Another, Introduction to Poetry Writing

To fulfill a requirement, I found myself in another poetry class. I did not mind as I love poetry. It was a basic poetry class with a terrible text book. I showed up every week for the optional discussion and I completed with an A. After much thought I decided to share my final class project. A poetry chapbook from the semester; a collection of our “final” works for the class. I did not enjoy all of these pieces, but they are my creations nonetheless.

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.

Robert Frost

Renewal

Prologue

A Renewal Process

I did what I do best, I wrote from experience. Each of these pieces are reflective of my life at that moment in time. The first four months of this year were ruthless. I lost a two year relationship, joined a recovery program, started my classes late, almost dropped out-again, I apparently have anemia, I am launching my online business, my best friend was diagnosed with cancer, and my older dog needed surgery. All of this on top of my family, everyday life, and a couple of online training courses gave me plenty of inspiration for this class.  

I took note of my line breaks within these pieces and played with them a bit. I have spent a fair amount of time writing professionally on spiritual practices. My experience of non-fiction forms do not necessarily have a place in my poetry.

Overall, it felt good to write poetry again. I am walking away from this with the confidence to share my poetry with others. I may actually post the revised chapbook on my blog this summer. I am looking forward to the feedback as I wrap up this semester.


Surreal

I Open My Eyes

Standing there:

You are Cleanly shaven

Soft eyes of creamy jade

An older John McClane

In a D20 DND shirt

And cargo shorts with full pockets.

Cannot tell if you rolled a 20.

But those full cargo pockets are your lifeline

Just in case you rolled a 1.

Standing there:

Only a flowing babbel-less creek of silence

Falls from your motionless lips.

I am not truly there

I am behind a wall.

The wall is thick and dense

Yet it is as clear as crisp spring water.

You do not see me.

My cries cannot be heard

As I begin to pound my fists.

Standing there:

The tears pour down from my deep brown eyes.

In the distance Noah is bringing them two by two,

The waters continue to rise.

THE flood is impending.

I open my eyes:

The room is dark and cool.

Our bed is firm.

I roll over to reach for you

In search of comfort and warmth,

But your body had been swept away by my flood.

We were two who did not make it to the Ark. 


Family 

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Rhythmic breathing soft snores in the dark night.

Whugh, whugh, whugh.

Jess’ body pulses as the cool air fills her lungs.

In, out. In, out.

Rapid eye movements under heavy eyelids. 

Fluttering, fluttering softly. 

Tiny nose twitches for the scent in her dreams.

Twitter, wrinkle, twitter.

Often, in the crisp night air I seek a connection with her.

My fingers run through the softness of her thick coat.

My toes reach out for her in the dark still room.

We both rest peacefully until the light of dawn.


Postcard 

Before the Party

She, the hostess, puts on her best dress for her distant guests.

A shirt with a pressed collar and bright white cuffs.

Her dress is so black it reached out into the cold blue air of the darkness. 

She pulled her deep brunette hair up into a neat bun. 

All but for one long strand which appears to rise as smoke from the top of her neatly fashioned hairdo. As if to signal her unsuspecting guests of her upcoming party.

It is very dark in the center of the Earth.

One wonders where the hostess managed to find an ice bucket for the bottle of champagne.

She must have fetched the ice from atop her home.

It is possible no one saw her. Her icy glacier often kisses the soft clouds of the sky. Their affair is so old, her guests do not notice their love anymore. 

(They have forgotten the tales of their old Norse ways. The ones from the center of the earth Mr. Verne once wrote about are all but a Hollywood memory now. Rarely will a guest raise their head to see the majestic beauty of their gracious host. They are too caught up in themselves to notice a party being planned in their honor.)


Metaphor 

Always the Federal Agent

At 5’2” she has the strength and determination of three men twice her size.

She is savvy and uses the street curbs to give herself leverage over those she hunted.

She is a real life Peggy Carter avenging in modern times, a David and Goliath story.

This woman has the smile of a southern mamaw serving sweet tea on a wrap around porch.

She comforts the mad men in small well lit rooms. They feel safe and easily confess their sins.

She is a priest presenting the last rites with a gold badge in her inner pocket instead of a rosary in her hand.

 It wasn’t all Manson, Kaczynski, and Koresh, there were others who carried smaller names.

She once chased a woman who skipped on a federal bench warrant. For years they danced across the American southwest of reservations and endless horizons.

She carries this one’s teeth marks on her finger. A small visible birthmark for anyone to notice about her chosen profession.

The days go by and take their toll on this vivacious woman.

She is honored, adored, and rewarded for her contributions year after year.

She becomes the favorite toy of a young child. After years of action she no longer had the physical strength of her youth.

Life after her honored retirement was filled with personal challenges and changes.

She made a choice to heal herself, to thrive in a world skirting the edge of law enforcement and the justice system.

She keeps her finger on the pulse of the country as if she is an aging superhero listening to police scanners for one last hoorah. 


Form (Sestina) 

First Alarm Is At 0540

Ask Google to snooze until Alexa finally draws me towards the upcoming day.

Delicately, I roll around a dog onto my side only to resist the urge to grab my phone. 

Turn on the light, then the fan, adjust the blinds, and make the bed. Morning sadhana is waiting.

That first morning stretch does not disturb my dogs. I make my way to the bathroom.

Hydrate. Medications. Warm lemon water. Pour my coffee into a large Starbucks mug.

I head back to my room. My morning sadhana awaits. To begin, I sit down on my bed.

I read and pray. Although it is on DND to keep social media temptations away, I grab my phone. 

There are emails of horoscopes and daily thoughts; ACIM with Marianne while Rene is waiting.

By this time my family begins to stir. I can hear my father showering in the upstairs bathroom.

I finished my meditation with Rene. Next is a brief yoga practice, but not before I refill my mug.

Return to light some incense. I prep the floor and pull my yoga mat out from under the bed.

I stretch and twist to prepare my body. My morning sadhana has concluded, time to start the day.

As my bedroom door opens two dogs rush off the bed towards the kitchen. No more waiting.

