.
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