The hydration, coffee, and morning movement hit me. Back to the bathroom.

Check on the kids before school. Review the schedules. Hopefully one more refill of my mug.

My work is from home. I set up my Chromebook. Sometimes I sit in a chair to avoid the bed. 

Although I have my schedule of meetings and plans, something always pops up during the day.

Perhaps something breaks, a kid forgot something, or my mother lost her phone.

For whatever reasons, I am the designated fixer in this home. I found her phone in the bathroom. 

After I feed the distractions along my way, I refill my water, no more Starbucks mug.

I join my meetings on Zoom. My little dog observes from the comfort of our bed.

Some weeks there are six or more meetings, in between texts and tasks, a day.

During my favorite meetings, I aim to remain fully present. It is best to hide the phone.

I try to run my COVID built life from my bedroom, at my door someone is always waiting.

I am on my PC, taking gulps of coffee until it runs dry. I leave my room to fill the empty mug.

Throughout the day I shift from a rattan chair to the comfort of my pillows on the bed.

I do not notice how my life has become a Nine Inch Nails song. Exactly the same. Every day.

I pick up my cell for a reference, but I am easily distracted by the notifications on the silent phone.

My anxious daughter is thirteen going on twenty-three, she tires of waiting. 

She must hear me creep out of the room because she busts into the bathroom.

My daughter continues her stories as she flops down on my bed.

She sprawls out and messes with my system every single day.

Her lips are moving a mile a minute as she rambles while responding to Discord on her phone.

I tire of her endless stories, but do my best to listen as I continue my patient waiting.

I am reminded of the lock I never use on the door of my bathroom. 

It is now time for iced tea. I head to the kitchen with my empty mug.

I have been waiting for the sun to go down. I finish up in the bathroom.

Fix my mug of herbal tea, then I go to my bedroom, and charge my exhausted phone.

The dogs and I climb into bed. It is time to rest until the next alarm goes off the following day.


Political 

Do Not Feel Badly for Them

Oprah Winfrey lands primetime special with Meghan and Prince Harry

Quite honestly Meghan and Prince Harry landed a special with me. I am a self made billionaire from Missouri. They agreed to sit with me, no one else. That is how much respect I command.

DO NOT.

Oprah, Meghan and Harry Draw 17.1 Million Viewers to CBS …

Who the hell cares? I cannot stand Oprah, how did this end up on my newsfeed? I am an American, I could care less about the British royal family. We literally fought a war over this. 

DO NOT. 

Meghan Markle Says It’s “Liberating” to “Be Able to Speak for Yourself” in New Oprah Interview Clip

I was only 12 years old when my mother died. The whole world mourned Princess Diana. I had so many unanswered questions. Meghan has helped me to free myself from the binds of my lineage. The same binds that held my mother. She would be so proud. 

DO NOT. 

Meghan Markle Says Palace ‘Perpetuated Falsehoods’ In Upcoming Oprah Interview

Did this chick really go on the air with Oprah to speak out against the British royal family? Is her husband not the son of Princess Diana? Honestly, it is her own fault. She chose to marry Prince Harry. If she did not understand the commitment she was making, that is on her. 

DO NOT.

Prince William Responds to Meghan and Harry’s Oprah Interview: ‘We Are Not a Racist Family’

I cannot believe my brother Harry did this. Does he not remember what happened to our mother? Just play the 

game and everything will be good. First the Nazi uniform, then this woman, his titles being stipped, and now Oprah. I have my own family to protect.

DO NOT.

Organization says sharing Oprah interview memes is ‘digital blackface’

What the hell is this about? So any photo of a black person is “digital blackface?” That is like saying only white people can be racist. Oprah is one of the whitest people out there along with Barack Obama. The memes of this interview are showing the hypocrisy of this madness. I cannot with this.

DO NOT.

3 Songs You’ll Never Hear The Same Way Again After Meghan Markle Spilled the Tea with Oprah

Everything is going so well. Oprah wanted an interview with me, Prince Megan. The WOC (woman of color) to take down the British empire. I captured Harry, I took out Piers, and now I am coming for the rest of the royals. I am finally happy everything is about me. 

DO NOT.

British tabloid claims Oprah Winfrey ‘seriously misled’ viewers in royal interview

As much as I dislike Oprah, revealing the idea a group of old rich white British royals are racist is hardly misleading. If you were unaware of that prior to this week of social media buzz, you are seriously sheltered, and should get out more. Just my personal opinions. 

DO NOT. 

Queen Elizabeth Is Back to Work After Issuing Statement on Meghan and Harry’s Oprah Interview

Of course I am back to work. I am British, we remain calm and carry on. It is my duty as Queen. Just as I told Diana all those years ago crown and country first. A young feisty American woman cannot and will not tarnish the British royal family. 

DO NOT.

Patio chairs at center of Oprah’s Meghan and Harry interview — made by a ‘Brady Bunch’ actor — sell out online

This is the headline to sum up all of the news surrounding the interview at hand. The patio chairs of a billionaire and two millionaire royals sat on sold-out after the show aired. This has nothing to do with the centuries of racism within the British royal family. This has nothing to do with social injustice I have witnessed my entire life. It is an example of average people focusing on the fantasy issues of the privileged. 

DO NOT.

Part VII: Interpersonal Communications SP-181

Skip Recap

In January of this year I decided to return to college for the eighth time? I am still working towards a useless associates degree. I may even graduate next fall semester. My speech class did not transfer and I needed one to fulfill a requirement. Being an experienced facilitator and speaker a speech class sounded dreadful. When the counselor said, “How about Interpersonal Communications?” I thought “Perfect! My previous managers told me to stop making my coworkers cry. I could use some interpersonal direction.” Well, here I am with only a couple weeks left in class and a slew of forum posts on the book chapters I never read. My instructor loved my writings and suggested I compile a book, or be a stand up comedian. As I already have this platform I opted to share those writings here. These are my personal commentaries on questions related to class material. These will be different than my previous blog posts and have minimal editing. I feel it is time to move my writings into a more authentic light. I hope you enjoy my thoughts just as my professor has this semester. (Each chapter focus and question are at the beginning of each post to provide the reader with a bit of background.)

Create safe places for yourself and you don’t have to be liked by everybody and the day you can get that down you know some people like you some people don’t that’s wonderful and the ones who don’t like you that’s great let them find their way.

Peter Woodbury from Edgar Cayce on Empathy, Sensitivity, and Boundaries: From Karma to Compassion

Relational Dynamics (Ch. 9)

Terms:

  • affinity / immediacy
  • connection-autonomy dialectic
  • metacommunication

Goal:

Explain how change and culture affect communication in interpersonal relationships.

Question:

Explain how gender, culture and/or mediated communication affect intimacy (emotional, intellectual, etc…) in one of your important relationships OR society/culture today.


I have lived throughout the country and I am well traveled. The best thing I heard after moving to Hawaii, “Hawaii is part of the United States, but it sure as shit is not America.” Truth spoken from a haole Cali girl.

Where to start with this one?

  • Fruit punch is not juice. Fruit punch, is not, juice. Fruit punch is flat soda or colorful high fructose corn syrup.
  • Musabi is not acceptable to feed children. Please stop offering it to my kids.
  • Right is right. Right is RIGHT! You can’t push a cart through Costco, I hope you’re not out there driving.
  • Why isn’t there fluoride in the water?
  • Please hold the door open for the person behind you. Unfortunately one of the rudest places I have ever been. 
  • Unless you are a first responder on duty, STOP BACKING IN YOUR CARS! None of you can do it correctly, you’re blocking traffic, and then your trunk or flat bed isn’t accessible for your Costco haul.
  • I am an only child. We are not related. Please do not call me auntie or sis. “Ma’am, hey you, excuse me” are all acceptable. 
  • Please do not relate the government ordered mass genocide of my people to the history of Hawaiians. 

So who is thinking I am an asshole now? I was probably one before you were born and I am okay with it. Here are some things I have learned since moving here 8 years ago.

  • Hawaii is the only US state with official languages, ‘Ōlelo and English. I acknowledge and respect I only speak one of these. If I encounter a situation where only ‘Ōlelo is spoken that is on me. Fortunately my mother learned when we moved here and I have some friends to call on.
  • Chopsticks! Who knew? I carry them to the Mainland now.
  • Corruption is most certainly colorblind.
  • I have learned more about Polynesian tattoos than I ever expected. I am beginning to understand the meanings and spot the fakes. If you have a chance my friend teaches a couple courses at WCC. I highly recommend you take at least one class from Tricia Allen. 
  • Hawaiian navigation is beyond impressive. I was able to visit the Hokulea when she was in Washington D.C. I happened to be home for a visit and made a point to go see her.
  • It is safe and acceptable to eat food from 711 in Hawaii, do not do that on the Mainland.
  • Pidgin. I always assumed it came from a lack of education*. I learned my understanding was completely wrong. 

Back to my friend’s statement about Hawaii. Every place has its own customs and societal norms. The Washington D.C. area is a melting pot of ethnic groups. My high school was 20% Korean and no one noticed I wasn’t white. One reason my family chose to move to Hawaii was for the diversity. No one hassles my kids for being hapa. I appreciate not being asked, “What are you?” when someone wants to know my racial background. The brief history of Hawaii is an amazing one of diversity and perseverance.

*In the south eastern US there is a form of pidgin, mix of Creole, French, English, etc. If you have ever seen The Waterboy you understand. My personal experience living as a biracial woman in Winder, Georgia includes coming across this dialect. My friend, was-band, and myself went to a farming supply shop for U-Hual boxes. My giant pasty white friend strolled in and asked the older clerk where we could find the boxes. The reply was utter nonsense to us. Essentially a series of “na na na urr na gunda ur da.” My friend and I stood there in silence not knowing what to do. My was-band came up behind us and said, “Thank you sir, appreciate your help.” Then headed off down an aisle. Apparently his time in Georgia helped him to understand the clerk. He did not even notice he was not speaking English.

https://youtu.be/vcvou0SAxZI (link to Farmer Fran scenes, completely offensive)


Interpersonal Communication in Relationships (Ch. 10)

Terms:

  • intimacy
  • love languages
  • role

Goal:

For a specific family (real or televised), explain how family roles are created and perpetuated through communication.

Question:

Do you believe in Knapp’s staircase model of relationships or in the Dialectical Tensions model more?


I did mention I haven’t actually been reading the book for this class right? Quick Google search and in my opinion Knapp must not have had children. Parents do not have time for 10 steps and 2 phases. I hope to wash, dry, fold, and put the laundry away all in one day. As for the Dialectical Tensions model, sounds a bit too scientific to be practical. The iconic 1950’s ideal of courting and marrying is not the norm any more. There are so many different types of relationships and gender identities, it’s not that concise. Essentially a relationship is when two, or more, people decide to tolerate each other for an extended period of time while they get to know one another. Ideally marriage is finding someone you have mind-blowing sex with so you are willing to tolerate/love them until death do you part. Obviously it’s not that basic, but it sort of is. Personally I am a fan of The Gottman Institute. They are the cutest couple, I highly recommend their interview with Brene Brown on her podcast. What is the ideal relationship? Johnny and June? Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher? David Spade and Chris Farley? Sir Patrick and Sir Ian? Steve and Bucky? Peanut butter and chocolate? Marshal and Lily? Honestly my favorite couple is Marge and Homer Simpson. Can Marge do better, yes. Does Homer know she can do better, absolutely. Should Marge do better, hell yes. So why doesn’t Marge leave Homer? Love, kids? I think she found the person she is willing to grow with despite the distractions and the chaos. They don’t always agree, they spend time apart, but they never cheat and they always come back together. Marge is Homer’s lobster. All relationships take work. Part of that work is determining which relationships are worth the effort. Humans are an unpredictable variable, a model cannot cover all the probabilities. I recommend knowing what you want before looking for a long term relationship. It is easy to know what we don’t want, especially after a divorce. Go follow Case Kenney on Instagram, buy his journals, and save yourself some heartache.  

Here are two of my favorites on marriage:

“Marriage is hard. Just two people slogging through the shit, year after year, getting older, changing. It’s a fucking marathon, okay? So, sometimes, you know, you’re together for so long, that you just… You stop seeing the other person. You just see weird projections of your own junk. Instead of talking to each other, you go off the rails and act grubby and make stupid choices. You know if I read more Russian novels, then…” 

“You have to be prepared for her to change and be open to loving those changes. In 60 years I have loved 7 different women, all of them your grandmother.”

Part VI: Interpersonal Communications SP-181

Skip Recap

In January of this year I decided to return to college for the eighth time? I am still working towards a useless associates degree. I may even graduate next fall semester. My speech class did not transfer and I needed one to fulfill a requirement. Being an experienced facilitator and speaker a speech class sounded dreadful. When the counselor said, “How about Interpersonal Communications?” I thought “Perfect! My previous managers told me to stop making my coworkers cry. I could use some interpersonal direction.” Well, here I am with only a couple weeks left in class and a slew of forum posts on the book chapters I never read. My instructor loved my writings and suggested I compile a book, or be a stand up comedian. As I already have this platform I opted to share those writings here. These are my personal commentaries on questions related to class material. These will be different than my previous blog posts and have minimal editing. I feel it is time to move my writings into a more authentic light. I hope you enjoy my thoughts just as my professor has this semester. (Each chapter focus and question are at the beginning of each post to provide the reader with a bit of background.)

Create safe places for yourself and you don’t have to be liked by everybody and the day you can get that down you know some people like you some people don’t that’s wonderful and the ones who don’t like you that’s great let them find their way.

Peter Woodbury from Edgar Cayce on Empathy, Sensitivity, and Boundaries: From Karma to Compassion

Managing Interpersonal Conflict (Ch. 12)

Terms:

  • avoiding
  • conflict
  • conflict ritual
  • crazy making


Goal:

Identify the relational conflict styles, patterns of behavior and conflict rituals that define a given relationship.

Question:

Examine the differences between men and women in how they approach conflict. Include research findings as well as your own personal experiences in your discussion.


I believe the books Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus and Jane Goodall’s My Life with the Chimpanzees covers this topic in detail. For the sake of entertainment I will comment on Chapter 12. Physical differences aside, men and women communicate differently from each other. It is as if God decided to prank the human species. Men tend to communicate physically while women tend to communicate through emotions. A man is more likely to assert his strength, knowledge, and dominance with a firm handshake, a projecting voice, and large physical presence (literally taking up more room). A woman is more likely to express her knowledge, power, and position through making a connection with her audience. Empathy and understanding are common female communication skills. In my life I do not adhere to these stereotypical, albeit common communication styles. My mother the female Naval Officer in a “man’s game” told me that men are incomplete when compared to women. We have the XX chromosome, while men have the XY chromosome, the Y is just an X missing a leg. I was the only girl in judo, I was the only girl in karate, and I preferred Hot Wheels to Barbies. This one time in elementary school we went to a park to meet our pen pals from another school. My pen pal wore a white dress, on a field trip to a park. Seriously. We had nothing in common and she went off with her friends. I went to play kickball or something. A bit later, a mini gang of pre-pubescent girls approached me. They began to accuse me of not liking my pen pal because of her gold capped tooth. I believe my honest response was, “No it’s because she’s boring and no fun.” Oddly that did not go over well. Stupid emotional girls am I right? When it comes down to it I am consistent if nothing else. I don’t like bullies, it doesn’t matter if they’re male, female, pan, bi, Hulu+ without ads, whatever. Don’t be a dick because then I’ll have to put you in your place with my power vagina. (I just made that up.) When it comes to work, I don’t care. I work to make money period. I would always tell coworkers, “I am not here to be your friend. I am here to do my job and go home.” Twenty years ago we all felt this way in the Industry. Today the kids are different. They crave being coddled. They work to find friends. Just before COVID hit, I noticed this shift. I understood my time was about up. I was working on an exit plan from bartending. Then it was forced upon me.

*While working in my previous position, my managers would praise me for “not making a coworker cry” within a certain period of time. I worked in restaurants not Disneyland. I wasn’t a cast member, I was a bartender.

Part V: Interpersonal Communications SP-181

Skip Recap

In January of this year I decided to return to college for the eighth time? I am still working towards a useless associates degree. I may even graduate next fall semester. My speech class did not transfer and I needed one to fulfill a requirement. Being an experienced facilitator and speaker a speech class sounded dreadful. When the counselor said, “How about Interpersonal Communications?” I thought “Perfect! My previous managers told me to stop making my coworkers cry. I could use some interpersonal direction.” Well, here I am with only a couple weeks left in class and a slew of forum posts on the book chapters I never read. My instructor loved my writings and suggested I compile a book, or be a stand up comedian. As I already have this platform I opted to share those writings here. These are my personal commentaries on questions related to class material. These will be different than my previous blog posts and have minimal editing. I feel it is time to move my writings into a more authentic light. I hope you enjoy my thoughts just as my professor has this semester. (Each chapter focus and question are at the beginning of each post to provide the reader with a bit of background.)

Create safe places for yourself and you don’t have to be liked by everybody and the day you can get that down you know some people like you some people don’t that’s wonderful and the ones who don’t like you that’s great let them find their way.

Peter Woodbury from Edgar Cayce on Empathy, Sensitivity, and Boundaries: From Karma to Compassion

Language (Ch. 6)

Terms:

  • abstraction ladder
  • convergence / divergence
  • Sapir-Whorf hypothesis

Goal:

Rephrase disruptive statements in less inflammatory terms.

Question:

In your own words, explain the statement “meanings rest more in people than in words.” Cite examples from your own experience.


The statement “meanings rest more in people than in words” refers to the intentions of the speaker. I believe I used the Seattle HOV Lanes for another chapter. Fortunately there are plenty of real life examples to discuss. Currently in one of my Facebook groups for restaurant industry workers, one member made a post stating “There is Iced Tea. There is no such thing as Un-Sweet Tea. You do not ‘un-sweeten’ tea.” The Southern Industry rose up on this man like it was 1861. I chose to watch the fallout from the sidelines. Here is something basic, iced tea. If I order iced tea in New York City, Boston, or Washington D.C. I will receive iced black tea with optional sweeteners on the side. I personally do not like sugar in my tea, so I drink as is. As soon as you get into Richmond, VA it is a whole different story. Iced tea is still available, but it is made very differently than in other parts of the country. Proper restaurant iced tea has about 3 lbs. of white sugar added to the 5 gallon cambro prior to brewing. This allows the sugar to melt into the tea as it brews. Technically this is called Sweet Tea as opposed to Unsweetened Iced Tea. As a bartender I learned to listen and look for cues before upsetting a guest. If I am working in the South, I listen for non-southern accents when they order iced tea. I confirm if they want unsweetened or sweet tea. Outside of that handful of states, I listen for that beautiful drawl or piercing twang ordering iced tea. It is imperative I inform them we do not have sweet tea at CPK in Hawaii. For whatever reason these guests always take it personally and become offended when proper sweet tea is not available. Under no circumstances should they be offered iced tea with a side of sugar. That is an insult to the sweet tea of the South. Relationships are the perfect example of the above statement. How many arguments could be avoided if we all had the same meanings for words? Unfortunately we do not. Just before Thanksgiving my former partner and I were having issues regarding house hunting. As a family holiday was coming up, I made a peace offering to put our discussion on hold and return to it after the holidays. He agreed and we had a good holiday season. When I revisited the discussion, my partner was surprised. He thought my offer to table the discussion meant to table it until the end of time and never speak of it again. Yeah, I did say my “former” partner. In retrospect my words held a very different meaning from my partner’s understanding of my words. This is a perfect example of how electronic communication is affecting us. Perhaps if I had been face to face with him, he would have been able to infer my intent through my physical social cues. Words in a text message are subject to the reader’s interpretation. Often the intent of the sender is lost. 


Communication Climates (Ch. 11)

Terms:

  • ambiguous / tangential responses
  • communication climate
  • confirming / disconfirming communication

Goal:

Create appropriate non-defensive responses to real or hypothetical criticism

Question:

Describe a recent incident when you were defensive. Explain which part of your self-concept you were protecting, and describe the consequences of your defensiveness.


Seriously just wiped a Cheeto crumb off my keyboard and lost the piece I was working on. Oh the agony of posting on Laulima and not periodically saving my work because I am used to Goggle Docs doing it for me. SPOILED. Personally I can get very defensive very quickly. It is actually something I work on; and currently I find myself doing a good job of staying in my own lane. Along the way it is not worth my peace trying to convince someone I am right and they are wrong. As previously discussed in class, social media allows people to say things they may not say in real life. Social media is where I learned to just scroll on if I do not agree with someone or something. Recently my friend posted a remark about gas prices rising since the new presidency. Rather than point out OSHA sets gas prices I reminded him of the time during George W.’s administration when he pumped gas for me. I had a Ford Windstar with a 26 gallon tank. Cost $98.06 to fill up that day. I thought he was going to have a heart attack (again). Did I vote for George W.? No. Did I blame him or the GOP? No. Was it my personal choice to own a minivan with a massive gas tank? Yes. Do I now drive a fully electric Ford Focus? Yes. My mother gets pissed I do not get into fights online. Last year around the first lock down my mother got into a fight with her sister. I stopped following their online bitching via Facebook comments long before this. Apparently it was in reply to one of my posts, but I turned the notifications off once they started in. I do not know or care about what happened, but they stopped speaking because of it. Stupid right? They both believe the other is wrong. My mother is awaiting an apology and her sister isn’t going to give one. My aunt is in poor health and will certainly pass before my mother. Then she will be saying how wonderful her baby sister was. Death painting people in a new light is another story. Do not get me wrong I do not tolerate fascists. I am an actual American and I know my family fought in wars over this. My friend invited me to a meme group on FB. The only rule was do not report posts, just leave the group. A tad odd, but I figured people can be so sensitive these days so it was a warning. I did not expect the warning to be for me. Within 24 hours I starting seeing posts bashing democrats and promoting Trump rhetoric. (I do not want to assume your political views, but if you are a Trump supporter look in the mirror, YOU are NOT white. Now get over it he lost.) I went to report one, then I remembered the rule. I paused, said fuck it, and reported those racists fascist turd blossoms. Then I left the group. I am surprised my friend suggested it to me. Her dating profiles say NO TRUMPERS. We cannot change other people. We can only change ourselves. Sometimes it is best to hide comments, unfollow, unfriend, or even unplug all together. I recognize this doesn’t answer the question however I spend a lot of time in therapy to work on being less defensive and more accepting of myself and even others. I recommend meditation, affirmations, prayers, sobriety, and therapy. Speak your truth, protect who cannot protect themselves, and don’t let the bastards grind you down.

Part IV: Interpersonal Communications SP-181

Skip Recap

In January of this year I decided to return to college for the eighth time? I am still working towards a useless associates degree. I may even graduate next fall semester. My speech class did not transfer and I needed one to fulfill a requirement. Being an experienced facilitator and speaker a speech class sounded dreadful. When the counselor said, “How about Interpersonal Communications?” I thought “Perfect! My previous managers told me to stop making my coworkers cry. I could use some interpersonal direction.” Well, here I am with only a couple weeks left in class and a slew of forum posts on the book chapters I never read. My instructor loved my writings and suggested I compile a book, or be a stand up comedian. As I already have this platform I opted to share those writings here. These are my personal commentaries on questions related to class material. These will be different than my previous blog posts and have minimal editing. I feel it is time to move my writings into a more authentic light. I hope you enjoy my thoughts just as my professor has this semester. (Each chapter focus and question are at the beginning of each post to provide the reader with a bit of background.)

Create safe places for yourself and you don’t have to be liked by everybody and the day you can get that down you know some people like you some people don’t that’s wonderful and the ones who don’t like you that’s great let them find their way.

Peter Woodbury from Edgar Cayce on Empathy, Sensitivity, and Boundaries: From Karma to Compassion

Nonverbal Communication (Ch. 7)

Terms:
chronemics
haptics
kinesics
microexpression
paralanguage
proxemics

Goal:
List and offer examples of five different types of nonverbal messages in a specific situation.

Question:
Gender has a strong influence on nonverbal communication. Explain the differences between men and women in this area. Include your personal experiences in your discussion.


What an amazing topic! When I was pregnant with my son, my mother told me she wasn’t going to buy into the belief, “Boys are just different.” Her Ph.D. in anthropology taught her not to support for gender stereotypes. Understand my mother has a younger sister, a daughter, and a granddaughter, no boys. My best friend has three boys and the cousins I grew up with were boys. My father helped to raise a total of 15 children. (His sister had 9 children, he had 4, I have 2.) Let me just say my mother had a rude awakening. I raised my children with gender neutral concepts such as toys and color do not have gender. I never told them they can be anything they want when they grow up because no one can! A colorblind person can never be a TSA Agent because they can’t read the x-ray scanners. My daughter could never be a USN SEAL not just because she would suck at it, but the Navy doesn’t allow females in that career field. Life has limitations. Some are fair, most are not. My son and daughter are only 17 months apart. One day they were standing in front of the TV watching The Kraft Brothers. All of a sudden my son cranked back his right arm, then slapped his sister’s back. She immediately hit the floor crying. I hollered at my son, “Ronan! Why did you hit your sister?” He shook his head signalling he didn’t hit her. I pointed to her writhing on the floor. He legit jumped back in shock then proceeded to ask what was wrong and why she was crying. Ronan literally had no idea he hit his sister. (My kids adore each other, they’ve never fought verbally or physically.) Essentially boys do not know much of anything. Girls know too much of everything. (I do not support the following behaviors.) A boy may pick on a classmate, but when you ask him why he honestly has no idea. Ask a middle school girl why she shoved someone into a locker and she will give the exact time and day of the discretion she is avenging. Girls are methodical and mean in middle school, while the boys literally stink.  Although these behaviors are stereotypical the difference in non-verbal communication between men and women is there. When someone is upset an average woman may try to console them with a hug or hand on the shoulder. A man on the other hand will most likely have his hands in his pockets hoping his friend isn’t expecting a hug. Women are know to sigh as a means of non-verbal communication. Men tend to mimic Helen Keller and are shocked when their partner is pissed off.  I will say, women, similar to their middle school counterparts, tend to be more vengeful than men when it comes to personal relationships. Think about the stories of crazy breakups. He did something, so she slept with his coworker and threw his clothes out of their 19th floor balcony. Men tend to compete non-verbally with coworkers and close friends, not lovers. I think the moral of the story is, stay single, get dogs, keep all your own money.


Interpersonal Communication and Social Media (Ch 2)

Terms:

disinhibition
hyperpersonal communication
leanness / richness

Goal:

Comment on how gender and age affect the use of mediated channels, and adapt your use of channels to best fit the given recipient.

Question:

Explain several ways that mass media and technology contribute to the shaping of our self-concept.


A couple of years ago an article came out claiming a large percentage of the population does not have an inner voice. I was stunned. What the hell do people do all day?  My first memory of self talk goes back to being an infant. I remember looking at my parents and wondering what was wrong with them. My self-talk only grew from there and eventually I developed a resting bitch face to go along with it. I am an only child, I always had a dialogue of self-talk going on. I think of it as a simple voice or voices in my mind. The book explains that after an event occurs, the thought (self-talk) and emotion are to follow. Metaphysically and psychologically I could get into this, but I will stick to simple personal experiences. Growing up my mother always told me she loved me. She would yell, scream, and cry then end with, “But I love you. I want you  to know that.” I hated it, I still do. Growing up my mom wasn’t told she was loved by her own mother (borderline schizophrenic narcissist). Therefore she grew up thinking she was unloved and she felt unlovable. This event created the thoughts and emotions which led my mom to her actions when I was younger. Personally I overthink. One time my boss called me and asked me to come in early. I said no problem. Then my partner for the night messaged asking why she was asking to come in at my regular in time. Well naturally I was going to be fired right? I was freaking out for over 5 hours. My partner and my co-worker both told me I was overreacting. I had to keep my cool while helping that same co-worker shop for a wedding dress. The whole day was awful. I arrived early to work and found my manager. She looked at me perplexed then said, “Oh, I messed up I need you to come in early another day to blah blah blah. Sorry.” WTAF? I spent the whole day in my mind with my thoughts. Granted I have anxiety and my brain chemistry is a bit off. However one common event can cause my thoughts and emotions to run wild.  Perhaps my favorite example would be a third person story I heard at Denny’s one night. Thursday night, party night friend smoking on the front lawn waiting for his friend to come outside. Mom opens the window and yells, “NO FAGS ON THE LAWN.” The gay smoker was greatly offended and did not realize the type of family his friend had. He immediately withdrew socially for the evening. Finally the friend with the fag hating mom got him to open up. The gay smoker told the story and explained how he was hurt and offended by the prejudice remarks. Trying not to laugh the concerned friend explained,”My mom is from Ireland. They call cigarettes fags there. She didn’t want you smoking on the lawn because she just had it serviced.” Everyday we experience events which lead to thoughts (self-talk), and feelings. Some of these self-thoughts are self destructive others manifest miracles. The Golden Rule applied to everyone, including ourselves. Many people need to be kind to themselves. I am working on it myself. 

Part III: Interpersonal Communications SP-181

Skip Recap

In January of this year I decided to return to college for the eighth time? I am still working towards a useless associates degree. I may even graduate next fall semester. My speech class did not transfer and I needed one to fulfill a requirement. Being an experienced facilitator and speaker a speech class sounded dreadful. When the counselor said, “How about Interpersonal Communications?” I thought “Perfect! My previous managers told me to stop making my coworkers cry. I could use some interpersonal direction.” Well, here I am with only a couple weeks left in class and a slew of forum posts on the book chapters I never read. My instructor loved my writings and suggested I compile a book, or be a stand up comedian. As I already have this platform I opted to share those writings here. These are my personal commentaries on questions related to class material. These will be different than my previous blog posts and have minimal editing. I feel it is time to move my writings into a more authentic light. I hope you enjoy my thoughts just as my professor has this semester. (Each chapter focus and question are at the beginning of each post to provide the reader with a bit of background.)

Create safe places for yourself and you don’t have to be liked by everybody and the day you can get that down you know some people like you some people don’t that’s wonderful and the ones who don’t like you that’s great let them find their way.

Peter Woodbury from Edgar Cayce on Empathy, Sensitivity, and Boundaries: From Karma to Compassion

Communication and Identity (Ch 3)

Terms:

cognitive conservatism
Johari Window
reflected appraisal
reference groups and social comparison

Goal:

Explain how self-fulfilling prophecies shape the self-concept and influence communication.

Question:

Explain the concept of reflected appraisal. Choose two people in your life who have contributed to how you view yourself and how their communication contributed to who you are today.


Reflected appraisal is the process in which a person’s self perception is influenced by other people. This is a common psychology term. It has also cost me quite a bit of coin in therapy over the last twenty plus years. I have a whole catalog of examples from my mother. I will start with negative and try to find something positive. My mother is quite insecure because her mother was an abusive narcissist. She won some tying award in the 1970s. It was a contest or something in Chicago. This in addition to the fact she learned to type on a “real typewriter” allows he to consider herself the authority on typing. Since elementary school she has told me I am a terrible “typist.” I grew up thinking I suck at typing. It didn’t matter that my WPM was tested at 65 with 99% accuracy. Or that I could 10-key faster in 4 hours than three night auditors in 8 hours. I knew I couldn’t type. Did my mother having actual typing classes? Yes. Did I ever have a typing class? No, I was self taught. Did not matter I sucked at it. A few months ago, my daughter was impressed by my typing speed. I began to tell her I wasn’t any good at it, but then I decided to change the story. I thanked her for noticing and told her, “Grandma thinks I suck at it.” She replied with, “Grandma sucks.” Who am I to argue? The positive reflected appraisal came from my daughter. I was explaining to her about the changes in the relationship with the man we thought would be her step father by now. Before I could get into my well rehearsed speech about love, adulting, and how it is not her fault, she cut me off to speak her mind. She then proceeded to tell me that I am the best mama ever. I won’t go into the details because I will start crying. Since then I stop almost everyday to recognize how lucky my kids are to have me as a mother. I am fortunate to have wonderful kids, but they didn’t come that way. It takes time, patience, and understanding plus I highly recommend Jewish preschool. Although we can become products of our environment, we can chose to change.


Interpersonal Communication and Social Media (Ch 2)

Terms:

disinhibition
hyperpersonal communication
leanness / richness

Goal:

Comment on how gender and age affect the use of mediated channels, and adapt your use of channels to best fit the given recipient.

Question:

Explain several ways that mass media and technology contribute to the shaping of our self-concept.


Media and technology have been contributing to the human self-concept for hundreds of years. The Gutenberg Press drastically changed Christianity. Before Bibles were painstakingly handwritten by priests. This allowed for a high percentage of error. Then William Tyndale translated the Bible into common tongue and it was able to be mass produced for the first time in its existence. This caused people to change their understanding of God and their personal relationship to God was redefined as well. After watching the original Time Machine, I remember my mother talking about how future archaeologists would probably think Americans worshiped televisions. Looking at the ruins of a house from 1988 would show an alter in almost every room of the house with television remnants. Clearly Ancient Americans valued this object, and worshiped it in their daily lives. The recent changes in media and technology did not create the connection to self-conception. I am certain children in the late 1800s wanted toys out of the Montgomery Ward Catalog so they could impress their friends. Our relationship to technology is one reason there are so many different models of everything. Bill next store has the 1923 Model T, but I went out and bought the brand new 1927 Model A. Both vehicles performed the same function, they took Bill and his neighbor from one place to another. Why the need for another model? Self-conception. I want newer, fancier, better. It’s like children’s toys COLLECT ALL 3! The only differences between Teggasaur, Tegga-T, and Tegga-2 are how their index fingers are crooked slightly different. Damn straight we parents fall for this nonsense just to shut our kids up. As amazing as technology and instant media are, they do have negatives. Plenty of people live outside their means to “keep up with the Joneses.” People torture themselves to fit into the modern idea of pretty, handsome, sexy, fit. These are just a couple of examples of how people base their self-conceptions on media being streamed into their lives. A more dangerous and recent example is the insurgency on the U.S. Capitol. These insurgents connected and coordinated through modern technologies and media. They had spent months and years believing the false propaganda of extremists. They created their personal identities based on the leaders of these groups. Hopefully one day we can find a balance between the awesome power of media and technology. Less Bladerunner more Star Trek? We will probably end up like Battlestar Galactica (reboot).

*Excellent movie with David Duchovny Keeping Up with the Joneses, go watch it!

Part I: Interpersonal Communications SP-181

In January of this year I decided to return to college for the eighth time? I am still working towards a useless associates degree. I may even graduate next fall semester. My speech class did not transfer and I needed one to fulfill a requirement. Being an experienced facilitator and speaker a speech class sounded dreadful. When the counselor said, “How about Interpersonal Communications?” I thought “Perfect! My previous managers told me to stop making my coworkers cry. I could use some interpersonal direction.” Well, here I am with only a couple weeks left in class and a slew of forum posts on the book chapters I never read. My instructor loved my writings and suggested I compile a book, or be a stand up comedian. As I already have this platform I opted to share those writings here. These are my personal commentaries on questions related to class material. These will be different than my previous blog posts and have minimal editing. I feel it is time to move my writings into a more authentic light. I hope you enjoy my thoughts just as my professor has this semester. (Each chapter focus and question are at the beginning of each post to provide the reader with a bit of background.)

Create safe places for yourself and you don’t have to be liked by everybody and the day you can get that down you know some people like you some people don’t that’s wonderful and the ones who don’t like you that’s great let them find their way.

Peter Woodbury from Edgar Cayce on Empathy, Sensitivity, and Boundaries: From Karma to Compassion

Process of Communication (Ch. 1)

Terms:

cognitive complexity

decode/encode

linear vs. transactional communication models

Goals:

Apply the transactional communication model to a specific situation

Describe how communication principles are evident in a specific situation

Question:

Explain the principle, “communication is irreversible.” Use personal examples to demonstrate how this principle has affected your own life.


The age old saying of, “Didn’t your mother tell you, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” comes to mind. I bet if I looked into this it probably stems from the Golden Rule and has been around in various cultures for centuries. The principle “communication is irreversible” refers to the fact the mind cannot unsee or unhear communication styles. (With the exceptions of brain damage and disease.) A simple example would be my dogs and their leashes. Their leashes hang outside on the back lanai. If someone accidentally touches one they make a sound. It doesn’t matter where my dogs are, once they hear the jingle, jingle they are running towards you full speed expecting a walk. For years my dogs have associated a certain sound with a WALK! They cannot unhear the sound. So one the rare occasion my KC Chiefs lanyard with my jingling keys makes it into the house, my dogs expect a walk. The sound is similar and they do not care if it’s my car keys or their leashes, they are going out. Another, more common example would be the act of repeating a conversation in your head. Ever have an argument with someone where they said something hurtful or you did? Didn’t matter if it was true, it stuck with you or the other person. Communication is irreversible, that is one reason modern parents are so exhausted. Child psychology has introduced us to a whole new world of parenting. In our day, adults didn’t phrase their words softly so as to not scar us for life. We were told to walk it off. As a parent now, I am cognizant of how my children hear my words and interpret my non-verbal communications. When I am having a conversation with one of them, I make an effort to put my phone down or to stop typing. I do my best to give them my full attention. My poor daughter taught me about the use of colloquialisms. When she was 5 years old we were at the aquarium on Maui. It was January and insanely windy. Not even thinking about it I told my daughter to “not blow away.” Apparently I scarred her for life. For years she was terrified the wind would literally blow her away. Although we have discussed this and she is now 13, she is not fond of the wind. It’s just something she can’t unhear.


Perception (Ch. 4)

Terms:

selection / interpretation / negotiation / organization

narrative

perception checking

self-serving bias

Goals:

Explain how influences on perception influence communication in a specific situation.

Enhance your cognitive complexity by applying the “pillow method” to a significant disagreement.

Question:

Choose one of the following social roles—gender, occupational or relational—then explain how this area has influenced your perceptions. Use examples from your own life in your discussion.


Choose one of the following social roles—gender, occupational or relational—then explain how this area has influenced your perceptions. Use examples from your own life in your discussion. Gender roles have been an issue for me since kindergarten. My mother has a Ph.D. and was a US Naval Officer for thirty years. My father was a certified nursing assistant during most of that time. He and I come from a matrilineal Native American tribe 40 miles west of Albuquerque. My adolescent gender roles were completely different than my classmates. One day I came home from kindergarten quite upset. The teaching assistant told me my mother couldn’t be a doctor, she had to be the nurse, and my father had to be the doctor. Needless to say I did not want to be on the receiving end of the phone call my mother made to school. (This was the same T. A. who taught me how to spell my name incorrectly.) Growing up my mother was the responsible breadwinner with a career. My father took care of me during the day, did all the household work (laundry, cooking, cleaning), worked at nights, and had poor spending habits. In addition to this, my mother did not change her last name. I still find it odd when women acquiesce to this sexist custom. Hey, it is a woman’s right to choose, so as long as she chose it then whatever. Let us add some fuel to this fire I call my childhood. Not only are the gender roles opposite in my immediate family, they are different on my father’s side of the family as well. Apparently it was not enough to be the only child of a female Naval Officer, I also had to be a half-breed (half white/half Native) growing up in White America. Yeah me. Pueblos, I am Laguna Pueblo, are a matrilineal tribal societies. This means our heritage is passed down through the mother’s side. Mothers are respected above all else. Her husband leaves his family and moves in with her family. This once applied across tribes as well. My uncle was Acoma Pueblo, when he married my aunt, he left his home, and moved into ours. We also honor the family of the mother. Mother’s brother is the disciplinary of her children, not their father. My father was “Mother’s Brother” and he hated the role, although it still holds much respect for him.  By the time I was an adult, I understood my unique upbringing. It has always been something I embraced as a strong willed independent woman, and now mother. My name includes both of my parent’s last names Callahan and Aragon. My ex-husband took my last name about two years into our marriage and he kept it after we divorced. My children have the two same last names as I do. I still come across people who think this is odd, especially here in Hawaii. Growing up everyone assumed my father was the service member, although he served in Vietnam, he was my mother’s spouse. I have noticed the changes as well. A couple of years ago I was chatting with some young sailors. When I mentioned being a Navy Brat one of them asked if my mother or father had served. I was shocked and very proud. I remember my mother’s first duty station. It did not have a women’s restroom. There was a sign on the men’s door that had to be flipped to “Women’s Head.” Probably why I never wondered what the men’s restroom looked like. I knew before I was three years old. It will be interesting to see how gender roles change with the upcoming generation. My daughter is pan sexual and prefers they/them pronouns. My son found his sister’s skirt quite comfortable yesterday and wore it for hours. I told him he’s Scottish, the Scotts have kilts. Not to mention the ‘ie lavalava he has seen growing up on Oahu. They have seen the first female democratic presidential candidate. They have witnessed the first (biracial) female Vice President of the U.S. My daughter has been impressed with Biden’s diverse Cabinet. Children are growing up with a concept of fluid gender roles. I believe in balance, but it takes three movies, three iffy prequels, and a cartoon to finally produce a new generation of movies and TV shows.